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Why Do Some of the Best Die Young?

Why Do Some of the Best Die Young?


Question of the Week:

I don't understand. Why do the good die young? I have lost a friend who was the best person I know. And I can think of plenty of not-so-good people who are living it up. Where is the justice? Can you make any sense of this upside down world?


Let me tell you a story.

Where is the justice?A great debate once raged in heaven. It was over a most beautiful and precious new soul that G‑d had created. The angels debated what should be done with this soul. One group of angels demanded that this soul remain in heaven. "She is too pure, too holy to face the ugliness of the lowly world," they said. "Who knows what will happen to her in a world of temptation and evil. This soul must stay with us here."

But the other group of angels said the exact opposite: "Indeed this soul glows with a unique divine glow. But for that very reason she must go down to earth. For imagine the beauty and goodness this soul can bring to a dark world. What good is there in keeping such a soul in heaven? Let her descend to earth and shine her light there."

And so they argued back and forth, each side unshakable in their view. Until it became clear that they could not resolve the issue themselves, they needed a Higher Authority. The case was brought before G‑d Almighty. The angels stated their arguments before the heavenly court. G‑d listened to the two opinions -the first group of angels arguing that this unspoiled soul is too holy to be plunged into the lowly world, the second countering that the world needs such souls more than anything.

And this was G‑d's response:

"Indeed, it is sad to send such an immaculate soul into such a dark world. But this is My will. I only created darkness so souls like this one can transform darkness into light. The whole purpose of creation was that the lowly world be refined by the good deeds of mortal human beings. This cannot be achieved by souls in heaven. It can only be achieved through souls in bodies. And so even this most perfect and pure soul must descend to earth."

The first group of angels, who requested for the soul to remain in heaven, were disappointed. They couldn't fathom how such a spiritual being could be expected to survive such a physical world. G‑d turned to them and said, "As for your request to keep this soul up here, I will grant it partially. Though she must leave us and go down to earth, it will not be long before she will return to us. Her sojourn on earth will be brief. Such a brilliant soul will not need long to fulfil her mission. Soon she will be free to come back to heaven."

Every day that she is on earth is a blessingG‑d then turned to the second group and asked, "Are you satisfied with that? Do you accept that this soul can only be on earth for a limited time?"

The angels replied, "Yes we do. Every day that she is on earth is a blessing."

When a loved one passes away, we feel we have lost something precious. We are left with a gaping hole in our heart, and we often wonder why they were taken away from us. But at the same time we can be grateful for the very fact that they were given to us in the first place. We are blessed to have such beautiful souls in our lives. The world is privileged to have such heavenly guests come down on earth. And even if it can only be for a short while, we will take whatever we can get.

In time all souls will be reunited. In the meantime, let us be thankful for the gift of every day

Aron Moss is rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to
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Discussion (75)
March 4, 2015
Why do the best die young?
"Let me ask you something,
in a garden, Which flowers do you pick?"
"The most beautiful ones."
December 31, 2014
Dear Rachel, and all of you who are suffering from losses of life, and being left behind, this is for you, and me. I loved the "Angels," story, and wish this could ease the pain. Thank you Chabad, for being here and helping us connect to one another. I pray G-D blesses us all, those left behind who suffer, and those who have departed for a better world of existence. Chabad makes life livable at times when I feel it isn't. I am not Orthodox, but I gain great wisdom, warmth, love, and connection, to my Jewish people, because of this forum. Thank you much more than these mere words can imply.
December 18, 2014
great article!!!
thank you!
pinchas goldstein
December 15, 2014
I have been looking all over at where this story originated from. I had found it shortly after my dad died in 2000 and never did find the authors name. Does anyone know who originally wrote this wonderful story?
Brooklyn, NY
November 28, 2014
gone too young
Thank you so much for this
September 15, 2014
gone too young
My sweet kind sister battled cancer for 5 heart wrenching years, then fell asleep on 21/08/2014 leaving 5 children from 19 to 6 yrs and her husband. She was diagnosed with myeloma at 36 yrs ( very rare) and fought for 5 years...outliving her prognosis by 3 years.
She touched the lives of many and her funeral was packed. She was a great mother, wife , daughter, sister, relative and friend.
I don't know why she had to go...we are suffering terribly. But I guess God needed her more.
We love you more pain, suffering and struggle. Rest you. Xxxxxxxx
August 29, 2014
We are in much pain when we lose a loved one, nothing consoles us. I liked the angel story, I only wish I were in their position and not mine, after a loss.

Ruth Houseman, I always love to read your words.

People with “golden souls,” who die when old, or not so young, is still a most painful departure. We know it is the natural way, but doesn't help.. It doesn’t dull my pain. We all deal with our own emotions, hearts, and souls. Loss of a pet cuts my heart deeply. Any suffering our departed experiences, whomever, or whatever, they are while they live, are family: when feeling this deeply, we have become family to them. The death of public people I have never met causes tears, and sometimes pain.

Religiously, we are supposed to grieve only one year: with this I have failed miserably, not intentionally, but I can’t force the heart, and soul, G-D gave me to obey.

Hearts do break, time does not heal. Time teaches us how to deal with the pain,
August 28, 2014
My Baby Brother
I lost my 36 year old brother less than a year ago, I just don't understand why Sammy died. He went to bed and never woke up. An autopsy was performed to find out the cause of death, results came back; it was "natural causes" I don't understand what is natural causes, no drugs, no alcohol, no medical condition at all. Doctors, clergy and other family supporters said "it was time for him to go" he life behind his wife of 4 years, and a 1 year old baby boy. They say only the good die young, it is not fair. I wish I can understand why my mother had to bury her son, (my brother) it should be the other way around.
Samar Hattar
New York
August 28, 2014
That's my Stefan
Lost my dearest husband 3 days ago. He was well-loved among his friends and family. Ever so positive in his outlook in life, always encouraging me to be a better person. He has helped me up so many times, guided our Kids and have loved us so much. His love was overflowing and unconditional. His death was so sudden, due to heart failure, but good that he did not stay in the ICU and suffer for long. His love will remain forever in our hearts, as long as we live.
Cebu City
August 13, 2014
So True.
This is a great story. When my son was born I felt as if something was going to take him. He had many problems in his short life but he was a good boy, son, father, uncle, and husband. When he passed away at the ripe old age of 24, he had been in the ICU for 33 days. 5 days before I gave him back to G-d. I said IF you are going to take him, Please stop the suffering, and just do it. It is in your hands. What I didn't know at the time, is that it had always been.
Life is short no matter the time. Enjoy what you are ,and who you are. Because it is not for us to decide, It has already been decided.
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