David: So, now that I’ve put you on the spot, now why don’t you, say, propose your first one or two questions. Fair? Fair?
Fayge: That was the dilemma I had. In other words, believing strongly that there is hashkafa pratis taught by the same woman who went through the Holocaust and knew her parents were murdered and her sister was murdered and her niece was murdered, etc. That person believing that, and I coming to believe the same thing, and on the other hand, wanting to reconcile that hashkafa pratis of the things that happened to my mother where she was saved from the wolves and saved from this and saved from this, so that she was alive and now I would be alive, how would that… How can that be reconciled?
So, I had the problem of the belief of hashkafa pratis would intensify the problem of a knowing all-present God allowing or—in fact, not even allowing—instigating, guiding, and commanding this to happen.
So, I was happy to see that in certain aspects, I could perhaps reconcile it by saying, “Oh, there are times with that guiding force—God and the divine—absents himself from the world by not being here in the present so that some events do unfold by people choosing to be evil, you might say.”
David: Let me ask you, stepping back, would you say it’s a relatively profound that God—assuming there’s a God who created the universe—would you say that’s pretty profound?
Fayge: That God created the universe?
David: Would you say it’s pretty profound that God—if God exists—created life as we know it?
David: Would you say it’s pretty profound that God—if the God exists—created your parents? Allowed the creation to occur?
David: Okay. You know, in [inaudible 00:02:45], Dana, these are pretty profound unfoldings, right? Do we then have to say that God guided your late mother typing her shoelaces? Do we have to go to that point? Must we go to that point? Or might we say, “We don’t have to go to that point”?
Fayge: I accept the proposition that we don’t have to go to that.
David: Right. We don’t have to go to that point.
Fayge: We don’t have to go to that point.
David: Even though your teacher told you to go to that point. Is that true?
David: Right. And that’s my point. That’s my point. We don’t necessarily have to go to that point, that God, if God exists, directed your late mother to go to tie your shoelaces.
David: If one wants to go there…you know…
Fayge: But, that having been said, you don’t have to, if you are time and time again given food like the miners in that mining accident. You must, to some extent, say, “It’s not just happening because the heavens opened up and it’s does it own its own.” Do you see what I’m saying? The miners understood after a while, or know, that they had been found after a length of time, and they were being given food by people who were still trying to take them out of there.
David: Okay. So, if we said that, as a general proposition, God—if God exists—is contracted from the here and now. But we also said simultaneously—here comes the finesse—that we, on the individual level, have the possibility of piercing the veil of cosmic consciousness and imploring divine aid into the here and now. Then we do finesse both simultaneously. Is that sort of true, if you follow my drift? And that’s what I say.
Fayge: And that part, I am very comfortable. So that the contraction is there—
David: But the possibility is there.
Fayge: The hiddenness of God is there which allows other things to happen.
David: Bad things can happen. But the possibility exists–
Fayge: That I can ask for—
David: I can ask for and pierce the veil of cosmic consciousness.
David: So, we intersect, emotionally and intellectually. That’s where I’m at. Okay? Okay.
Fayge: And this second portion is that the more you [inaudible 00:05:30] implore, the more you are cognizant of, the more that you are open to the divine, the more you can bring it into your life.
Fayge: And that’s where grateful comes from, though. You need to have something that you feel is coming to you—maybe not deserving, you might say—not earned, but as a grace that makes you grateful for the good that you have…and maybe the bad that you have.
David: Maybe, on the grateful subject, maybe we could be grateful that there is a universe. Maybe we could be grateful that there is life at all. Maybe it’s grateful that we had to opportunity to be born. Maybe we can be grateful that we have the opportunity to love and to laugh.
Fayge: Not maybe. For sure.
David: And maybe be grateful that we’re in a life, even if it’s not so perfect, that we’re rocking and rolling in this life.
Fayge: I’m not sure about that.
David: Think about it. Let’s talk about that. Let’s talk about that. Okay. Let’s go back to the discussion, if we may, of before. When you’re in the vortex of problems, you say, “I don’t know problems.” But stepping back, when we see the possibilities unfolding, notwithstanding the problems, do you now have a different possible perspective? Right. Absolutely.
So, we have to relax a little bit. It’s easy to… The corpse in the pine box has no problems. That entity has no problems. The 20-year old looking for a husband or whatever, she has problems. She has problems.
Fayge: She thinks she has problems.
David: She thinks she has problems. And she does have issues probably. But overall, which would she rather be, the 20-year looking for problems or the corpse in the box?
Fayge: It depends on the person.
David: It depends on the person. Fair enough. It depends on the exact situation. But very few people do commit suicide. Very few people.
David: [Inaudible 00:07:54]
Fayge: This is true.
David: Very few people. [Inaudible 00:07:56]
Fayge: Most people would choose the 20-year old.
David: Right. Most would choose that option. Option A.
Fayge: Door number one.
David: Door number one. Not option B. They may say they would rather be the corpse in the pine box, but they really don’t. They’d rather have all the problems and opportunities and play it out, when push comes to shove.
Fayge: I once heard a psychologist speak who was in charge of a group of people who had chronic debilitating diseases. And he said that the majority of people in that group—now they could have been in the separate group, but they were coming to him anyway, so they were selected.
David: That’s true.
Fayge: But the majority of people said that their life experiences had brought them to the different level of understanding and appreciation of life. And they were even grateful to be where they were.
David: Right. [Inaudible 00:09:08] and choose life with all it’s myriad of plus and misuses. I have an 18-year old son, Salman. And I use him as a sounding board. I used him as a sounding board when I was writing Summa too. And I asked Salman, “What do you think of tragedy?”
He says, “You know, tragedy itself in a proof of the divine, that we have existence, that existence occurred at all.” And he says, “Even the possibility of tragedy is pretty incredible.” I almost fell of my chair.
Fayge: 18-year old. Wow!
David: No. 13-year old.
Fayge: 13-year old. Oh my. That’s very profound.
David: Even the possibility of tragedy is proof of divine, that there is existence, there is reality. It’s all controlled.
Fayge: You taught him well.
David: Well, it’s both ways. It’s both ways. It’s both ways, frankly. Now, of course, you don’t want to be the vortex of tragedy. None of us do. But if you step back from it, the possibility that it exists at all is pretty profound.
Fayge: Yeah, but your thought about it doesn’t matter if it’s six million, six hundred, six…
Fayge: One. It comes down to that one. Does it necessarily have to be that way, difficult for a compassionate human…? If I feel that, there’s no question that the divine should feel that. And why would he not choose otherwise?
But, we have this thing that maybe we’ll [inaudible 00:11:05] that this is the best of both possible worlds. Is it true, is it a given that this is the only way, the best possible way?
David: The only way.
Fayge: The only way.
David: So, I did look into book two. Okay, so I do a book two, and I do with [inaudible 00:11:21] before it’s the whole book, right? But I say, I propose, originally there was zero. And divine force divides zero into pluses and minuses, good and evil. But that was the only possibility. You could not just divide zero into good or just pluses. I have it be, only divide zero, you had to divide pluses and minuses. That’s and only way, according to hypothesis that we could have anything at all. Unfortunately, we’re entrenched [inaudible 00:11:57], which is a forward, unfortunately.
That was the only way to divide the void and to get rocking and rolling with the universe, with the cosmos, even for God.
Fayge: And I look at them backwards because I can understand that. I don’t like it, but I can understand that.
David: Exactly. None of us like it. But we can, on some level, deal with it.
Fayge: And that is comforting.
David: Be confident because you can have both the divine and evil, simultaneously.
Fayge: Right. And I have less tymis. What is the word?
David: Yes. Tymis. Tymis.
Fayge: Yeah. I have less tymis.
David: Argument or complaint.
Fayge: —-Complaint in there—
David: I can deal with that.
Fayge: —Because this is the way it’s got to happen.
David: That is the only way it can be, unfortunately
Fayge: The only way it could be.
David: [Inaudible 00:12:44]
Fayge: If you want the good, then you have—
David: To have evil. [Inaudible 00:12:46] unfortunately.
Fayge: Right. Unfortunately.
Fayge: But this is it.
David: This is the… Even for the infinitely powerful God of Israel, that’s the best that was possible. Because you cannot go from nothing to only good, unfortunately. You don’t go from nothing, get the divine in the male and female, pluses and minuses, plus integers and negative integers, the good and evil, evil and good. That’s a hypothesis. It’s pretty incredible to go from nothing even to a rock. It’s pretty incredible to go from nothing to your children. Pretty incredible journey to get from there to here.
Fayge: I also feel it puts you it a very special [inaudible 00:13:37]. In other words, I would… The fact that I can be… I’ve become created makes me feel…
David: [Inaudible 00:13:49] creator. You were created, and you’re a creator. Let’s take a little break.
So, now we have [inaudible 00:14:00], the final segment of today, sort of for summary or perspective on the situation.
So, if one of your children… Tell me the age rage of your children, roughly. From what to what?
David: Roughly. 18 to…
David: Okay. The 18 year old comes to you. “Mom, I want to be religious. I want to continue being religious. But I have a big problem about gross evil befalling seemingly innocent people. How can you guide me as my mom? What philosophy can I adopt that works with Judaism that I can adopt or maybe that you feel I should consider? How can I deal with the issue?”
From your perspective now, incorporating everything that you’ve gone through and you know, what’s your wisdom at this point? What’s your wisdom at this point? What’s the best we can do here?
Fayge: You could say it was a lifelong dilemma, hard to reconcile. But there are some ideas out there. One of them is my David Birnbaum, which if I can paraphrase what you said, is that… The divine is what we would call either the quest for potential or possibility. And in that framework, there must be both good and evil. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be creation. And there wouldn’t be freedom. And for man to have freedom and to be able to grow and to attach himself to the divine, then from—as you said—from the zero, from the nothing, the void that was before to the time that there was creation, there had to be both sides of the equation, both good and evil. And that’s why evil exists, which, if you want to bring it to the nth degree, means that you, my child, have the possibility now to try to work on your potential and bring more of the good to the world so that there will be less possibility for evil.
David: I think we could conclude on that point. The pre-segment, this is the finale. I think we’ll, with your permission, we’ll conclude at that point.