(c) 2000 Dr Hendel; 1st appeared in Torah Forum (c) Project Genesis

Date: Tue, 29 Dec 1998 12:46:32 -0500
From: rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu (Russell Hendel)
Subject: Re: apocryphal books

Sarah Abrahamson, in her response to Alexander Gendler, in Torah Forum Vol
4 Number 44 raises the question of why G-d punishes nations who seem to be
doing G-d's will in executing judgement on sinners.

She suggests that G-d punishes them for their motivation not their deeds.
However, in general Judaism is an action centered legal system. A person
who puts on tefillin to please a prospective father-in-law has performed a
mitzvah while a person who does not put on tefillin in order to give
charity has commited a sin.

There are two important answers to the classical question raised by Sarah:
1) There is an explicit verse in Zechariah, 1:15 <  And with a big anger I am
fuming on the goyim living in peace because I got angry (with the Jews
only) a little and they (the Goyim)helped bring more evil.>

In other words, G-d e.g. may have decreed we would be sojouners and slaves
in Egypt but the Egyptians tortured and murdered us (went farther than God

2) We must distinguish between G-d SENDING somebody to do something (e.g
thru a prophetic order) and G-d USING somebody. If a prophet comes and
orders a non jewish nation to do something then they are doing nothing
wrong in fulfilling this order. But if a prophet does not so command them
then they are sinners that G-d is using them for his own purposes. King
Solomon explicitly said: <   The Captain of the world (G-d) uses everything:
For he hires the fools and sinners (to do His will)>

Russell Jay Hendel; phd Asa
rhendel @ mcs drexel edu