Are We allowed to  Ask G‑d a few Questions after Leiby Kletsky

Rabbi Meir Tabib from Kefar Chabad, visited an old folk's home to cheer up the patients. When one of them, an older man, heard that Rab Meir was from Chabad he got excited and told him a story.

The old fellow stressed that he was a staunch Zionist, was not religious and never would be - but once something happened to him with Chabad that almost made him consider changing his mind.

Some fifty years ago he had been a high figure in 'Mapai', a far left liberal socialist Zionist party that was powerful in the earlier years of the State of Israel.

One of his jobs was directing the large Mapai Library in Tel Aviv and for that reason he would frequently travel around the world, especially the U.S.A in search of books, funds and supporters.

Occasionally his travels took him to the Crown Heights district of Brooklyn, the headquarters of the Lubavitcher Rebbe where he would be the guest of one of the Rebbe's personal secretaries Rabbi Binyamin Klein (who was also given the job of hosting important Israeli guests).

One year this visit coincided with the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur and, being an intellectual and a bit of an adventurer, he gladly put on a prayer shawl took a Machzor (High holiday prayer book) and joined the hundreds of Jews in the Synagogue.

He was quite familiar with (and was full of criticism of) the regular weekly prayer book, the siddur, but he had never really studied this Machzor book for yom kippur.

At some point he got to the section about the Ten Martyrs. The Machzor tells in some detail of how Rabbi Akiva and nine other holy Rabbis were publicly tortured to death, each in a different way, by the Romans.

But the part that shook our guest was when he read how the heavenly angels complained bitterly, "Is this the reward for learning the Torah?" and G‑d answered "Be quiet, one more word and I'll return the world to chaos and nothingness."

"What!" He exclaimed "Is it forbidden to ask questions!? Is G‑d such a cruel tyrant that He would destroy the entire world just because someone complains?! What sort of medieval religious suppression is this?!"

Imagine, if a wife asks her husband: why did you have to yell the kids, and his response: one more word I will destroy the home! This guy needs some help.

G‑d could tell the angels, “you will not understand.” “It is none of your business.” But what type of strange reply is this: I will destroy the world?!

The men around him were so engrossed in prayer they really couldn't pay attention to him. So he waited till the prayer ended and began to ask - but no one had a reply.

He even went to Rabbi Klein, his host, who also couldn't calm him down, but Rabbi Klein pointed out an old Chassid that was sitting not far from them and escorted him over there.

The old Chassid shook his hand told him to sit down and heard the question.

"Ahhh! Good question!! Excellent question!!" He said. I'll give you a parable:

The old Chassid began to speak and the old Zionist listened avidly.

"Once there was a great king who had a Jewish tailor. He loved this tailor very much and gave him a house on the castle grounds. He made all the royal garments and the King would often talk to him and take his advice about other things as well.

"But the local Bishop couldn't take it.

"He hated this Jew with a passion and longed for the moment he could eliminate him without angering the King.

"The Bishop was very clever. He bided his time and even pretended to be an admirer of the tailor until finally one day his patience paid off! He got an idea; a foolproof scheme to be rid of the cursed Jew forever.

"The Bishop bought a large piece of the finest white satin and personally presented it to the king.

"'Your majesty,' he bowed deeply and said. 'This holy cloth is a gift from the church sanctified by heaven. Its holiness is incomprehensible and it is our gift to you.

'I'm sure it will make the perfect garment for your majesty.

"'I'm sure that your majesty will give the job of making this garment to his personal tailor, for there is no better tailor in the kingdom, perhaps in the world, than he. But I must add a warning.' The Bishop's eyes narrowed as he spoke,

"'If even a thread of this holy cloth is missing then the guilty party must die. So is the law of the Scripture!' He said, raising his hand ominously.

"The King took the cloth and admired it. It was certainly the most splendid material he had ever seen. And as was to be expected he gave it to his faithful, Jewish tailor without even bothering to warn him. It was unnecessary. He trusted him completely and such a warning might make him nervous and disturb his work.

"Sure enough, three months later the garment was finished and presented to the king. It was even more exquisite than he had imagined. Smooth as the sea, brilliant as the sun, it was so expertly sewn and fashioned that not a stitch could be seen anywhere and was the ultimate in comfort and elegance.

"The king tried it on and was so overjoyed he rewarded the Jew royally.

"But that evening there was a knock on the king's door and entered the Bishop, accompanied by ten more priests of high rank, heads hung low with solemn and shocking news.

"Your majesty! Let us measure the garment and ensure that all of the material was used.”

“They measured the material and lo and behold, it was smaller than the original material given to the tailor.

"The tailor must die!!

"The King now had no choice; he was bound by his holy oath. He moaned and paced back and forth but he was trapped, to defy the church was unthinkable.

"With a heavy heart he called the tailor had him bound in chains and gave him the sad news; he was to be murdered for theft of holy cloth.

"The tailor tried to protest but to no avail, his fate was sealed.

"'If so, if I am about to die' the tailor begged, 'then may I have one last wish, your majesty?".

"'Yes', answered the king, 'you may.'

"Good. I want you to return me the garment I just made and give me a pair of scissors."

Why? Asked the king.

“I have not stolen any of the material,” said the tailor. “But for me to prove that I have to undo the entire garment thread by thread. Then I will show you how each piece of material was used. If you want me to do it, I shall!”

“If you want me to undo the entire garment and revert it back to the way it was before my work I can show you how every inch material can be accounted for.”

The Plan

"That," said the old Chassid 'Is the end of the parable and the answer to your question.

"G‑d wasn't telling the angels not to ask questions. He was not threatening them. Rather He was telling them that when He created the world He did it with a plan and NOTHING is missing from that plan. Every “thread,” every event, can be accounted for. Every moment, every experience, every life, every death, had meaning, purpose.

"But in order to understand this, it would be necessary 'undo everything'… to undo the entire creation, to go back to the chaos and nothingness of the beginning of the world. G‑d was telling the angels: If you want to understand the secret of Rabbi Akiva, I have to destroy the world, and start all over again. I have to show you the “movie” from the beginning; I have to read with you the book from the beginning. I have to allow you to see existence from its very genesis till its very end, so you can understand what it is all about.”

“If you want to understand the meaning of life and of history and of all events, you need to come back with me to the beginning of creation, to the beginning of the garment, and then you get the full picture of history.”