RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
By Yehudah ben Shomeyr
“Rabbi Yannai said: It is not in our power to explain either the
tranquility of the wicked or the suffering of the righteous.”
Nonetheless Rabbi’s and Sages have attempted it.
However, I think the point Rabbi Yannai was trying to make
is that no matter what explanation or reasoning we come up
with it will fall short and seem unfair because we are finite and
God is infinite and who are we to try and comprehend the ways
of an Infinite God?
However to those who struggle over this issue I will give some classic
reasons of the Rabbi’s and Sages.
1. God is being merciful to the wicked knowing they will have and
eternity to suffer and hoping His goodness upon them will soften
their heart and realize it is God’s doing and turn to Him. In the same
token the righteous will be rewarded and at rest for all eternity so
a little bit of suffering down here is really insignificant in the
whole scheme of things. In some way suffering builds character
and brings us closer to God. It has also been suggested that the
suffering of the righteous somehow atones for the wicked.
2. Kabbalah suggests that time is an illusion and therefore
reward and punishment doesn’t come when we think it should.
So a prosperous wicked person may actually be rewarded in
the present for a good deed done years ago. And a righteous
person may be suffering some “injustice” on account of a sin
committed in the forgotten past.
-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr