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WHY EVIL SUCCEEDS
Arachim
WHY EVIL SUCCEEDS
Question - - 02/28/2013
Why do wicked people enjoy so much success in this world?
Answer by Arachim
The Sages of the Talmud tell us:
"G-d does not withhold the reward of any creature." (Baba Kamma 38b)
Sometimes we see a figure who appears to us to be the epitome of evil. We would expect Heaven to pour its wrath upon such an individual. Often, however, we find what seems to be just the opposite. Criminals and even those who perpetrate heinous crimes against humanity appear to be blessed with inexplicable success that makes us wonder.
Why should this be so?
FIRST OF ALL, we must keep in mind that we, as human beings, are limited in our perception of human events. G-d sees not only that which is apparent to the human eye, but also what lies unseen to us, in the recesses of the heart. He is also aware of what happened in the hidden past.
In short, G-d's knowledge and judgment are further from ours than are the heavens from earth. We can never hope to approximate the wisdom of G-d's judgment of human affairs, or His decisions as to what each separate individual deserves in the way of punishment or reward.
So much is hidden from the human eye! King David summed it up in a Psalms:
How great are Thy works, O L-rd! Thy thoughts are very deep.
IN SHORT, WHEN WE HAVE QUESTIONS, IT WOULD DO WELL TO RECALL THAT WE DO NOT HAVE THE WHOLE PICTURE, AND PROBABLY, NEVER WILL.
This does not mean that we should never look into the question; we just need to keep in mind that we are not capable of arriving at an absolute understanding of all events, not because they are not logical or just, but because they are determined and controlled by a Wisdom greater than our own.
2. "A BLESSING IN DISGUISE"? or just the opposite?
Another point to consider is that not everything that appears to be what we call a "success", turns out to be blessing. Consider, for instance, the wealthy family that drove off for a trial spin in their brand new Lexis and were killed in a tragic accident.
True, G-d gave this family success, but not His blessings.
In contrast, someone else may be involved in an accident that saves his life; he may break a leg, but miss a plane that is destined to crash, killing everyone aboard. In short, the accounting is too complicated, and our knowledge a too short-term, for us to really know what is ultimately a blessing and what is not.
3. TIMING MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE
King David declared:
A brutish man knoweth not, neither doth a fool understand this.
When the wicked spring up as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity flourish, it is so that they may be destroyed forever.
Psalms 92
The verse tells us that the wicked spring up "as the grass" so that they "may be destroyed forever."
What is the connection? Why should apparent success, wealth, prestige, whatever man may aspire to - bring eternal destruction in their wake? How does this work?
The key point is where and when an individual will be punished, and where and when he will be rewarded.
There are only two options: in this world, or in the next.
Regarding rewards, it is far better to be rewarded in the next world, where our soul is unfettered by the limitations imposed by our physical being. Just as the human body can absorb only so much food, and is then satiated, and would be harmed by additional food, so, too, are we limited in other ways as to how much pleasure we can experience in this world.
When it comes to punishments, just the reverse is true. Far better to be disciplined in this finite world than in the eternal world-to-come.
Even the most vicious criminal does some sort of good deed or kindness during his lifetime. Because G-d's justice is comprehensive, He rewards even the worst sinners for whatever meritorious deeds they performed. However, He may choose to reward them in this world rather than in the next. Their punishment, however, may be postponed to the next world, where it will be far more severe.
What happens in practical fact? The offender is blessed with success in this world, in order to "pay him off", as it were. Then, when he passes on to the next world, he has only punishments waiting for him. Any rewards due to him were already "delivered" during his years on earth.
This is the meaning of King David's words:
When the wicked spring up as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity flourish, it is so that they may be destroyed forever.
The felon seems to grow and prosper as the grass springs up after a good, drenching spring rain; however, King David lets us in on the secret: G-d is rewarding him here, in this world, so that when his time comes to appear before the Heavenly Court, he will "be destroyed forever." There will remain no benefits coming to him, only debts to be paid for the evil he perpetrated during his lifetime.
In short, what seemed to us, in our limited vision, to be a blessing to someone who did not deserve it, was really just the opposite, a liability, bestowed as a preparation for retribution for his evil ways.
WHEN WE SEE EVIL-DOERS ENJOYING GREAT SUCCESS, IT MAY BE THAT THEY ARE BEING REWARDED IN THIS WORLD, WHILE THEIR PUNISHMENT WILL BE ADMINISTERED ONLY IN THE WORLD TO COME.
This is something revealed only to G-d; when we accept the fact that it is G-d who is "at the wheel" and that all He does is just, we acknowledge our limitations as human beings, and confirm our faith that G-d is all-knowing. We will be rewarded for this faith, just as for any other mitzvah.
King David continues, and says to G-d: "Thine enemies shall perish; all the workers of iniquity shall be scattered."
The Creator is perfect not only in what He created, but also in how He administers His universe. His justice is complete and comprehensive, far beyond what we can perceive or emulate. One of our challenges in this world is to recall that above and beyond what we see happening in this world, there is an Eye which perceives everything; it belongs to the True Judge, whose justice is complete and perfect.
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