Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg Profile picture
Aug 7, 2018 12 tweets 3 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Theodicy (why people suffer) quick thread.
1) “fallen world” is really Christian language. Don’t have time to unpack now, but will later sometime.
2) here’s one thing with some of my theodicy in it: forward.com/life/faith/383…
“It’s upon each of us to take responsibility for our role in everyone’s political, economic, environmental and social well-being — and to not pass the theological buck to a deity who has done nothing if not give us the power of free will, the power to heal or to hurt...”
3) here’s another. forward.com/opinion/372844…
“I understand the desire for certainty and clear answers, I really do. But not even the voice of God in the Biblical whirlwind is willing to come forth with strong statements about why it is that people suffer....”
“The Bible does make clear, however, that our job is to do everything in our power to prevent suffering, how — and whenever we can.”
Of course, some pain is inevitable; we are frail creatures living in imperfect bodies, and we were never promised a life free of pain. But being poor, being ill, being, even momentarily, not #blessed in every way, is not a moral failing.
All the more so if you’re caught in human-created systems of inequality.

If you’re poor or sick, it’s not your fault.

If you’re suffering, it’s all of our responsibility.
Why do we have free will? It’s the essence of what makes us human. And questioning—using our power of free will to interrogate all our assumptions, including to interrogate or challenge God, is part of that. Abraham did it. So did Moses. So can you.
Our free will doesn’t limit God’s creation, it’s part of it. This is part of (or the essence of, depending on who you ask) what it means to be created in the divine image. And you see it reiterated at the end of Job.
This is why the notion of covenant has any meaning. Because we choose to enter it and can choose not to.

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More from @TheRaDR

Oct 7, 2018
Ok, here’s a short thread on this.

1/x Do some reading and learning to learn more about the structure. Eg this is a good overview: jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-daily-serv…, @heyBimBam has some great explainers, bimbam.com/judaism-101/pr…, lots up at @jewlearn, etc.
Prayers only said with a minyan: Kaddish (all of them), Barechu, Torah reading stuff, and reader’s repetition of the Amidah (incl notably Kedusha). Everything else pretty much you say at home even wo minyan.
If you want to develop a daily prayer practice at home, a few tips: 1) start slow and add.
Read 11 tweets
Oct 5, 2018
Three self-care tips to make it through today.


1) embrace holy anger.

Ibn Gabirol says that “anger is a reprehensible quality, but when employed to correct or to reprove, or because of indignation at the performance of transgressions, it becomes laudable.”
Or Audre Lorde: “Every woman has a well-stocked arsenal of anger potentially useful against those oppressions, personal and institutional, which brought that anger into being. Focused with precision it can become a powerful source of energy serving progress and change.”
The only question is, how will you choose to focus it? Your time—your energy—your talents—your money. Plenty of places to put it.
Read 13 tweets
Oct 5, 2018
Alas! Lonely sits the city Once great with people! She that was great among nations Is become like a widow...

Bitterly she weeps in the night, Her cheek wet with tears. There is none to comfort her Of all her friends. All her allies have betrayed her; They have become her foes.
All the precious things she had In the days of old Jerusalem recalled In her days of woe and sorrow, When her people fell by enemy hands With none to help her; When enemies looked on and gloated Over her downfall.
The foe has laid hands On everything dear to her. She has seen her Sanctuary Invaded by nations Which You have denied admission Into Your community.
Read 6 tweets
Sep 30, 2018
Ok. But I’m gonna have to talk about Esther too.

Another Biblical #metoo

We’re in the Book of Esther. Ahasverus is the Persian king of “127 provinces from India to Ethiopia.” The book opens with a massive party, and a party-within-a-party to boot.
It was kind of like a rager at Georgetown Prep:

”And the rule for the drinking was, “No restrictions!” For the king had given orders to every palace steward to comply with each man’s wishes.”
Read 23 tweets
Sep 30, 2018
Sure. Genesis 39 is what we’re talking about.


This is a story about a person with power abusing that power to exploit someone with less power sexually, and retaliating when refused.
So Joseph has been sold into slavery by his brothers (v loving move there, guys) and works for Potiphar. Potiphar was a rich Egyptian, Joseph was a foreigner who was literally his property. Yes Joseph wound up with a lot of responsibility, but in context as an enslaved foreigner.
Potiphar’s wife decided she wanted him sexually, approached him repeatedly, was rebuffed. One day he fled an advance and she was left holding his garment, lied that he tried to assault her, got him thrown in jail.
Read 11 tweets
Sep 27, 2018
The commandment to rejoice isn't about having a feeling.
It'a about doing an action.
Towards justice.

And you shall rejoice in your festival, you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the orphan, and the widow, who are inside your gates. -- Deuteronomy 16
It's about rejoicing, not having joy. What are the things to do? You bring people together. You have a gathering. You are not alone.
Read 8 tweets

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