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February 07, 2013 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2013-02-07

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>> on the cover

Craig Fahle

Fed-Up Man of Faith

Shmuley Boteach to speak on book
challenging God in the face of tragedy.

Robin Schwartz I Contributing Writer


"God's role is not to distribute reward
"I thought their home was at their
and punishment. God's role is to instill in
parents' dinner tables:' Boteach adds.
us the capacity to take whatever life deals
"These are empty platitudes that religion to us:' Kushner says in a 2011 interview
offers. You mean the same God who
with Shalom TV. "If I have to choose
called them home couldn't have pro-
between an all-powerful God who is not
tected them?"
kind and fair, or a kind and fair God who
The rabbi encour-
is awesomely powerful
ages readers to hold God
but not totally powerful,
accountable in his new
I would rather affirm
book, The Fed-Up Man of
God's goodness and
Faith: Challenging God in
compromise his power
the Face of Tragedy and
rather than the other way
Suffering. He'll be in town
to discuss the book at 7:30
But Boteach believes
p.m. Monday, Feb. 11, at
God is all-powerful. He
the Berman Center for the
says we should therefore
Performing Arts in West
get angry and demand
better. He doesn't mind if
Boteach concludes religion
people consider his views
has made us too subservient.
controversial. Some of his
He says his goal is to reclaim a tradition
other books include Kosher Sex: A Recipe
of religious and spiritual defiance that
for Passion and Intimacy; Hating Women:
dates back to the time of Abraham; he
America's Hostile Campaign Against the
draws on numerous confrontations with
Fairer Sex; and Shalom in the Home:
God in the Bible to make his point.
Smart Advice for a Peaceful Life.
"Suffering has no redemptive quality
"None of this is blasphemous," he says.
whatsoever:' Boteach says. "It doesn't
"Precisely the opposite is true. Not to
make us wiser; it doesn't make us stron-
question God is to deny that He is in full
ger. It makes us cynical and depressed.
control of human events. To challenge
Suffering is all bad. We have to stop
God is to embrace an authentic, human
relationship with Him:'
justifying it."
Boteach suggests the lessons tragedies
When asked what would be the ben-
can teach can also be learned without
efit of challenging God after suffering
pain. He believes all human suffering
a devastating, irreversible loss, Boteach
should be abolished from the Earth.
points out it has the power to change a
"I have a passionate and absolute
person's perspective.
belief in God:' he says. "But I am ask-
"Ten percent of life is what happens
ing people to stop believing they aren't
to you:' he says. "Ninety percent is how
allowed to question God and that all
you respond. Our response has to be to
things happen for a good reason; that
affirm life — it makes all the difference.
their suffering is destiny and a punish-
How we respond to suffering can ulti-
mately minimize suffering:'
ment for their sins.
"Humans deserve to ask God to allevi-
ate their unjust afflictions, and the judg-
Tickets for Rabbi Boteach's Feb.11
mental words of religious leaders only
appearance at the Berman Center
undermine humans' responsibilities to
for the Performing Arts are $18
comfort those who are suffering:'


101.9 fm

CM1z1lenging God in III e Face or %aged, and Suffering


j ∎ Da anis Ptager

Is God All - Powerful?
Boteach's assertions are in stark con-
trast with the message of Conservative
Rabbi Harold Kushner. Millions of read-
ers have found comfort in his popular
book, When Bad Things Happen to Good
People. It was published in 1981 after the
Massachusetts-based rabbi's son died
from a degenerative disease at age 14.

per person in advance and $25 at
the door. To charge by phone, call
the Berman box office at (248)
661-1900. For more information,
go to www.theberman.org . The
Fed-Up Man of Faith: Challenging
God in the Face of Tragedy and
Suffering is available in hardcover
at all major bookstores and online

While You're Living Your Life

Craig Is Getting Ready


You Can Count On
The Craig Fahle Show

Weekdays at 10 a.m. & 7 p.m.

WDET is a
service of



February 7 • 2013


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