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Why Does G-d Create Severely Handicapped Babies?

Why Does G-d Create Severely Handicapped Babies?

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Question:

A friend gave birth to a baby with a rare condition that has rendered her severely handicapped. She is not expected to live much past her tenth birthday. I just can't understand why G‑d does that. If life has a purpose, what is the purpose of such a short and sad life?

Answer:

Every birth is a gamble. A soul enters the world innocent and pure. But it may not stay that way. This world is a maze of diverging pathways, both good and evil, and the choice is ours which way we go. Once a soul enters a body, it is free and therefore vulnerable to corruption. While acts of good elevate the soul, every act of evil makes a blemish on the soul.

Some souls are so lofty, it simply isn't worth the gamble. These souls are too precious to risk being compromised by life in a body. They are too high to come down to this world. But the other option, not to be sent down at all, to never reach this world, would mean that we would miss out on meeting these holy and lofty souls and hearing their message.

So these souls do come down. But in order to be protected from the potential evils of an earthly existence, they are sent down into a body that will not compromise their holiness. They enter this world in a form that is above sin, above evil. From a purely physical perspective we call them "disabled" or "handicapped"; from the perspective of the soul they are protected. They will never sin. Their sojourn in this world is often brief, and in terms of this world may seem sad. But they have retained their purity. And they have fulfilled their mission.

These special souls remind us that true love doesn't need a reason. We often love others for what they give us -- we love our children because they are cute, smart, and high achievers; we love our spouse for the pleasure and contentment they give us; we love our parents because they care for us. This is love, but it is not pure.

When a child is born that will never achieve worldly success, cannot provide the usual source of pride for her parents, all extraneous reasons to love her fall away and what's left is the purest love that there can be. These children are lovable not because of what they do for you, and not because of what they will one day become, but simply because they are.

These pure souls remind us what love should be. Only such a pure and holy soul can elicit such a pure and holy emotion. We can only stand in awe of them, and the parents and friends who care for them. And we can only thank them all, for giving us a glimpse of what true love really means.

Aron Moss is rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to Chabad.org.
Artwork by Sarah Kranz.
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org's copyright policy.
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Dr Steven Wiener South Florida via chabadofparkland.com December 15, 2016

My personel feeling is that Rabbi Moss is reaching for the stars with his explanation.
His response to why such bad things happen to innocent children is unanswerable.
Only the child's parents can develope perspective after raising their handicapped child and loving and learning from their relationship. The child knows no other life and hopefully will know only love and kindness that otherwise may not have been provided to such a degree. Reply

Martha Rodriguez California January 8, 2013

Fifteen years ago G-d entrusted me with a beautiful daughter I named her: Rebecca Rose she was born with down syndrome, at first I did not know why me! I thought I was been punish for something I did, little that I knew that she would bring so much love and compassion into my heart, I admit that it has not been easy but all through the years G-d providence and favor has carry me through.
G-d makes everything beautiful in His own time, and He is making my heart more and more beautiful with His precious gift. Rebecca Rose is my hero. Reply

Abbie new zealand January 7, 2013

RE: Since I haven't died yet, and am 25 years old, I was wondering what the purpose is for someone who is born disabled and continues to suffer. Alisha Albemarle The impact/affect you create in others and what the people in your life (friends, family, cargivers etc....) learn with you being a part of their lives IS your purpose. IMO. I have a severely disabled son, he is fourteen now and totally dependant for all his cares/needs. He has taught me so so much about myself and alot about others also. Many times in the early years I would often think "why us" ...but gradually the question has become "why not us" for if it wasn't these challenges we face atm, it would be something else. You are stronger than you realise. Everyone faces suffering, just in diffferent and varying degrees. and my other often used reminder... "there iare many out there who are worse off than us" even those who appear to have not a care in the world in some ways are less fortunate. Reply

Angels Metairie, La October 2, 2012

In Response to Atheist and Proud I have a severely blind disabled child. His spirit has a purpose for being her. Does yours? You must live a very shallow empty life without hope if you do not believe in a greater power. Seems like you measure life only by perfection. If that is the case we all fall short and should not be here.... Reply

Atheist and Proud Private, US August 26, 2012

We can stop the suffering This is why I cannot believe in any type of god. We have scientific means of testing for these problems and aborting babies who were just not meant to be - or who will be born to mothers that used drugs or did other things to create fetal health problems.

There is no reason to allow preventable suffering. Your god is no more merciful than Hitler or Pol Pot. Take your god, please. Reply

Karen Joyce Chaya Fradle Kleinman Bell Riverside, CA, USA June 4, 2012

I am so crying right now in angst and love. This was a beautiful and imaginative answer to an unanswerable state of being human in an imperfect world. Since I don't believe, personally, that G-d created evil or bad things or that He wants bad things to happen, it is easier for me to accept that the human genetic component is just not perfect. I am so sad for children born with deformities and for all of us who got handicaps later in life (me included), but we just need to focus on what we do have rather than what we don't have so we can more than survive. We can thrive. With or without breasts from cancer, with or without legs/joints that work. With or without whatever. We can put some good and happiness into each day. For me, at this time, it is a short period of time because most of the day is either trying to sleep from my insomnia, separating medicines, testing my blood, and doing whatever exercise I am capable of doing along with scientifically figuring out my food intake. I love you all. So sorry about your pains. Reply

maria mayo Gloucester, Gloucestershire November 21, 2011

disablity i gave birth to my gorgeous little boy in march of 1998, he was born severly disabled, and is the light of my life, life is hard at times, but I would not change my life for anything in this world, my son cannot talk and shows me so much love in other ways. I was given my son for a reason, considering I was told I could not ever have children... Reply

Anonymous bangalore, india September 13, 2011

Though I am not completely handicapped but still I am not physically fit. I wear very powerful contact lenses of power -25 without which i can't see anything clear. So I feel the pain of being blind. But one thing I must say to all my friends, make your life an example. If one part of your life is dark, then try to make another part so bright,
which can brighter the dark side. With my will power and God Almighty's strength I have completed my master degree in first class and now preparing for phd. So keep faith in God and in yourself. Reply

Anonymous Leeds, UK December 16, 2010

Disability I was born with a severe disability, which is life long and causes me immense pain.

This however is normal to me. The advantage is that I can automatically identify suffering in others and assisting others makes me happy.

I do not see my life as tragic. I have purpose. Reply

Anonymous Columbia, SC December 7, 2010

Does GOD create severly handicapped babies? Consider the scripture from God's own words at Psalms 127:3 "... sons are an inheritance from the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is his reward". Ask yourself, would a loving God who created us in His image gave as a reward a handicapped baby as a reward? (Gen. 1: 26-28) Ask another question: Why are there handicapped persons in the world? The answer lies in Gods word the bible. This started in the very beginning with the first man & woman that disobeyed Gods law of obedience. If they had not disobeyed, we would have been perfect today and not have handicapped persons or anyone suffering with ailments. Reply

Beverly Kurtin Hurst, TX August 31, 2010

Disabled in later life I've become disabled over the last 15 years. When I'm out of the house, I must use a wheelchair as people panic when they see someone fall. But I have never asked "Why me?" I KNOW why! I smoked, ate improperly and broke every good health rule in the book. My question is WHY NOT ME?
I have zero self-pity; I do pity some folks, but not me. Following a massive stroke I was repeatedly told I'd never walk, talk or work again. "I" knew better and returned to work six months to the day I had the stroke.
Despite it all, I'm HAPPY most of the time because after I say modeh and shema in the morning I say out loud, "I want to have a great day and help others have one too."
Happiness is between the ears. My new doctor told me once, "You are one of the sickest people I know of, but you're also one of the happiest people I know." I'm heading to the hospital sometime this week for carotid artery surgery and the surgeon can't understand why I'm not worried. What? ME WORRY? Reply

Alisha Albemarle June 2, 2010

Living & Continuously Suffering with a Disability This article really touched me. I, myself, was actually born what I would consider severely disabled. Some of my struggles are a musculoskeletal disease, being confined to a wheelchair, having a weak body, having speech impediment, and having severe breathing issues, which greatly effect my quality of life. My whole life has been a blur of hospitals, doctors, operations, and the heartache of having to accept a completely different life than the average. I've wondered why God would allow some people to be disabled and be born to suffer for their whole lives while others get to live their life sometimes without much of a care in the world.

This was definitely very creative with the reasoning and just absolutely beautiful. I have such a hard time seeing the good in things, but this really actually had logic to it and touched my heart.

Since I haven't died yet, and am 25 years old, I was wondering what the purpose is for someone who is born disabled and continues to suffer. Reply

b. cooper meriden, c.t. May 21, 2010

this thread still hits me like a kick in the gut every time i read it....both my babies are right in front of me and i'm grateful for both of them even if they get the best of me sometimes... Reply

Anonymous county kilkenny, kilkenny. eire May 10, 2010

every day people!!!! Forgive them. most people will never have the blessings of having a handicapped person in their families or even have the chance to care for some one with such a disability.

g-d gives in one hand and takes in another for a reason. In our words the person with a disability has more from g-d than everyday people and us who have the fortune to care for such alike, and are given gifts beyond most's comprehension... unconditional love on both sides, what a blessing... they teach us so much about ourselves and how to receive love and affection without any catches... we're the fortunate people of the world. we must teach others this for their own sake. after all, what is normal? society is in ruins. Reply

Carol MacDonald Launceston, UK May 8, 2010

Severely Handicapped Babies My first grandchild - a little girl born 2 days ago has persistent chloaca- a very rare (1 in 40 000) condition. At 3 days old she has just had a colostomy and will probably have it for the rest of her life. The doctors say she will never be continent and never be able to have children herself. I'm finding it very, very hard to keep my faith and although your article makes sense in the reading, it does not bring me any comfort. Why, why, why. And why my daughter who was so excited about becoming a Mom. The beautiful cot stands empty, the pram chosen with such care lies folded up in the nursery, the mobile hangs silently above the empty cot because they are living at a hospital 150 miles away. When will they be able to come home - who knows? Reply

aL Masters Plano, TX January 9, 2010

My Fifty Years ... I have had a severe disability since I was five years old. Confined to a wheelchair since the age of ten. I have much experience on this subject from the receiving end perspective.

I was able to get a good education, and have a prosperous career for thirty years, but the abuse I have received from society, and continue to receive makes believing I have a "lofty soul" difficult at best.

The main point in my life that I have learned is that love for me is 'pure' love. Everything that makes people love each other, in most cases, has been taken from me. So, what is left for someone to love, and why? The only explanation that I can arrive at in my fifty years is that it is 'divine' in nature. It is pure love that makes my loved ones care for me.

But, sadly, love is not enough. In fact it is far down the list of human emotions. Does the girl I love love me? Yes. Will we ever be together? No. Love can't conquer earthly emotions and needs.

I love you, aLicia... Reply

Anonymous Brisbane, Qld/Australia June 10, 2009

It is About Love & Acceptance It is an assumption that severely handicapped children are not as precious as the rest of G-d's creation. This is surely a point the Rabbi was making.

They do not deserve to be judged badly or mistreated. They deserve what the rest of us deserve, including love, respect & acceptance for who they are.

I gave up a promising career to look after my handicapped child. It seemed to me that this was what was needed to ensure he was treated well and had the best opportunity to flourish & be happy. My plan worked! But I had to deal with many people who treated my son badly. I also had to deal with those who said it was ok that they did. No, it is NOT ok to treat others badly, or to do things to them that don't make sense or help. And, this is the big surprise to some, these children can actually achieve & give so much if they are given the nurturing & guidance they need. Everyone needs that.

I haven't even spoken of G-d's reasons. G-d is the true judge & we are to fit into His plan. Reply

Anonymous Camarillo, CA via chabadcamarillo.com June 8, 2009

Amish theory on sickness and compassion The Amish believe that God's purpose in giving us sick or disabled children is to teach us to be compassionate. Reply

Marcia Isaac New York, New York November 20, 2007

Handicapped babies I would appreciate an explanation of individuals who are not born with handicaps, but acquire them later in life, such as Parkinsons Disease, MS, Alzheimer's disease. How are these individuals different from babies who are born handicapped? Are they lofty souls, too. Is their misfortune based on their actions from this life or from previous lifetimes? Thank you. Reply

Benjamin Denver, Colo September 16, 2007

The child taught to feel itself as evil Please respond to anonymous.

How can a child who has been taught to think of itself as evil be a blessing to anyone?

How can such a child serve G-d?

How can G-d have deliberately subjected the child to such abuse that this opinion of itself is beaten into it?

And why must we constantly defend G-d, who is a "big boy" and well able to take care of himself?

Why can we not offer compassion and reprogramming to the abused child and to the parents of handicapped children, instead of preaching at them?

What if the abused child commits suicide? It obviously has been given a burden greater than it can bear. It happens.

Stop defending G-d and start defending the humans--they are the ones who need the help and compassion.

No baby deserves to be heated in a frying pan on the kitchen range, or raped!

It does not serve G-d to tell a 2-year-old-- "OH, it serves you right that you were burned; your soul is yukky! Shame on you!" Reply

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