Some men walk before God. Some men walk after God. My esteemed rabbi, Eliyahu David, walks WITH God. He is a modest man but his greatness is manifest through his drashot, his personal interaction with his people, and his intense wisdom, understanding, care, compassion and love for the household of Israel.
One of my 364 published articles was entitled “Shameful SHEMINI” in which I questioned the justice and mercy of Hashem. I did so because of my love for Hashem and I have been troubled for many years by the contents of that parsha. Why were Aaron’s two sons, Nadav and Abihu, punished by burning for their intent to please Hashem albeit He did not demand it of them?
And following, in the haftorah, why did Uzzah die because he prevented the Holy Ark from falling from a tilted wagon?
Rabbinical commentaries, as I cited them, have not satisfied me. I seek more reasonable responses.
On Shabbat morning, following the davening, my beloved rabbi reproved me for that article which he had read. His reprove was gentle and loving but he expressed his pain for the words I had written. Chas v’chalila that I should cause pain to a man who walks WITH God. Now I am in pain because of the pain which I obviously caused him.
The English language dictionary defines “reprove” in several terms: reprimand, rebuke, scold, admonish, criticize, correct, and disapprove. I don’t know which of those terms my dear rabbi intended to convey to me. All of them would be deserved.
Because TIMES OF ISRAEL has more than 37 million readers worldwide in English, Hebrew and Chinese editions, it behooves those of us who write on Jewish and Israeli themes in particular to be exceedingly careful with our words lest we convey improper or incorrect information to our readers.
Rabbi Eliyahu David has made me more aware of my responsibilities in my writing. I take his rebuke very seriously.
Tonight, at the end of Shabbat and havdala, my first act is to sit down at the computer and write these lines of apology, not only to a very great rabbi, but to readers who may have been similarly offended by that article.
I have been admonished, rebuked and corrected… all terms which I have earned and deserve. Hopefully I will be more careful of the way I express my thoughts… even negative ones.
For the time being, slach li, m’chal li, kaper li.