Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Does Olmert Deserve Cancer?

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced that he has prostate cancer (link). R. Shlomo Aviner was asked the following question: "Is it permissible to say, 'The Prime Minister is sick. He deserves it, because of what he has done and plans to do?'" R. Aviner responded as follows:

Of course not. It is forbidden because of three reasons, each of which is sufficient on its own:

A. How do you know why he is sick? You know the secrets of the Master of the Universe. How do you know that it happened because of this or that reason? Don't you know that there are bad people and sometimes good things happen to them, and there are good people and sometimes bad things happen to them?...

B. It is forbidden to cause anguish to another person with words (hona'at devarim)... It is true that there is a mitzvah to rebuke, but it has to be done with wisdom. This is not the way.

C. People who make comments like this think that they will help the Nation of Israel to repent. "You see, he did this and look what happened to him." This is repentance out of fear. A movie came out which said that anyone who had any part in the expulsion from Gush Katif is or will be punished. It has been explained over and over during the last one hundred years that this generation will not repent out of fear. This generation will only repent out of love. This is all explained by our Master, Rav Kook, in "Ma'amar Ha-Dor"...

It is therefore forbidden to say that he deserves this sickness: A. You're not a prophet. B. It is forbidden to distress another person. C. We do not help people repent out of fear, but only out of love.
Note also that R. Ovadiah Yosef called the Prime Minister to wish him a speedy recovery (link).

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