Lazer's back with more stupid explanations about why the universe is still being mean to people. Which is to say, existing.
For instance, did you know that weather patterns happen? Apparently this is news to Lazer, who is convinced that the only explanation for a Hurricane hitting the Eastern seaboard is that God is mad. About what? We'll let the nutty nougatty goodness speak for itself:
Hashem doesn't do things at random. Why is hurricane Irene advancing toward the good and decent folks of North Carolina? It's simple - North Carolina has its own Jonah:Jonathan Pollard, rotting away in a cell in Butner for the last 26 years when his crime should have incurred no more than an 8-year sentence. Words can't describe the cruel utterly inhuman way that Pollard has been treated, not being allowed to see his dying father or even attend his funeral.
The USA could save itself billions of impending damage and lives as well by freeing Pollard right now. There's no doubt in my mind or heart that Irene will just disappear if Pollard walks out of Butner. There's proof to what I'm saying in the Gemara - see tractate Brachot 59a: When Hashem sees that his children in exile are in anguish, He sheds two tears in the sea. Hashem's two tears because of Pollard could be what's causing Hurricane Irene to be such a threat right now.
(I'm sorry to say that the unfortunate attempt at gematria-esque bolding is in the original.)
Honestly, what can I say about this? Is there even any point in mentioning that the hurricane affected 15 other states (as well as those pesky countries in the Caribbean) besides North Carolina? Or that of the 54 confirmed fatalities, only six occurred there? I mean, if you're going to try to come up with random rationalizations for weather patterns, at least do it after the fact when the numbers can back up your BS. I don't even see how Lazer can hold to his own theory in light of where the damage and deaths were most concentrated. Does God hate New York & New Jersey 2.5 times as much as North Carolina? Why didn't the prayers and mitzvot from all the pious Yidden in Lakewood and Boro Park save them from more of the wrathiness? It seems to me that if we're going to pretend Irene was all about punishing North Carolina then the only options are that either God doesn't know where North Carolina is or he got drunk and was just waving the hurricane wand around willy-nilly. I also like how Lazer believes that not only is God willing to kill a bunch of people (including a Jewish Holocaust survivor, whoopsies) to protest one guy's long prison sentence, but that apparently hurricanes can be turned off at the drop of a hat. On the other hand, as long as we're just making things up, I suppose there's no harm in being consistent in our silliness. Did I mention that volcanic eruptions are not caused by tectonic shifts but rather by giant mutant dolphins ramming head-first into each other like mountain goats, fighting over the hottest females? Look it up.
As painfully mind-warping as Lazer's ideas are, I kind of understand the urge to want to make disasters and natural phenomenon make sense and fit into some sort of plan. Unlike the theodicy crowd, I have spent lots of time recognizing that the world was not terribly concerned about me. I suppose in some ways I was always a little overly concerned with the "big picture." I remember having nightmares as a kid and my parents trying to console me by asking me what was wrong. "I dreamed the universe blew up!" I would wail (this was a recurring dream for several years). Baffled, they couldn't think of anything to say, other than, "Well, it didn't!"
In high school, college, and even occasionally today, I wrestle with the idea that, contrary to what various religions' theology teach, science has shown that the Earth is on a countdown with destiny, that eventually our sun will burn out and our planet will cease to be a place that can support life. Everything we do, everyone we know, all our future children and generations... there will be a time where it's all snuffed out.
That's very hard to take. It's a real challenge to look life in the face and not be a little scared by the recognition that we're all a little doomed, and that nothing will outlast our planet's destruction. That there is a finite end to our time here, and that there will be an end to humanity. It's pretty heavy, no question.
But I would still rather deal with those real dilemmas than make up stupid, offensive, and yes, EXTREMELY SELF-CENTERED reasons for why things happen in the world.
News flash, Lazer: hurricanes aren't Jewish. Volcanoes aren't Jewish. Earthquakes aren't Jewish. They really don't care about US-Israel relations, Jonathan Pollard, or a gay pride parade in holy Yerushelayim.
You may think the Earth cares about the Jews (both good and bad), but I'm pretty sure it's neutral. Just saying.
Edit: Double Theodicy score! Lazer adds R. Moshe Yosef Reichenberg, the Orthodox father of four who died rescuing a child and father from a downed power line to his list of tzaddikim taken away by God to... um, punish us into making teshuvah, I guess? Thanks?
Now, I know I'm not frum, so maybe I'm missing something, but I have to ask: Lazer, as an ostensibly "outreach-focused" rabbi, isn't your job supposed to be encouraging us to, you know, like God? Just wondering.