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    How God could allow the 10 martyrs to perish – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. In a Yom Kippur prayer about the ten rabbis martyred by the Romans, God tells the angels not to complain. Is this fair?

    A. The prayer is Eleh Ezkerah, one of several poems about the ten sages punished by the Romans for teaching the Torah. The angels asked God how He could allow this.

    The question reverberates throughout history. All the theologians grapple with it. Some say that having given man free will, God runs the risk of that free will being used to perpetrate evil. Some suggest that instead of answers, we must find a response, a way of handling the tragedy.

    In “Zorba the Greek” a scholar is asked, “Why do the young die? Why does anybody die?” The scholar replies, “I don’t know.” Zorba says, “What’s the use of all your damn books? If they don’t tell you that?” The scholar answers, “They tell me about the agony of men who can’t answer questions like yours…”

    In Eleh Ezkerah, God rebukes those who ask the questions, but we can’t help feeling that the rebuke is unfair.

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