Death of the Innocent & Euthanasia


Moshe Ben-Chaim


Reader: Two questions: Why do babies get killed by bombers, and, why canít a person suffering in a hospital take his life?




Mesora:G-d wishes man have free will. This is his plan. Man must be the sole cause of his fate - he alone is to be responsible for his reward or punishment. G-d does not interfere with man's free will, although He may perform miracles when He sees fit.


The Talmud says that although G-d does not desire man to rape, He does not interfere with the natural process of insemination and birth. This makes sense: if in response to each of our sinful acts, we would see G-d miraculously halting out attempts, or suddenly punishing us, our free will would be lost, and the entire plan of reward and punishment would be forfeited. G-d will also not allow the righteous to suffer any harm, ďnot one of his bones will be broken.Ē Thus, G-d may allow one to die at the hands of another due to sin. But if he is sinless, or deserves life due to G-dís calculations, he will be saved, as was Daniel from the lionís den, and Chananya, Mishael and Azarya from the furnace.


Why do babies get killed? Let me first say that I donít feel G-d suffers pain to those undeserving. However, the Rabbis do say that a child can be killed for the sins of the father. But even more, we must agree that life is a gift from G-d, and He alone decides who should live and who shall die. We cannot possess G-dís knowledge. Although at times we see what appears as unjust circumstances, we must know that G-d, Who gave us His perfect Torah, with laws of perfect justice, will not act unjustly. Whether we can see the justice is another question. And our questions cannot detract from the perfect life outlined in the Torah; we donít suddenly abandon all of mathematics, which is reasonable, when one formula is incomprehensible. So too, we do not abandon the perfect Torah, when we cannot fathom one of its ideas. The flaw is in us, not in the Torah, or in G-d.


Realize also that death is not the end of true life. If one is commanded by a foreign ruler to commit idolatry or suffer death, he must suffer death. How can this be, if life is the be all and end all? The answer is that physical life is for the purpose of our perfection, in line with G-dís ways. Part of these ways is not to profane G-d. Therefore, we must, at all costs, never commit idolatry. This corrupts G-dís unique role in the eyes of others, the most tragic of all crimes, and it removes our merit. True life is the eternal life, and our death here is of no consequence when placed in proper perspective. Of course, we must not be negligent, so we must protect our lives so we may achieve our perfection. But there are times when life loses its purpose according to the Torah. G-d knows when a life is to be spared, and when it is not to be spared. It is painful when a child is lost, but this tragedy must not overshadow G-dís system.


I must also say that if we wish the end of the violence committed by the Palestinians and Arabs, we have it in our hands to follow G-dís system and wipe out all of the terrorists. We cannot be concerned with world opinion or U.S. funding. Until we live in accord with G-dís Torah, by definition, we must suffer the consequences He has warned about in His Torah. As long as Sharonís government does not follow G-d, G-d will not follow him, and tragedy will continue. The corruption of the Israeli government is due to an underlying denial of G-dís ability to protect Israel. Military might alone, cannot succeed. Torah adherence must play a central role, guiding all of our actions. King David was victorious over his enemies, and so can Sharon be, but only if his actions mirror those of King Davidís.


Regarding your second question, one cannot take his life. By doing so, he denies G-dís unique role as the One who grants and take life. As a Rabbi stated, our own lives are not ours to destroy, even though we are in much pain. Additionally, one denies G-dís ability to heal by such an act.