"A G-d of truth and without iniquity, just and right is
This is the mitzva of this week's parsha, Ha'azinu. To
see everything that happens about us and to believe that
there is no iniquity, no bias. That Hashem is right and just.
"Righteous are You, Hashem, and straightforward are Your
In his commentary to mishnayos, maseches Brochos,
perek 9, the Rambam addresses such a coming to grips
[with what we might think is harsh reality] and says: "[He
is] a G-d of truth and without iniquity. And the ways of
justice in Hashem's judgments are beyond man's grasp, for
man's intellect is simply too limited to fathom Divine
wisdom. The Torah has already stated this thought, that we
cannot grasp G- dly wisdom nor G- dly justice in what He has
wrought and will do. This is what is meant by: `For as the
heavens are distant from the earth, so are My ways removed
from your ways and My thoughts from your thoughts.' "
These concepts are Torah, and beg to be studied and
understood. The Radak explains the verse at the end of
Malachi, "Then did the devout of Hashem speak to one
another." When those who fear Hashem hear that they cannot
grasp the ways of Hashem and His judgment, they speak to one
another and deal with it verbally, intensively, until they
themselves come to the realization that, indeed, they see
that all of His ways and judgments are true and just in every
When one tackles a difficult topic, one argues it up and
down, from all angles, until it sits well in one's mind and
all questions are duly resolved. So, too, must one study the
ways of Hashem until one comes to the conclusion that they
are, indeed, just and true.
We cannot presume to understand everything. But there is one
thing that is clear: that if everything all about us is for
our benefit, our welfare, to sustain us in this world, then
surely, even what seems to us contrary to our well being, is
not thus at all, but also for our good. The Maharal put an
emphasis on this very point in his Shabbos Shuva
drosho. It is written, "For is He not your Father, Who
bought you; He made you and established you." He prepared
every sort of goodness for them. If so, how can one suggest
that Hashem visited troubles upon them that were unjustified?
This is what the Ibn Ezra also said: Since He is a faithful,
true G-d, it is impossible to impute injustice to Him.
But the fool cannot understand this. The fool, says the
Chofetz Chaim, may look at an immense, sophisticated piece of
machinery, and focus on one small screw and ask: What's this?
As if everything else was clear to him. The wise man, on the
other hand, gets tremendously frustrated at the hint that
there exists something beyond his ken. Having considered
himself knowledgeable up to this point, he suddenly discovers
how much there is still to learn and how far removed he is
from knowing it. The best step for him at this point is to
keep his mouth shut.
Said R' Yirmiya ben Elozor: Come and see how different are
Hashem's ways from those of mortals. When a person is
sentenced to death by the government court, he has a fish
hook put into his mouth so that he will not curse the king.
But when man is sentenced to death by Hashem, he does not
remonstrate, but remains silent, as it is written, "Silence
is Your ultimate praise." Even more, Hashem is praised
thereby, for it is written, `praise.' And still more, that he
imagines that he is bringing a sacrifice to Hashem, as it is
written, `To You shall vows be discharged' " (Eruvin
This silence is thunderous. It is likened to the bringing of
a sacrifice. What is that sacrifice? Understanding, and lack
of understanding. Feeling. The suppression of that wish that
things might have turned out the opposite. All these
sentiments are laid upon the altar and sacrificed. Silence is
How fitting are the words of Tiferes Shlomo who says:
"Dovid Hamelech asks: `You turned my mourning into dancing;
You have loosened my sack cloth and girded me with gladness.
So that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent.'
Master of the world: give me the ability to sing to You true
praises [of recognition], not only the mute response of
silence, like that of `And Aharon was silent' [after the
painful death of his two sons]."
This is the prayer of every Jew during these Days of Awe.