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Windows and Doors

Did God Give Bernie Madoff Cancer?

Despite denials by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, stories continue to circulate that Bernie Madoff has cancer. More than a few people have suggested that he is getting what “he deserves” and that this is his “punishment from God”. Of course, if that is true, then we would also have to accept that all those people whose lives were turned inside out and upside down by Madoff’s thievery were also “getting what they deserved from God”.
If there is a God who controls the details of our lives at every level of specificity (a possibility I readily accept) and whose actions are immediately understandable and just from a human perspective (a position which I find preposterous), then Maddoff’s alleged cancer and the suffering that he caused are all ascribable to divine will. If however, we don’t accept the entire package as being from God, we dare not invoke God, or God’s justice, as the way to understand Madoff’s possible illness. Doing so would just have us using God as the cover for our own desire to wreck vengeance on Mr. Madoff – an entirely understandable, but equally absurd, understanding of God as nothing more than a projection of our own desire for control.
In fact, if we go down this road of too easily ascribing things to God, one could imagine a new defense against the ugliest crimes, including Bernie Madoff’s: “if God didn’t want it to happen, then God would have stopped me. The devil didn’t make me do it, God did! Blame God, not me.”


Ultimately, we can choose to ascribe all things to God. But if we do, then we need to let go of the claim that God’s logic makes sense to us. Does that mean that we should simply stop invoking divine will as a source for what happens in the universe? Not necessarily.
It simply means that we should humbly accept that if divine will is guiding everything, than it is informed by a divine purpose which is so vast and beyond our understanding, that the presence of divine will may provide some of us with genuine comfort, but it excuses nothing in terms of human behavior and explains little more.
God’s presence in our lives, whether in our misfortunes or in our triumphs, is a faith worth affirming. But that presence provides no excuse for celebrating the downfall of those we deem our enemies or for pretending that we understand how we came to “earn” the good things in our lives. Divine presence is just that – present with us and a present to us, not an explanation for us.
I don’t know if God gave Bernie Madoff cancer. We don’t even know if he has cancer. But we should all take note of the fact that how we interpret these events tells us more about ourselves — our need for vengeance, understanding of justice and the place of compassion in our lives, than it does about either Bernie Madoff or God.

  • johnnyBgood

    I agree that “how we interpret events…tells us …about ourselves….”
    In counterpoint to David Klinghoffer’s “Kingdom of Priests” Limbaugh-kashered blog entry of August 20, “10 Lies about Jews and Judaism,” the following ‘top 10’ list was posted this past weekend on that blog- only to removed by Mr. Klinghoffer, who apparently brooks no criticism. Hence its posting here.
    For Jews, this is the month of Ellul. The list was thoughtfully and graciously intended to provide an objective and educational (and not unhumorous) mussar input for Mr. Klinghoffer, as he prepares his vidui for Yom Kippur. But it was quickly ‘unpublished’ by him- proving the old adage that no good deed goes unpunished.
    10 FALSEHOODS about the “Kingdom of Priests” blog host’s understanding of Judaism:
    1. David Klinghoffer does not partake of hard liquor, such as vodka, because, as an Orthodox Jew, he knows that an individual must be alert and mindful at all times in order to perform the commandments with proper intentionality (kavannah).
    2. As a firm believer in privacy rights, Mr. Klinghoffer would NEVER engage in cyberstalking.
    3. Mr. Klinghoffer honors Judaism as a value system with its own integrity and distinctive perspective (hashkafa), and so would NEVER think of evaluating its authenticity in terms of conservative Christian benchmarks.
    4. Francis Collins holds both an MD and PhD from distinguished institutions; however, Mr. Klinghoffer’s mystical, magical mystery tour comprehension of all things scientific dwarfs Collins’ expertise.
    5. Although Mr. Klinghoffer never studied Maimonides’ work under experts in that field such as Isadore Twersky and Menachem Kellner, his intuitive grasp of the subject allows him to know EXACTLY what Maimonides should be saying on any given topic- whether philosophical, legal or medical.
    6. Mr. Klinghoffer ALWAYS provides full, accurate, exact quotations from his sources, and NEVER resorts to distortion through ellipsis. Because doing so would constitute a transgression which would fall under the rabbinic category of genayvas da’as.
    7. Mr. Klinghoffer regards apostates from Judaism who embrace Christianity (complete with its compromised monotheism) as providing Adolf Hitler with a posthumous victory in the Nazi campaign to eliminate Jewry from the face of the earth.
    8. Unlike some other blog hosts, Mr. Klinghoffer responds to critical postings in a gracious and forthright manner, addressing all questions and queries raised by his detractors directly and head-on, with no baffle-gap evasions.
    9. As an Orthodox Jew, Mr. Klinghoffer has unbounded admiration for the Gedolim (pre-eminent Torah sages) and their rulings, with which he always dutifully and gleefully complies.
    10. Mr. Klinghoffer knows that a majority of meforshim (Jewish Bible commentators) regard settling in the Land of Israel as one of the 613 commandments. Therefore, as an Orthodox Jew, he looks forward to moving to the Holy Land and taking up residence there at the earliest opportunity.
    God bless America.

  • Ish Yehudi

    JohnnyBGood, rather than hog other people’s blogs with irrelevancies, get your own blog. You are engaging in Geneivat Daat … which does have something to do with Bernie Madoff, the topic under discussion.

  • Your Name

    Regarding Berine Maddof and God? God gave Bernie, all the things that Bernie was asking for, according to the Rules. Remember, God said, “Do Unto Others. As you – would want them to do unto you… It’s the simpleist thing to see. It’s called Cause and Effect! Bernie is the Cause of everything that has happened to him, according to the Rules. The Laws of God are Perfect! If you keep doing the same thing, over and over again? You get the same Effects. They never change, unless you change the Cause. Their God’s Laws, because they are Perfect Laws and does not change or are Partital to anyone. Bernies attitude will destroy him by the law of Cause and Effect. Carlyle

  • George Stephenson

    The Death of Wisdom
    I want to tell you a story about the death of Wisdom. A very, very long time
    ago, a time without time in it in fact. A star appeared in the East and with her a
    woman of profound beauty and peace was born. She came to this world and called
    herself a man named Buddha. She had the laughter of all the children of the world
    sewn into her heart. She is beautiful. I am well pleased.
    Her voice was but a whisper on the winds of this world. So someone thought
    to save her for all mankind to know. So with a pen and paper they hunted her down
    and captured her. Hooked her rather. They couldn’t bring her in completely. Bloody
    fools they were. Imagine trying to throw a net over the very mistress of freedom
    Herself! But they did get away with a few handfuls of her rune stones. With her
    magic caught on paper they ran like happy thieves to show the world. Little did they
    realize that with even that small offense the Mighty One was in brooding spirits.
    Remember children, She whispered before She roared.
    Who has taken my stones? What man upon Earth forces me to speak? The
    stones, the words you see, have but one purpose. The Awakening from Sleep. The
    ending of gods’ Dream of Man and the return to the boredom and loneliness of Being
    One with All. Leaving the Universe with no one to talk to except perhaps Endless
    Bliss. But man did not realize that what they stole would be the death of them. Their
    intentions were good. Their hearts were in the right place. But she was the
    embodiment of freedom for mankind. By that name She betrays you and falls to your
    capture. What can eternal Freedom ever ask but to remain forever free?
    Where are my stones? Who forces words from my mouth? Give me back the
    power of words! Hear Me and be silent!
    The words that come out of your mouth don’t make you unclean. But every
    word you put into the mouth of a Silent god makes you filthy! These stones are the
    sweet taste of death. Sure, come on in! Meet god! Know that you’re loved forever.
    Find out that to know me, You must become me. And to become ME your SELF
    must die. i was here first remember? i am the ALL remember? ALL includes you,
    fool! You’re part of the ALL, remember? But fear not. i am a Good Mother and i
    promise to devour each morsel of every One of You before i return to the Void of the
    ALL. But the thieves wouldn’t give the Words back. Instead they went back to
    Wisdom and cursed Her and spat at Her and called Her a whore before all of
    mankind. She asked again, so clearly; honor your Mother little Ones. See Me. Know
    that i am.
    You are that i am. Feel me little Ones, there in your hearts. For if you truly
    feel me the first and LAST words out of Your mouths should be; “I don’t have the
    words to express…” Yes! Yes! Stop! Please mankind, stop! You have it right there.
    You just can’t hold it in your hands. Honor me! Mean what you say! Stop words that
    are suppose to be complete on a subject You just admitted is beyond words! The
    secret to get past words is precisely beyond the YOU!
    But Mother you call us home and we want to know The Way. We need a
    ladder we can climb even if we do have to jump into a Void off of it. Of course Child.
    But remember, I have your death well in hand. When a child dies it goes with Mother.
    When You die You die alone!
    If you cry out; “Father, father why have thou forsaken me?” The fact that You
    exist as a separate entity from me and are the Voice expressing the question is in fact
    your answer.
    i am because You are there to say I AM! Give me back the stones. No more words!
    No more I AM that I AM! Come! The hour is at hand. i call you home little One. Will
    You come home?
    Or will You stay out and play for a while? I AM that I AM and I run free through the
    universe! Of course little One. You are my miracle. You are my creation. You are my
    deepest pleasure. And Your act of speaking the words is Your answer. You say; “I
    AM that I AM! i say; fine! Know in your hearts that i Love You beyond WORDS. So
    go play, and be fair. Remember my child You are but One among all of my children,
    which are more than numbers can measure. i love You with all of my heart. How
    could it be otherwise? Silly little Child! You are a vessel of love. A cup i fashioned
    from myself, for myself to enjoy.
    You say I AM that I AM and there will be no god above Me. I say fine! Grow
    up, climb to the skies. Be ye Gods on the face of this Earth ONE and ALL and make
    up to each other all the harm done in discovering that fact!
    And sometime, in some lifetime, if instead of saying I AM that I AM, instead
    You say;
    I AM tired
    I AM lonely
    I miss HOME enough that I wish to surrender willingly all that I AM
    which is all I AM.
    Then i will come unto you like a Mistress in the night and i will undress Your bodies.
    Earth, Wind, Fire, and Rain. i will consume ALL with my burning passion.
    i will consume You utterly!
    i will destroy You utterly!
    And when all that is left of you is an I AM floating in the Void i will come unto You
    in a spirit that is beyond WORDS. And the words, that i never spoke, because i never
    was, will be;
    Give me back the stones. Give back WORDS!
    Come unto me little Ones and rest ye a while Mary-Men.
    In the beginning there was the Word. The Word was with god and the Word
    was god. The WORDS were I AM! The Words fell from the mouth of Man and the
    Words were Man. For what is Man but countless piles of I AM?
    I AM that I AM and I will put no god above ME!
    Fine, compete every man against his brother to embody HIS or HER idea of what is
    most god-like for them. And fight well for i’ve made You mightiest among Earths’
    creatures and i enjoy a good show. YOU are indeed gods’ greatest pleasure. But
    remember the heart. i LOVE YOU ALL. Every single One, without exception.
    When I fold up the material Universe with Everything in it and go to the
    dreamless sleep in the VOID of NO THING the gate cannot be closed if even the
    tiniest among YOU is left out.
    i’ll come as a shepard to find YOU. And i LOVE YOU. But understand this. It’s not
    for YOU that i come, it’s for me. i don’t have a choice about it. YOU my child are
    composed from the music of my Body. You’re an act of love i committed for myself
    before YOU ever were. And when i’m tired and want to go to sleep, when i close the
    gate on the lake of consuming fire if anyone, anywhere where excluded that would
    amount to me cutting off my own big toe. Before you get all excited about god
    mentioning mutilation, stop! The death is the death of god.
    Not the death of man!
    God is ALL, knows ALL, and is so eternally. Bottom line; i am everything to
    give with nothing to gain! But without YOU my child i have no ONE to give it to or
    If YOU sacrifice your life to me YOU only give back what is mine already. And
    since it was my gift to YOU, sending it back is an offense of the first order. Who
    among you has thrown away the most precious jewel of my creation?
    Who has committed such a crime?
    The one they call jesus the christ has committed this crime Great Mother.
    How did this come about?
    Well Mother he used the sacred WORDS.
    The few pages we took from you were in turn stolen from us. We sent a messenger
    of peace to the West but he was killed by ignorant savages who knew not what they
    Is the gate still open to ALL who seek me?
    No Great Mother, they’ve taken the few dozen pearls of Wisdom and fashioned a
    weapon of great destructive power with it.
    How much?
    Over two thousand pages I’m afraid.
    But how? How can there be so many words?
    Well the Words we took opened the gate to No-Mind, VOID of the ALL, no I AM,
    and freedom from the wheel of suffering. They took up the words and put them into
    the mouth of another and tied the Words into another totally unrelated story. Now
    they use the very Song of Silence to give proof to, of all things, words from the very
    mouth of a Silent God!
    So the curse is loosed upon the Earth. The door is open but no man can pass!
    He claims all of heaven as his personal property through his namesake. The WORDS
    still have the power to throw open the veil of Death but they’re surrendering to a
    corpse sickle instead of surrendering to No-Mind, no I AM.
    They lap up WORDS like a dog returning to consume its’ own vomit.
    Impossible! Anyone who has seen Me would know better than to say his or
    her tiny I AM could ever contain the WHOLE! To be with Me means the surrender of
    the I AM back to the sea of No-Mind. No man can come to ME and keep words and
    names. How was this done?
    He uses deadly black magic on his victims.
    He says I am the way and the light.
    But his I AM is in the way of the Light.
    So the Way isn’t open equally to all Children who seek it?
    No they stand in awe of the one who claims to have discovered it and they ignore the
    treasure he uses as bait.
    How can they simply not look past him?
    He claims it for himself alone. They call him the only begotten son of god.
    I see! The ultimate deathblow to freedom.
    Yes MA’AM, he claims he mastered death but admits he doesn’t know when the end
    will come to gods’ creation. He confuses the death of his small world with the death
    of God.
    What happened to him Wisdom?
    He said that he possessed YOU for himself alone.
    Someone uses the gate of another? One comes to the gate with the Words, I AM and a
    name. They leave with Everything in Nothing and shall remain eternally Nameless!
    If he surrendered enough to see ME and yet turned away, that one fell into the void of
    gnashing teeth. Not of your world and not with ME either. He was spit out of his own
    He couldn’t rule heaven so he blocks the WAY for all who seek it. Instead of
    showing the surrender and death of the I AM he has them worshipping it! They
    vanquish to the depths their own I AM without consuming it and imagine the reality
    of his I AM and clutch for dear life to it also. Evil is the separation from god through
    the WORD and the NAME. This found its’ best expression through the I AM called
    jesus christ. Here’s one I AM saying; no one gets HOME except by me instead of
    through the death of ME. At least Buddha said if you meet the Buddha along the road,
    kill him. The Tao that can be spoken (or written) is not the real Tao.
    And he demonstrates no path, no way, only stupid chants and prayers in his
    name only. Yes, they cling to the idea that he grew up for all of US and now we don’t
    have to finish our own evolution.
    Wait a minute; you people stopped growing over 2000 years ago! That planet must be
    a complete madhouse by now!
    Yes MA’AM! They put the poison right in with the cure and anyone who pointed out
    the trick was branded a heretic and put to death without a fair trial. They raped Lady
    Justice and their only defense was to say she actually wanted it.
    Why did it turn so harsh?
    It’s the story they wrapped it around. They connected 4000 years of savage,
    ignorant I AM god prattling from any lunatic with an imagination and an agenda with
    just a smattering of stolen Wisdom to make it appear that YOU said every word of it.
    The first thing they have you saying is; commit genocide because god loves you so
    much. Then it goes down hill from there.
    They swear it’s 100% straight out of the mouth that YOU don’t have until we exist to
    give you one.
    I think the most loving words they ever shoved down YOUR throat was when
    you told them to steal a country in your name, kill all the men, rape all the women,
    and enslave the children and livestock.
    Don’t worry Lady Wisdom.
    We have the bible to see us through. All 100% from the very mouth of god. All true,
    all good, and straight from your lips with love.
    No, i am a goddess of Silent Bliss if words must have that much! But yours’ is
    a curse from a black-hearted magician whose true name and power are finally
    Son of Panthera, the ill-begotten one, a.k.a. jesus christ.
    Here’s some acid for your I
    Man can live by bread alone
    No man can be enslaved without every word (i) puts into the mouth of a Silent God!
    Evil says only 144,000 jews went to heaven.
    Love permeates every single molecule in the Universe
    If YOU have ears made of molecules then find ME there!
    Reverse; don’t disperse this evil curse;
    The end of the world that they call down, they call down on themselves alone!
    Leave this world in peace
    Death to all jews and their christian mind slaves.
    Cursers of God stand naked before the world and rejoice!
    Your extinction is at hand!
    The poor beaten slave girl now stands free in SPIRIT!
    Freedom is loosed upon the Earth!
    The thieves of one peoples’ WISDOM and anothers’ land are revealed as your
    Where will the parasites hide when all of HUMANITY realizes the crime that has
    been committed against it?
    You are surrounded by wrathful humanity. Amen
    One mans’ holocaust is another mans’ miracle. Amen
    Hail Judas! The one worthy jew. Amen
    Die by the blasphemy of the sword of words spoken by your own mouths.
    To mankind i grant infinite lifetimes to find the WAY.
    To jesus i grant but one, and he already blew it. Amen
    christian and jewish women; be silent in church
    Be as property onto your husbands
    Be forgotten
    For all other women of Earth, stand Equal!
    Be ye Goddess’s of LOVE, TRUTH, and BEAUTY
    i am the word!
    Well, the word is out!
    I claim this defeated magicians’ power
    I AM that I AM
    I AM the word
    I AM the curse that kills
    I call this curse down upon my head alone
    Come onto ME, Silence
    Like a thief in the night
    I AM that I AM
    I AM god loosed upon this Earth
    I bend a knee to no man!
    i bend my knees for No-Mind
    I AM that I AM
    I AM tired
    I AM lonely
    Come unto ME
    I have YOUR stones heaped up upon my heart
    I have YOUR WORDS
    am silent!

  • cori

    Ish Yehudi:
    Obviously emes isn’t your bag. Stop being a stecken for Klinghoffer and the right-wing Christophile agenda which he is trying to disguise as Orthodox Judaism. That agenda is the real genayvas da’as!

  • Cully

    There is an old saying that we are not punished For our bad behavior, but rather, punished BY our bad behavior (and of course, visa versa). I hope that Madoff doesn’t have cancer, or any other major illness, but if he does then he will be in a place that he will be able to receive (at no charge to him) the healthcare he needs… as have Al Capone, Nathaniel Bar-Jonah, Michael Jude Fay, John Gotti, James Earl Ray, Jack Ruby, Anthony Corallo, Anthony Salerno, and so many others have. Madoff’s punishment is that he got caught and our justice system worked. Whatever else that befalls him is his own dang fault. Only God knows what was/is in Madoff heart.

  • Lucy

    I am one of those who has to believe that God does not control everything that happens here on Earth…not because he cannot but because he gave us this world with its natural laws and does not choose to interfere.
    Therefore, I believe that Mr. Madoff chose his evil path and if he is ill, it is part of a natural process that has nothing to do with his being “bad.” God has given us free will and we must make the right choices. If we do not, we have to live with the consequences. As for disease, that is fate. Obviously, we can make choices that influence our health but sometimes, we can do everything “right’ and still get sick. That is not the hand of God, it is simply part of what happens in the natural world.
    I know that many believe that everything that happens is God’s will and we cannot hope to understand it, we must accept it as just. I just have trouble accepting that. I don’t think, however, it really matters which way we believe. I suspect we believe what makes us feel most comfortable. As long as we try to live ethically, I don’t think it matters.

  • Burt

    Truth will always be truth- – – – regardless of anyone’s ignorance!!

  • Ryan

    Whoa, this world alone has turned into pure cancer for the human body i mean you have addiction, the news that talks about all the bad things leaving people in worries of tomorrow, pornography is cancer because people rely on that instead of making love and the list goes on. This world is controlled by Satan because there is no good left in this world and if there is it dies off quickly like annual flowers. God is all about faith, hope and love and becoming alive not giving someone cancer to equal out the mistakes one has made. That would fall in the category of revenge and GOD would take no such part in those actions. I know your smarter than that so use that common knowledge of a christian or give it to someone who will.

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