Monday, July 2, 2012

Encouraging G-ds Bad Habits: A Perspective on the Leiby Kletzky Tragedy

By Chanale Felig 
Chanale lives in Coconut Grove, FL and directs Friendship Miami, a non-profit organization serving children with special needs. She is currently working on her BA in Psychology and Marketing. She has been writing for years, publishing her musings in consistent e-mails to her family and friends—this is her first published article.

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On July 11, 2011 the entire Brooklyn Jewish community held their breath as local police, community leaders, and 5,000 volunteers scoured New York City for eight year old Leiby Kletzky. Two days later on early Wednesday morning police officials confirmed that the boy had been kidnapped and murdered in a heinous manner. The reaction of the community was absolute terror. The following was my initial reaction to the inhumane attack on this young and innocent boy.

Encouraging G-ds Bad Habits: 
A Perspective on the Leiby Kletzky Tragedy

[July 15, 2011]

You’d be hard pressed to find a single Jewish person who didn’t feel the urge to throw up while listening to this week's headlines. We all can't stop crying in pain.

I don’t think anything hurts as much as shattered innocence—the loss of a child. It seems it’s particularly difficult to let go of the idea of potential. It's so unfair. And when loss occurs in such an unspeakable manner, it begs the age-old questions: Why do evil things happen to innocent people? What good results from our pain? In 5,771 years of experience, we are only beginning to understand the questions to ask. We have concluded that to denounce our faith in G-d out of our pain, only results in a further pain. We are motivated by our need to belong to something, and to turn from G-d would only add salt to the wound. 

We already learned that to express unity in a trying time brings G-d tremendous joy, so we unify. When the heat is on, all pretenses fall and we uncover our soul connection to our brothers. We already always respond to all terrible news with increased acts of goodness and kindness. And yet despite all our growth, we still fumble when it hurts. We still cry out in anguish, wondering if we’re heard. We still try to mop up the mess, not quite sure how it got there. 

What is going on in our relationship with G-d? How do we feel safe with such an Awesome and Powerful G-d? Where is the security in knowing our fate is in His hands? 

Maybe before we look towards G-d, we ought to look deeper into ourselves... 

In numerous places the Torah compares our relationship with G-d to a marriage. In this relationship, he is the spouse that’s looking for validation. When he sends us nice weather, keeps the economy in check, gives us our health, we take Him for granted. We begin to expect to wake up to all these nice things, and forget to acknowledge that He did them, because He loves us. 

And then tragedy strikes, as is the way of the world – and suddenly G-d begins to notice a more attentive spouse in us. Suddenly, Synagogues are filled. Prayer books fly open, and coins rattle in charity boxes worldwide. 

We’re not sending a very good message. 

Whenever things are good – we neglect to praise G-d for all He does. But then when things are bad, He is showered with our love, devotion, and faith. With all the good that comes out of negative situations, it’s no wonder they occur so frequently. 

 It’s just bad psychology. We’re reinforcing G-d’s negative behaviors. 

What if we turned things around? What if we responded to every good occasion with something positive? What if we whipped out our prayer books when someone had a baby, or got married? What if we gave charity every morning, just because the sun was shining? Just because there was food on the table and we were able to put it there? 

 How would the world change if we stopped strengthening our faith in G-d only when the earth rumbles beneath us? What if we offered validation for the things that gives Him pleasure to do, not only in the things that pain Him too? 

It seems useless to beg Him to stop, because no matter how many times we do – pain still finds its way into our lives. It seems useless to tell Him how much we believe in Him, because it’s past the time that he wants to hear it. 

What if we took a more proactive approach? Instead of waiting until He is let down by our neglect, let’s beat Him to the punch: the next time you hear something positive, a good piece of news, respond in kind. Encourage good karma. 

We need to show G-d that we love him always

That it is not only in bad times that we remember His name.

 May Hashem comfort the mourners amongst the mourners in Zion and Yerushalayim.

5 LadyMama voices:

Fashion-isha said... [Reply to comment]

I loved this. I try to live my life like this!! Every moment is a gift and we need to thank Hashem and keep him in our lives during good times. The past is over, the future is unknown, but the's a present!

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I'm not sure I like this perspective. It is disheartening to think that G-d is looking for our attention and that's why such a shocking horrible tragedy occurred only to change the lives of his family forever. There must be something deeper... Something we truly cannot comprehend. For his ways are not our ways.... And truly, no explanation to this tragedy

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Or even insight to this tragedy could suffice. said... [Reply to comment]

thanks chanale, this was great!

Sarale said... [Reply to comment]

It always bothered me how we respond with increasing in good deeds when something bad happens. We don't even know that it helps...and as if we needed to have such an awful reminder to make us do good.