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Hating God


Hi Rabbi,

I’m writing to ask what to do for my sister…. We grew up in an orthodox environment, but in the last 10 years she lost all connection to the religion (around the time she married a secular (but good) man). It’s interesting because she believes in god, she just hates him. She says she hates hates hates hates god with every part of her being, it’s a deep hatred, and therefore she follows no laws. Nothing in particular happened to cause this, she just thinks God is evil because good people are suffering in life all the time, all around. I never talk about religion with her, and never blink when she says the laws she violates, I am very accepting, and we are very close. But I can’t exactly relate, because I can understand not following the laws because one does not believe in God- I know it is hard to believe in God. But she actually DOES believe in God, and just hates him. She says the word “hate” with so much intensity and venom that it even scares me a little. Is there anything I can do to plant a seed in her head, to think on her own, to consider becoming less hateful of God? She fears spirits and believes in mystical concepts. She believes in things, she just hates God with every fibre of her being. I feel responsible to help her because she is my sister and I feel bad to hear how much hate is inside her and how little connection to the religion she has. Is there anything I can do in a subtle way to put an idea in her mind that she can think about on her own that can soften her? Thank you for your time and help.

Thank you



What happened to your sister is very sad, and unfortunately quite common nowadays. You are asking how you should deal with your sister however, it is also important for you to know how you are supposed to deal with what she is saying.

There is reason to suspect, that what your sister is saying is not totally accurate, because what she is saying doesn’t make much sense. If someone actually believes, in G-d, but is angry at the things that G-d does, is this a sensible reason to therefore violate everything that G-d tells us to do? A person living in Russia, and he hates, hates, hates, the government with all his heart, does that mean that the person should run red lights, drive recklessly, not pay his taxes, and publicize to everyone that he hates the government? If the ruler of the country is cruel, and mean, disobeying the laws is not exactly, what any thinking person will do. This will only cause the cruel government to punish him cruelly, and he is just hurting himself! According to her that G-d is cruel even to good people, could you imagine what will happen to the ones that aren’t, and disobey the commandments? So why is she hurting herself, and jeopardizing herself even more?

Secondly, if she has these feeling and questions, did she even attempt to discuss this with a Rabbinic authority, or anyone else who can answer her question? If she didn’t, especially if she started saying these things after she became interesting is her secular spouse, there is reason to suspect that she isn’t saying the whole story, or that she is merely giving you an excuse. The real reason might just be that she is interested in living a careless life, and she isn’t thinking about her future.

Unfortunately, speaking to her at this point, when she is so emotionally involved, especially after she married, might only make things worse. You can say something, once in a while, when something good happens to her, and comment that that good things also came from G-d… Otherwise it sounds like your approach is correct. Be nice to her, without fighting with her at all, and daven that she should have a change of heart.

On the other hand, we have to know the answer to what is bothering her. Not to debate it with her, but as the Gemora says, “da ma shetochiv lapikorus”, know what to answer the apostate. Not that we should actually answer them, because usually they are not interested in the answers to their questions. (Especially if this is what they want to do, and the questions are not really the reason for those actions, but only excuses. We can give an answer to a question, but there is no such thing as an answer to an excuse!)

Regarding the actual issue, if a person would have such a question during the time of the holocaust, that would be very valid, but nowadays, when G-d has bestowed upon us, such lavishness, and wealth? Our generation has such conveniences, and we are given such pleasures, like never had before!

There are thousands of examples of this but we’ll just take a few.

For thousands of years when a person had to travel it meant being seasick for weeks or months, with a diet of crackers and very little water. We, can now travel around the world in a few hours, while dining on first class cuisine, in a bed that lays back, and before we know it, we crossed the Atlantic! We can talk to relatives on the other side of the world, while seeing them, and even make a group meeting of people each one living on a different continent! We now have fruits and vegetable imported from all over the world, and Hashem allows us to enjoy not only the delicious fruits of our country, but the delicacies of other countries as well. Hashem has prepared our clothing for us, and we don’t have to go into a tailor, and request that he sew us a suit, and then wait a few weeks for it to get sewn.

We can just walk into a suit store and get any size, and color any style suit we want, on demand. Even when it is decreed that a person should be sick, nowadays, Hashem is so kind to us, that he provides us with anesthetics. Could you imagine the pain of having, these life-saving operations without them!

Hashem provides us with central heating, and we no longer have to get up at 4am in the freezing cold to load the fireplace, so that at 6am the house will be warm. We go to sleep, and the heat stay on keeping us nice and warm all night and day, without us needing to lift a finger. And air conditioning? Hashem has provided us with this comfort, even though we are not necessarily the most pious people in history. Should we be thankful about that?

Hashem gives us cars, and we don’t have to bump up and down on a horse or camel, with air conditioning stereo music, comfortable seats, and even Waze, to make sure that we get to where we want to go as quick as possible. And the list goes on and on. Therefore, we should be the most thankful, appreciative people, more than our grandparents, and great grandparents.

But on the other hand, what do we say to the suffering that we do see in this world? This question has been discussed throughout the generations, (even by Moses and David) and there are many answers given. One of the answers given is that if we understand our purpose in this world, we will realize that it is all being done by Hashem, specifically for our benefit.

One of the fundamental principles of Judaism is that we were put in this world, in order to serve Hashem, and in order to receive the tremendous, everlasting reward, that is waiting for us in the world to come. The cleaner we are, the more perfection we can attain, we help us earn an even higher and more intense, everlasting pleasure. Therefore, there are times when a person will endure difficulties, because it gives the person’s soul perfection, and sometimes it cleanses it. Then, instead of the temporary difficulties that we endured, we will benefit the long-lasting reward. The Midrash says, when the Messiah comes, we will sing, and praise Hashem for the difficulties that we endured, because then we will realize how much we gained from them. We will then realize, that it was not cruelty, rather kindness, that was done to us. Let’s take an example of this. A parent whose child was in a car crash, and now he needs physical therapy to help him walk again. The therapy is painful, but the parent who happens to be a physical therapist, will do the therapy with his child, even though the child cries, and complains. Right now, the child doesn’t understand it, but after a few months he will be able to walk and run freely again, and it will be well worth the pan. It is the same with us. Hashem is out parent, and He wants what is best for is child, but not always is the best the most pleasurable option, but it is still in the child’s best interest.

We know that Hashem is kind to all (v’rachamov al kol maasov), and if we are willing to look around, not only at want is missing, but at what we actually have, we will see it. And even the difficulties and suffering, it is all in our best interest, and done out of care and concern.

This is the answer that we have to know, think about it and absorb it. And the more we will realize this the happier people we will be.

Best wishes

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