Questions With No Answers

unnamed (25)At the end of this week’s parsha, Parshas Noach, we meet Avraham Avinu, the father of the Umah Yisraelis, the Jewish nation.  Avraham Avinu, who was tested with ten tests and passed them all.

From the flames of Nimrod’s fiery furnace to the Binding of Isaac, Avraham was faced with one trial after one.  “Go for yourself to the Land that I will show you,” is followed by “and there was a famine in the Land.”  “Through Yitzchak will your offspring be,” is followed by “take you son, your only one, the one you love, Yitzchak, and raise him up as an offering.”

Which is it – the Land will be a blessing for me, or there will be famine there?

Which is it – through this long-awaited-for child I will have descendants, or must I offer him up as a sacrifice?

Rav Soloveitchik zt’l notes that Avraham could have asked many good questions.  Yet had he asked, says R’ Soloveitchik, he would have lost the right to become the father of the Umah Yisraelis.  To be a Jew, to be of the children of Avraham our father, means to hold tightly to our faith – our emunah peshutah – come what may.  Even when, or perhaps especially when, our questions are strong and the answers are few…

Like Avraham Avinu, we too could ask many good questions…

What of Itamar Henkin, 9 months old, who will never know, or remember, his parents love, smell, warmth and embrace?

We too could ask many questions…What of the bravery and Torah dedication of Rabbi Nehemia Lavi, 41, HY”D, who ran to save his fellow Jews – for saving a life takes precedence over all – and yet he gave his life, instead of saving another?

And what of the widow of IDF soldier Aharon Banita HY”D, who arrived at the hospital with no less than seventeen stab wounds to her body?

We too could ask many questions…What of the murder of Rabbi Yeshayahu Krishevsky HY”D, on Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan in the holy city of Jerusalem, who was on his way from Shachris to his chavrusa learning session, and was taken while waiting for his bus?

And what of Haviv Haim, HY”D, an elderly Jew who took his wife to her doctor appointment and then found himself locked inside a bus of terror, with no way to defend himself?  And what of Alon Guverg HY”D, who was on board the same Egged bus #78 – who had no family to attend his levaya and mourn his death, so that Zaka called for the tzibur at large to accompany the niftar to his final resting place?

What of these kedoshim and tehorim…we could ask…But we don’t. 

Because had Avraham Avinu asked he would have lost the right to become the father of the Umah Yisraelis.  And we, his children, learn that deep emunah often means not to ask.  For there are too many questions that simply have no answers.

So we hold on tightly to our faith, we cling to our prayers, and we beseech the Almighty to herald the day when all of our questions will finally be answered.

With the pain evident in his voice, Rabbi Elimelech Biderman eulogized Rabbi Yeshayahu Krishevsky HY”D, a Pinsk-Karlin chassid, noting that just that morning – as he did every Rosh Chodesh – R’ Krishevsky made sure to read from the Torah at his Shul shortly before he was murdered.

“A half hour later you went up to heaven,” Rabbi Biderman said, his voice cracking. “Go up to the throne of G-d and tell Him, blessed be He, to stop it!”

For is the cup of tears not yet full?…We could ask.  But we don’t.  For alas, this too is a question that perhaps has no answer.

Wishing you, and all of Klal Yisrael, a peaceful Shabos of comfort, simcha and menuchas ha’nefesh.

בברכת בשורות טובות וישועות,


  • Debbie Friedman
    Posted at 09:06h, 16 October

    Michal, last week didn’t we say Noach never questioned Hashem when he was ordered to build the ark. It was not said as a positive about him , if I understood correctly.

    So isn’t that like Avrohom, who didn’t question but just did as Hashem asked??? Didn’t Noah just have the same deep emunah?

  • Debbie Friedman
    Posted at 21:40h, 18 October


    I sent a comment when this was first posted ,but not sure if it went through.

    Question: we praise Avrohom for not asking too many questions of Hashem. Having great emunah and accepting what hashem tells him.

    Didn’t we fault Noach for the same thing? When Hashem told him to build the tevah, he just did. He did not question Hashem, pray for the people not to be destroyed, I thought this was considered one of Noach faults, but er praise Avrohom for the same thing.

    Where is my thinking going wrong????

    Thanks as always, debbie

  • Devorah
    Posted at 23:19h, 18 October

    Thank you.

  • Judith Greenberger
    Posted at 13:50h, 19 October

    My dear Michal,
    I know first hand that we cannot and should not ask why of Hashem, and in fact I was brought up by my parents always knowing and understanding that all is in this world, just the way it is supposed to be,
    it happens because that is the way it is supposed to be.

    But I realized that this made sense to me because this was taught to me by father, the partisan, who fought and with Hashem’s prayers on his lips, saved people, and that is why he had a clear conscience to teach his children the acceptance of the events that are only Biydei Hashem, and nothing can be done by humans.

    So my question is the following, what about anger, what about fighting back, what about our hishtadlus to say to the world, Hashem does not want us to just be led to our death by others, this was not commanded to us directly by Hashem. Hashem did not tell us to become Karbanot, so will fighting back, or fight to survive question our Emunah?

    I hope this does not sound too simplistic, but in my mind, we are using the crutch of Emunah and Bitachon to silently accept our fate as proclaimed by the terrorist and the umas haolam, US and all of Europe, the whole world. It seems almost as if we can bear our pain more easily, if we just acquiesce and accept because of our great Emunah. We do accept the fact that this is “the end”, Moshiach is on the next block, but can someone please educate us that it is the “humans” of this world who want to seal our faith, NOT HASHEM. No one can convince me these events are being done by Hashem, not terrorists and murderers. HASHEM wants us to feel proud enough to wake up and fight back, with Teshuvah and Guns.

    When someone gets sick-we go to doctors, we seek treatments and we ask Hashem to help us achieve a good result, whatever that may be, but good health is our quest, and then we understand and accept whatever the rest brings. So too, we should examine what the Jewish people can and should do, to shield ourselves from the wish of others to be annihilated, let us tell Hashem, that we want to live to serve HIM as our Avos, but know with all the faith and belief, that it is OUR enemies, Sonei Yisroel, people, who want to kill us and we should find a strong resolve to exist and protect Am Yisroe. Mentally, let us consider Teshuva, Tefilah and Tzedakah, and physically, (army) let us get the courage not to always seek approval of the world, seek the approval of HASHEM, the ultimate DIRECTOR AND PRODUCER of this episode. This is to say,both ways, we must ACT.