Everyone celebrates when rhapsodic love becomes a joyous wedding, but what of a wedding based on lust? And when that lust isn’t mutual, but only one-sided (what if the lust, chas v’shalom, crosses the line to rape?) When that already-inadequate flame dies or, even worse, flips to contempt?
We celebrate a birth created in love, but what of the baby conceived only in lust or in hate? What when an unloved child becomes a dangerous sociopath (not a guaranteed outcome, but all too common a story)? Even a monstrous criminal was once a tiny baby, but what if they must be put to death? Where is God in all this?
Eyn Od Milvado, there is nothing that isn’t God, that isn’t, in it’s deepest nature, God. And when we assume, as taught by the Ramchal (Derech Hashem 1:2) that the pre-visioned, end-purpose of Creation, from the formation of the universe all the way to our individual deeds and thoughts, is L’Hativ MiTuvo, Yitbarach Sh’mo, L’Zulato, to benefit from His Inifinte Good a being other than Himself, it becomes one of our most important challenges to find that goodness in everything that occurs. Even when that netzuzt, spark of goodness, seems so tiny, almost invisible/non-existent, so hidden, how do we decipher the message embedded in it, teaching us how to continue the search, to eventually find that nugget of pure good?
Before proceeding, it’s important to empahsize that Torah of this incredible depth and perception isn’t meant to be taken literally. By no stretch of the imagination am I or authentic Jewish Tradition advocating, approving or even accepting either rape or aggressive wars. I’ll explain as we go.
The Ishbitzer refers us to the opening of Parshat Ki Tetze, |When you go out to war”. As he strings together the early topics into a chain of events, based on just a very few pasukim, verses, the subject goes from joining a war, becoming so attracted to a female captive who catches his eye (to the point of convincing himself that she is his beshart, his truly destined mate, and that taking her for a wife is practically mandated, no longer optional), resisting the temptation by making her appear unattractive in his eyes, starting a family with complete faith it will become a bayit ne’eman b’Yisrael, a holy family participating in Israel’s ultimate destiny and responsibility of revealing God’s Light and Holiness to the world, but finding that his love isn’t so strong afterall, that he favors children from a different wife, leading that unloved son to become a Ben Sorer U’Moreh, a parents’ worst nightmare of a sociopath whose end is to put to death by a court (remember that capitol punishment in Judaism was/is so rare (The State of Israel has executed only one person in all it’s existence, Adolf Eichman) that a Bet Din, court who administers the death penalty once in seven or seventy years was considered a blood-thirst court, and in reality it was probably never actually carried out.) the court was commanded to bury the body almost immediately and to not let it hang from a tree (as was a typical warning in medeival courts) overnight because of the inherent dignity of a human being, no matter how horrible its actions in life.
So, we see that when we take God’s essense, love, and degrade it and degrade it and degrade it further, leading to terrible consequences for all involved, the initial involvement of The Creator predicates at least a netzutz, a holy spark of good and purity that will endure.
We’re commanded, even in the darkest night, to find that spark of light and to incorporate it in ourselves and thus to restore it to the Pure Light Of The World.