11 October 2008

Just insane.

Gil has a post in he which he attempts to put a pleasant spin on aging in an attempt to explain some of the theological concerns people might have with aging. An admirable goal.

Toby Katz comments and goes a bit further in which she stops short of finding good in it by rhetorically asking "Was it worth that old lady having Alzheimer's.....?"


I remember that a woman in the old age home with my late mother in law was bed-ridden and unconscious, probably advanced Alzheimer's,...... but her husband came to visit her every single day and every single day he sat there by her bed for hours, just holding her hand.... Was it worth that old lady having Alzheimer's so that her husband could demonstrate love and devotion? Well, I
wouldn't say it was "worth it" but I would say that even in her unconscious
state, her life had value
.


After being attacked by an anonymous:

"Leave it to Toby to posit that it might have been worth it for an old woman to deteriorate with Alzheimer's because her six year old got a chance to shake hands with a talmid of the Chofetz Chaim."

and yours truly:

>Was it worth that old lady having Alzheimer's so that her husband could demonstrate love and devotion?

Not if you'd ask the old lady.


Toby responds:
"Just to set the record straight, this is what I actually wrote:--begin quote--Was it worth that old lady having Alzheimer's so that her husband could demonstrate love and devotion? Well, I wouldn't say it was "worth it" but I would say that even in her unconscious state, her life had value. --end quote--"


The problem is that reasoning Toby's alludes to has great precedence in Jewish thought.

Rabbi Munk in The word of Prayer relates that David Hamelech complained to God about the purpose and what good can come out of insanity. Later on in 1 Shmuel 21:14, King David resorts to feigning insanity to escape from Achish the king of Gath. (In honor of this David writes Tehilim Kappitel 34.) Says Rabbi Munk "It was then that David recognized the perfect wisdom of the creator and the truth of the words in "God observed all that He had created and saw that it was very good (Bereishis 1:31).

So Toby, this concept of yours is far from original. Come to think of it, it way surpasses your thinking. You admirably attempt to find the silver lining in each cloud of sickness, whereas according to Chazal, David Hamelech found redemption in God's creation of insanity only through his own personal benefit.


Perhaps Toby, you should have stood your ground.


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