> Judaism 101 > Philosophy > Deed and Creed

15. God's Goodness

May 19, 2014 | by Rochelle Lev and Rabbi Benjamin Blech

A medicine may be bitter, but it is not bad.


Required Reading Understanding Judaism, p. 238-246

Required Reading Moses asks God to help him to understand God's ways
Exodus 33:18-23
(p. 507 ArtScroll Chumash, Stone Edition)

He [Moses] said, "Show me now Your glory."

He [God] said, "I shall make all My goodness pass before you; I shall show favor when I choose to show favor, and I shall show mercy when I choose to show mercy."

He [God] said, "You will not be able to see My face, for no human can see Me and live. God said, "Behold! There is a place near Me; you may stand on the rock. When My glory passes by, I shall place you in a cleft of the rock. I shall shield you with My hand until I have passed. Then I shall remove My hand and you will see My back, but My face may not be seen."



(1) Rabbi Blech introduced the idea that suffering is a result of free choice. Here he introduces another category of suffering. What is the distinction that he makes here?

(2) Read the source from Exodus above. What was Moses asking when he said, "God, show me Your glory"?

(3) How does God respond?

(4) How does Rabbi Blech explain God's response, "You will see my back," in the context of suffering?

(5) What do we learn about the Jewish attitude to suffering, when God responds to Moses, "You cannot see me and live"?

(6) Why do we bless God when 'bad' things happen in our lives?

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