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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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Nelly December 4, 2016

I can't accept this, my wonderful, kind and gentle Dad was taken away from us before his time. Why did God give him cancer and make him suffer! He suffered so much during his life, losing his father in his 20s/several siblings before and after that. People always took advantage of his kind heart and then he had to suffer in death too and die young. Then my Uncle died soon after that. If there is a God he is very very cruel indeed and seems to hate my family, only bad things come our way. Reply

Nadeem Zafar Manchester, UK August 13, 2016

My mother died a fortnight ago at the age of 59. She had suffered with heart problems since she was a little girl. Every day I ask myself "why was she taken from me and from my family when she was the heart and soul of the family?" Truth is, I have realised after 42 years on the planet myself that we all have a finite period of time on this planet. Nothing we do or don't do is ever going to change that. I can't imagine the pain that my mother was in just before she passed just two weeks ago but I know that her pain is now over. After a lifetime of struggle through no fault of her own she is finally free. Even though her life was so difficult she always managed to handle everything she went through with a smile on her face. I don't think I ever heard her complain. She was one of the bravest people I have ever known and the world is a richer place for having had her in it. I was lucky - I had my mother in my life for 42 wonderful years. I count myself fortunate for that if nothing else. Reply

Amiram Kupfer canada August 8, 2016

If God created dark then why he sends souls to make it not dark?
By the way, this is nice story. Reply

Anonymous August 5, 2016

Beautifully written. I feel much better now that I just read this. Reply

Anonymous June 29, 2016

I just lost my cousin/brother We grew up together since a baby we are both 17 and we are about to turn 18 (his birthday just passed a couple days ago), he recently has passed away in A car crash, He just graduated high school earlier than anyone and got accepted to 3 universities. He had big dreams and never liked drama he was an Insparation to all his family and friends, he always had a smile on his face and making others smile. I just sit and mourn him and get mad and ask God why do you have to take him so young, he had a whole life ahead of him. I visit his grave everyday and stay there till they close the cemetery and tell him I will never leave your side I would never know why he died so young but after reading this story it made me feel better and put a smile to my face Thank you :)

Rest in Paradise Jonny I'll see you once I'm up there Reply

Anonymous May 30, 2016

The story made me cry. I never cry. Thank you. Reply

shimon usa March 31, 2016

first we need to understand that the natural place of the soul
is in the heavens and it is always drawn to it. that's why we sleep so part of our soul goes up at night to regenerate and comes back in the morning.also a soul's journey does not start and end with this life time, rather it stretches over multiple reincarnations . so when u see very young kids die .usually it has nothing to do with the kid ,but it has to do with the parents that have to go through the sorrow of losing a kid because of past life actions. in other cases the soul has a little correction to do here there fore it comes for a short time and leaves after completing the other cases after the age of 13 usually its a correction for previous life transgressions.rememeber, God does not leave any open accounts. everything is settled at the end; measure for measure . Reply

Anonymous Saharanpur March 12, 2016

I have lost my elder sister. She was just of 28 years and was suffering with cancer. God gave her lot of pain what she never deserve. Because she was very tender heart lady.I don't think God need her in heaven more than her little baby. These things are not acceptable. And after that, my life has been changed totally. Reply

Anonymous December 1, 2015

Passed away in bed but I imagine he suffered.. RIP Reply

Tina US July 11, 2015

A 16 year old boy passed away as a result of a car accident a week ago. He was the most beautiful soul, with smiles, vitality, energy, heart! Why, why was he taken from his Parents, from his Friends, from his Community, from US? Why did this happen to leave us so broken? Reply

Suzi Orlando July 1, 2015

Dear Rasha, my heart goes out to you. I have lost too many, some like parents although it is the natural way, it doesn't lessen the pain. Others I have lost all too soon, as you have, and are always in my heart. You wrote so beautifully and I feel what you feel, just by your words. Everyone I lose does diminish my conscious life exponentially. At times it feels like I should be gone from all this loss. Fortunately, those lost loved ones actually in another way have enriched our lives so, the thought of them and their memories, can expand our life and broaden our views, even with the pain of loss. I would not give up any sadness if it meant to miss one second of the joy I have spent with them. I wish you healing Rasha. Reply

Rasha June 30, 2015

Amazing story..could strongly touch my heart!
We lose them..But should keep in mind that they will definitely be in a better place..we miss them but they know it..they feel and they still love one should worry..
Good bye lovely left me with 24 years of memories.. I do know that you are fine more cancer sweetheart in heaven..
I may get older and older,, and you will always be my little NiNo with the charming smile..
Goodbye lovely NiNo..will always love you.. Reply

Anonymous June 28, 2015

Everyone you meet, is fighting a battle. Some are heard louder than others. But they are battles that scar us allthe same. Be kind, Be loving, Be understanding. Always. Reply

Anonymous March 4, 2015

"Let me ask you something,
in a garden, Which flowers do you pick?"
"The most beautiful ones."
"Exactly." Reply

SUZI Orlando 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. Reply

pinchas goldstein cleveland December 18, 2014

thank you! Reply

Darlene Brooklyn, NY 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? Reply

briar November 28, 2014

Thank you so much for this Reply

Rachel. September 15, 2014

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 Reply

suzi orlando 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, Reply