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Understanding Mumbai


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Rabbi Shlomo: Welcome. I'll be with you in a moment...what's on your mind?

Question: I am having a hard time understanding the Mumbai attacks.1

Rabbi Shlomo: what makes you think you can understand them

Question: how such good people can suffer

Rabbi Shlomo: indeed. I feel your pain. But read what I wrote above

Question: right...but it still bothers me


Rabbi Shlomo: And that is PERCISELY why you CAN'T understand it!

Rabbi Shlomo: If you understood it, it wouldn't bother you anymore. And that would be wrong

Question: can this possibly mean that we are in the times of Mashiach?

Rabbi Shlomo: this may be, although this too we can't fully know... meaning, we are not fully able to say that action X means result Y

Rabbi Shlomo: However, the Lubavitcher Rebbe has already said a while back that we are in the times of Moshaich... and other aspects of this event have lead more people to believe that we are even closer to that day

Question: who is taking care of their little boy?

Rabbi Shlomo: the grandparents

Question: wow

Question: my husband told me that the rabbi and hios wife will get a huge portion in Olam Haba [Ed. the World to Come/Heaven]

Rabbi Shlomo: absolutley

Question: thank you for your help rabbi

Rabbi Shlomo: my pleasure... and try not to think too much about WHY Hashem does what HE does. Instead think about what Hashem wants US to do

Question: ok...good idea....I just sometimes worry that even if people do what He wants, G-d forbid they still suffer...then I just get more perplexed...Like in Europe during the pogroms and the Holocaust.., and I have heard countless times that we cannot question, but tthat it a good answer for those who have 100 percent unwavering faith and trust, but for those who don't, it's much harder to digest...I mean they were huge rabbinical giants we perished

Question: I thought Mitzvot brings a person life

Question: Hashem says that we should do mitzvot that we may live

Rabbi Shlomo: we don't have a gaurantee that there will be no suffering in life. Plus, what we perceive as suffering might not always be bad... for example, think about this:

Rabbi Shlomo: Let's say it was decreed in heaven that someone had to die. His time on this world is up...

Rabbi Shlomo: would it be better to die in a random car accident by a drunk driver, or to die in midst of serving G-d in the home of G-d?

Question: serving G-d of course 

Question: I't always best to serve G-d...,but I'm just saying that suffering can disillusion a person

Rabbi Shlomo: let's get to that in a second.

Rabbi Shlomo: Meanwhile, for the sake of a clear conversation lets follow the order :-)

Rabbi Shlomo: so you agree that it would be better to die in the midst of serving G-d than to die of cancer or in a random car accident?

Question: yes

Rabbi Shlomo: now, of the milllions of people who die every year, how many people die serving G-d?

Question: hundreds?

Rabbi Shlomo: I don't know?

Question: few

Rabbi Shlomo: How many people do you know that died in the midst of serving G-d, in the house of G-d?

Rabbi Shlomo: very few!

Rabbi Shlomo: ok... so let's back up a minute

Rabbi Shlomo: we agree that millions of people die every year

Rabbi Shlomo: so obviously dying doesn't make the Mumbai Kedoshim [fallen heroes] unique

Rabbi Shlomo: what makes them unique is that they died while serving G-d.

All names, places, and identifying information have been changed or deleted in order to protect the privacy of the questioners. In order to preserve authenticity, the chat sessions have been posted with a minimum of editing. Please excuse typographical errors, missing punctuation, and/or grammatical mistakes which naturally occur in the course of informal chat sessions.


  • 1. The 2008 Mumbai attacks were a series of ten coordinated terrorist attacks across Mumbai, India's financial capital and its largest city. The terrorists killed at least 173 people and wounded at least 308. One of the locations targeted was Nariman House - the Chabad House of Mumbai. The Rabbi, his wife, and 4 guests were killed therein. May G-d avenge their blood.


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Philosophy » Pain and Suffering
Best of AskMoses » Philosophy

Plural form of Mitzvah. Commandments of G-d. Mitzvah also means a connection, for a Jew connects with G–d through fulfilling His commandments.
Chabad, an acronym for Wisdom, Knowledge, and Understanding, is the name of a Chassidic Group founded in the 1770s. Two of the most fundamental teachings of Chabad are the intellectual pursuit of understanding the divine and the willingness to help every Jew who has a spiritual or material need.
A Chassidic master. A saintly person who inspires followers to increase their spiritual awareness.
One who follows the teachings of the Chassidic group which was formerly based in the Belarus village of Lubavitch. Today, the movement is based in Brooklyn, New York with branches worldwide. The Lubavitch movement is also widely known as "Chabad."
"The Name." Out of respect, we do not explicitly mention G-d's name, unless in the course of prayer. Instead, "Hashem" is substituted.
The Book of Psalms. One of the 24 books of the Bible. Compiled by King David; mostly comprised of poetic praise for G-d. A large part of our prayers are culled from this book.
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.