The rabbi and forgiveness

By Paulo Coelho

This story is attributed to the great Rabbi Bal Shen Tov. It is said that he was standing on top of a hill with a group of students when he saw a band of Cossacks attack the city below and begin massacring the people.

 
Seeing many of his friends dying and begging for mercy, the Rabbi cried out:

 
‘Oh, if only I were God!’

 
A shocked student turned to him and said:

 
‘Master, how can you utter such a blasphemy? Do you mean that if you were God you would act differently? Do you mean that you think that God often does the wrong thing?’

 
The Rabbi looked the student in the eye and said:

 
‘God is always right. But if I were God, I would be able to understand why this is happening.’

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Comments

  1. aditya says:

    hola ! cute poem from rumi there, thanks ! wish i too could get those eyes which see what rumi is seeing as he wrote that poem !

    paulo & freinds,

    in the story shared by paulo what is there abour forgiveness ?

    about rabbi's response to the disciple's exclamation – is it that it's enogh to unedrstand why our freinds are getting killed, as if our understanding is more imporatnt than all the atrocity that goes on, folks ! i don't get it ! but then my understanding is not a prerequiste for Paulo's story to be ! ( I hope paulo never ever relies on Ghost writers ! )

    regards

    aditya

  2. aditya says:

    Clover, Leaf, freinds

    thanks for making me see.

    I was only trying to get into the Rabbi’s thinking process. e.g. suppose u r that Rabbi and the scene is today, u see some thugs trying to kill to your freinds, killing your freinds say _____, at that time u get this wish – Oh ! only if I were God, would u get this wish merely to understand why the thugs are murdering your friends, or maybe do something about it.

    The way it appears to me, if my freinds are getting killed and I am powerless to do anything about it, I will at least put up a fight and maybe get killed in the process, forgiveness has any value only if we are in a position to do otherwise. Ya in my heart of hearts I will remain impassive, there is no question of hatread, but that which must be done must be done, merely philosophising about life is not life. this is what seems right to me, i don’t care if God is, or is not ( if he is and he is God, he won’t be offended by my blasphemy ! ) .

    tons of borrowed knowledge is weightless in comparison to an ounce of my own distillation ! no ?

    regards

    aditya

  3. clover says:

    I just re-read that, how pretty… Love and Freedom. :)

  4. clover says:

    Wendy,

    You might be right, but still the evil on earth has come from us not from him. He gave us unconditional love and free will.

    Hugs,

    Clover

  5. Wendy Espinoza says:

    why is God so cruel with us his children? if he is so powerful why does he allows such brutality in the world? why can’t he stop hunger, war etc.? i believe we all have asked ourselves this questions. and by reading “the fifth mountain” by Paulo Coelho.
    i’ve found my answer. ” he said to moises, I am God. he didn’t said i’m good or bad.” He can not only be good otherwise there would be a more powerful force, greater than him and since God is everything he has to be both. or at least this is how i interpreted the book. and for me it makes sense.

  6. Jin-Hong says:

    hola what a glorious poem!

    Who are human beings to even think that God needs their forgiveness? He walked into the covenant for us, kept His promise through the ages. Even though we were not there in the beginning. He sacrificed what he could not bear to see us sacrifice…

    No one ever thinks if God is right or wrong, just like history is history and there’s no disputing.

    What I find interesting is how the Rabbi can stand so still and see his friends being massacred, rather than start to run for his life… Assuming the Cossacks came to kill him too.

  7. Leaf says:

    Aditya,
    The forgiveness I assume to see in the story, is that the students Assumed to know what the master was thinking, in his exclamation…they Pre Judged him.
    He would forgive them for that, because he’s who he is, and they’re who they are….and will learn to do the same, in ever differing situations.

    I have a metaphorical view of a common concept;
    think of the Ant
    queen, worker – soldier.
    a soldier (warrior) may be wiped out in an instant
    by the boot on my clumsy foot
    but he has nurtured, thousands of queens, safely underground out of harms way

    and if we go back to yesterday’s story…
    the queens are living under the vegetable patch
    which the old clay jar watered
    and the boots may be on the feet of the man who walks the path

    that’s why we forgive
    because we are forgiven
    for every clumsy step we take
    in anger
    fear
    or giddiness
    for every clumsy word
    which can cut another’s heart
    for misunderstandings
    and misgivings…whatever they are (!?)

    I hope I haven’t more complicated the issue.

    and it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t add
    I hope Paulo
    becomes
    a Ghost writer
    come back and haunt me anytime
    but not yet, love.

    Aah, you lovely people…sigh
    xx

  8. clover says:

    Aditya,

    Why are all those attrocities God’s making? He created us but created our own reality. I don’t understand why people keep on blaming God for their suffering?

    xx

    Clover

  9. Miguel Angel says:

    Hi… I’m a spanish man in London, learning english, not very well if you see how I write, but I try to say something easy better can I do. Thank you for tell one way, in the “Witch of Portobello”. Maybe you tell one history that I need to heard, for don’t feel so alone. Because I think sometimes I have the same sensation, but with fear. Maybe, I need to recomforted myself in reading, dancing, or in the theatre, when I act. But sometimes I have some doubts, and, the people like Athena, make me feel, that, it’s time to change, and stop say no, to say
    yes. It’s time to fight. Thank you for tell this story, and have a good live…

    Miguel

  10. aditya says:

    hola ! cute poem from rumi there, thanks ! wish i too could get those eyes which see what rumi is seeing as he wrote that poem !

    paulo & freinds,

    in the story shared by paulo what is there abour forgiveness ?

    about rabbi’s response to the disciple’s exclamation – is it that it’s enogh to unedrstand why our freinds are getting killed, as if our understanding is more imporatnt than all the atrocity that goes on, folks ! i don’t get it ! but then my understanding is not a prerequiste for Paulo’s story to be ! ( I hope paulo never ever relies on Ghost writers ! )

    regards

    aditya

  11. Yajna says:

    Dearest Paulo,

    This story is remarkable.. I must say, that just reading it, restored some of my faith in believing in the bigger picture in life. There is a reason for everything. Even the most difficult times in your life, when you lose someone, or when things don’t work out with someone you love, one has to believe that there is a reason for it. God is great and the universe works in perfect sequence.. All we have to do is remember that, and believe in it with with all our hearts and souls.

    Thank you for being,
    Yajna

  12. Rozana says:

    Not only the Rabbi things like that, I do too, I blame God, I ask Him why, but finally I tell myself that God has His own ways of actions and I wait for all these to come to an end: the wars, the violence(which is present everywhere, not only on the battle field), the ignorance of some who think high about themselves and live just to hurt others, all the pain… I wish all that to come to an end.
    And in the same time I thank God for not making me pass through many damages and suffering. Even if I know what pain is, I am still one of the lucky ones, but it hurts me deeply seeing others so unhappy…