Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The difference between Answer and Response

Answer, is academically removing a difficulty or contradiction.

Response is doing my best to right the wrong, to fixing that which is broken.

To find an Answer to something that bothers my brain I click on Google, Answers.com or pull out an encyclopedia.

To find a Response to something which bothers my heart, my soul or my conscience, I must search within. I must challenge myself to do whatever I can to make things at least a little better.

If we were computers, answers would reign supreme.

But we are not machines, we are humans. There are occasions when answers fall short, when what is really being sought is a response.

If someone were to intellectually explain why the Holocaust occurred, would it bother you less that 1.5 million children were brutally murdered?

"Why do the righteous suffer?" was couched by Job not as a question requiring an answer, but as a challenge requiring a response.

A challenge to G-d and a challenge to humanity - his friends who were too quick to "understand" and even justify his suffering.

It did not require an answer - but a response.

The Holocaust is the greatest question, challenge, that humanity has ever faced. It requires a response from humanity; it demands a response from G-d.

But suffering is not limited to the Holocaust. We all know people who have suffered greatly, dare we say unfairly, in their own lives. How should we respond to that suffering?

As part of our Holocaust Awareness Initiative, I encourage you to seriously consider registering for our new JLI course - "Beyond Never Again - How the Holocaust Speaks To Us Today". Created by the Chabad Jewish Learning Institute (JLI), the world's largest network of adult Jewish education, Beyond Never Again has won support from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Yad Vashem, The Simon Wiesenthal Centre and Simon Wiesenthal himself, together with more than 100 centers and institutes devoted to studying the Holocaust around the world.

For further information, please visit www.ChabadWinnipeg.org/JLI.

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