Two devastating natural catastrophes have struck in recent weeks. First, Cyclone Nargis smashed into the nation of Myanmar (Burma). So far, 78,000 have been confirmed dead, tens of thousands more are still missing, and many thousands more are in imminent mortal danger because of the lack of food and medical supplies in the affected region. Ten days later, a major earthquake hit China's Sichuan province. More than 30,000 are confirmed dead, and the Chinese government is warning that the death toll could soar to 50,000.

Around the office, co-workers have been asking me why I'm staying silent on these major news stories. The truth is that I have nothing to say about these events per se. What lesson is there to be derived from tragedies of such epic proportions? Can I cheapen such mammoth human suffering by using it as a springboard for my personal soapbox? I'd rather remain silent. I have no idea why G‑d brings such suffering to innocent people. I have no lesson to learn from it. I only pray for the victims of these tragedies, and ask G‑d to hastily bring the day when He will bring a merciful end to all this suffering.

(For a Jewish perspective on this issue, see Reaction to Tragedy which I penned following the Virginia Tech Massacre.)