Does God Punish Us?

Today I found myself wondering if I believe that God punishes us. I know the Torah offers examples of God punishing people. For example, there’s the story of Moses not being allowed to enter the Promised Land, because he hit a rock rather than talking to it.  I just don’t believe that the bad things that happen to us are God’s way of punishing us…at least I don’t believe God behaves that way anymore (if he/she ever did). I know on the High Holy Days we pray for forgiveness for our “sins,” so we can be “inscribed” in the “book of life” for another year, but I think their some poetic license in this language along with the energy that we have to create and co-create with God our lives via our intentions and actions.

I believe in the Law of Attraction. You need only visit my website, or read my booklet, The Kabbalah of Conscious Creation, to know that this as fact—although I look at it from a very Jewish perspective. That means I believe we create, or attract, things into our lives based on a combination of our thoughts, feelings and actions. That said, you won’t find me saying that the people in Haiti created that earthquake on Tuesday or brought it upon themselves in any way shape or form.

Nor will you find me saying things like what Pat Robertson said about why the earthquake occurred in Haiti. As thousands lie dead, buried or crying for help from the earthquake that devastated Haiti Tuesday Robertson opened his mouth and said the Haitians brought it upon themselves, because they had made a pact with the Devil. (If you don’t believe that Robertson said that the Haitians were being punished by God, you can listen to the video clip here.) That’s what got me thinking about this question: Does God punish us–not that I believe for a minute that God brought that earthquake upon the Haitians as punishment, mind you. I don’t think they created the disaster.

I believe some things just happen. God could, but doesn’t, control everything. God doesn’t control when an earthquake hits, and it affects all sorts of people. Those who do good things and those who do bad things. Those who believe in God and those who don’t. Those who observe commandments and those who don’t.

We each have the ability to create a lot of things in our own lives, but we don’t create disasters for our whole country. I’m sorry. I just don’t believe that. And I don’t believe that God would punish anyone—Haitians or Jews—in such a way. I think nature does what it does.

I think there is a Divine plan. We may not understand it. We may not know why these people in Haiti must suffer through this disaster now. It seems to make no sense. Maybe one day, we’ll see that some good has come out of it. Right now, we can only see the lives lost and the destruction left in its wake. We wonder where God can be in this? Can this be God’s hand?

I think God’s hand is helping find the victim’s that are still alive. I think God’s hand is in the rescue workers and those offering assistance. I think God’s hand is helping give those affected faith and strength and hope for the future. And maybe they will come out stronger and more abundant and prosperous. Maybe somehow the nation will be renewed in some fashion. Wouldn’t that be a miracle? I hope one day we can look back and see God’s hand in many, many ways…but not as a hand that is punishing the people of Haiti as Robertson would like us to believe.

7 thoughts on “Does God Punish Us?”

  1. Nina,
    I do not believe G-d punishes anybody. This doesn’t mean however that things “just happen”
    The entire world, physical and spiritual is a unified system that is reacting to our slightest action, emotion and thought. In that sense the “reward and punishment” is simply two manifestations of the same mechanism – I’d simply call it “Cause and Effect”.
    If someone jumps from the third floor and breaks his legs (lo aleinu), do we say that G-d punished him? Or It just happen? No, we say that there is law of gravity with very few known exceptions (He can get into the bushes and get away with scratches only, but that would be only because of another law/factor prevailed). Just like the law of gravity, there is Law of Attraction and other laws as well. As far as specific catastrophic incidents, it’s always emotionally difficult to apply the Law of “Cause and Effect”, but everyone, on personal, national or whole humanity level is 100% responsible to what happens to them, being that you or me, Haitians or Jews. The constructive side of looking at things this way are that you accept the responsibility and start working to change the situation. Other approaches simply keep the status quo till the cup gets overflown again.
    In Jewish Tradition this principle is best expressed in Chassidic teachings of Rav Israel Baal Shem Tov (whose 250-th Yahzeret is tonight!)
    He taught that the world is and accurate mirror reflecting back to you what’s inside of you:
    See this and other teachings of Rav Israel Baal Shem Tov here:
    more on this in Twersky’s article
    This goes beyond psychology and how your mind filters it – it’s about how the reality around us is being created every moment reflecting who we are, what we think, say, feel or do.

    Among non-Jewish sources two good books on how it works:
    The Divine Matrix by Gregg Braden and Zero Limits by Joe Vitale (need to filter out some self advertisement from the last one)

    Chag Sameach!
    Ish Tam

    1. Great, great insights and thanks for the links. I know a lot about both Braden and Vitale, and you think much like me. I do, however, have a hard time thinking that things like earthquakes and other such disasters are mirrors reflecting what is inside a whole people. It isn’t exactly that I don’t believe that; I just struggle with it.

      Thank you for reading my blog and sharing. I’m always so happy to have someone point me to Jewish texts and teachings that support secular teachings like the Law of Attraction.

  2. Nina,
    thank you for the reply – Shavuot in Israel is already over – and you still have it till Thursday evening 🙂
    Two-day chag is something I’m still a bit missing 🙂

    Concerning the natural disasters –
    I think we grossly underestimate the power of collective human consciousness.

    Since the Earth is also a conscious being (this is not a new age idea, Rambam wrote about that),
    any disturbance or imbalance in collective human consciousness affects the Earth way more than our physical impact of changing the environment.

    The globalization (media, communications, transportations etc.) that is happening in the past few decades has been a major factor to sync-up global human consciousness and it’s national sub-elements and amplify any effect (positive or negative) we might have on each other and the Earth.

    You can look at the earthquakes and other Earth-born disasters as a physical expression of this imbalance.

    As far as the Law of attraction – I’m not a big fan of it
    – I think it’s a great toy of the ego,
    an optional intermediate step on our way up 🙂
    That’s why I liked the “zero limits” book where Joe went to the next level, beyond the LoA.

    I prefer to direct the energy to the soul, to power up the course that she is taking me on.
    This is however another topic – would love to talk about it some other time and place 🙂

  3. In response to your other comment: I know of Sarah’s work. I emailed her once or twice. She does some similar work to mine. She didn’t reply. I’d love to include her blog on my blog roll; she only has RSS Feed.

    As for LOA, my booklet the Kabbalah of Conscious Creation, takes it much deeper. I go through the four worlds…I start on a soul level creating from the soul’s purpose with the desire to give…

  4. So lately, my boyfriend and I’ve been arguing a whole lot. When I state a good deal I imply like everyday. And now we are ‘on a break up’. We have been off and on for more than a year. And I love him with all of MY HEART. but he just is not the same. He’s been a jerk recently. Like he would not provide me a cuddle, kiss me, hold my hand, or maybe appear at me at school (he’s afraid he’s going to have in trouble.) but he nonetheless states that he loves me. But he is not precisely the same sweet guy he was when we started dating, he isn’t the guy which I fell in true love with. I don’t know very well what to do any longer becasue I really love him so a lot! I fell in love with him initially look November Last year and living with no him doesn’t function. I’m busted without having him and it is actually so tricky to live with out him. But exactly how do I know if he feels exactly the same way that I really feel? How can I get him to admit to it? He informed me he lvoes me far more then something…except a vocalist..thats someone.. I want guidance and I never want any, “you’re also young to know what appreciate is” or “you’re to young to date” mainly because I am aware what appreciate is. And I am additional mature then everyone in my grade. I don’t strategy to possess sex until I am married. so please, I just want really serious replies that may be able to assist me.

    1. Arianne,
      If he has changed how he treats you, his feelings actually may have changed. You need to communicate with him about that. By communicating with him, though, you give him the chance to change how he behaves towards you if he really does love you. Be willing–and courageous enough–to move on to a relationship where you feel secure in the other person’s feelings for you. Otherwise, you will begin to doubt yourself as well as him. I think in your heart you know the truth. Trust your intuition about the relationship.

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