I recently heard on the radio about a strange court case: a suit filed against G‑d in District Court. In this suit, Nebraska State Senator Ernie Chambers sought a permanent injunction to prevent the "death, destruction and terrorization" caused by G‑d. Interestingly, the case was thrown out ("dismissed with prejudice") due to the fact that "there can never be service effectuated on the named defendant," as Judge Marlon Polk wrote in his ruling. So he didn't throw the case out on its merits; he dismissed it on a technicality.

This raised a larger question for me. Can we realistically take G‑d to court?

Why not?

G‑d is the omnipotent One, the omniscient One. He is keenly aware of our unbelievable suffering. He sees the pain and devastation suffered by families who've lost loved ones prematurely; He sees people whose portfolios and retirement accounts have been wiped out; He see people who just a few months ago knew where they were going and what they were doing and are now jobless, and in some extreme cases homeless, and suffering unbearable uncertainty.

Quite frankly, as quacky as the Senator's case seems, he may have been onto something. Shouldn't G‑d be held accountable for all the suffering that He is aware of, and certainly is in the position to ameliorate? If the system is fair, it would seem that G‑d should be required to answer for His "missteps"—at least as they impact our lives!

But how do we work around the issue that the court raised: "A plaintiff must have access to the defendant for a case to proceed."

In his book The Trial of G‑d, Elie Weisel describes an episode that he witnessed as a teenager in the concentration camps. Three sages constituted a Beit Din (a Jewish judicial court), put G‑d on trial and found Him guilty. After issuing their guilty verdict they announced that it was time to go and pray the afternoon prayers.

I've always loved this story. To me it depicts a fundamental feature of our resilient tug-of-war relationship with G‑d. On the one hand we are taught that it is okay to question G‑d's ways, and we are encouraged to pray to Him that He do things differently—notwithstanding the fact that as G‑d, He certainly knows the best way to do things. We are to challenge the status quo and not be satisfied when we perceive injustice—for ourselves and certainly for others. On the other hand, when we are done questioning and challenging we "go and pray the afternoon prayers." Our frustration with how G‑d runs our world does not pose a conflict to our acceptance that He is the true and beneficent G‑d who is still deserving of our loyal faith.

(Not that we can compare to the generation that endured the Holocaust. Our frustrations and pains are monetary-related and personal tragedy rather than the mass murder of millions. Nevertheless, when it is our money or our job, our tzaros, that we are enduring, it is not so simple to swallow.)

So, I posit, we too may take G‑d to court; to cry, complain, emote, and express our feelings of rage, despair, fear and desperation. But when we are done, we need to follow it up with "and now let's pray the afternoon prayers." We need to follow our rant with something positive and productive; we need to reaffirm our faith in Him.

We can question Him, but if we want to have results, if we don't want the case thrown out on a technicality, an inability to find Him in order to "serve Him" the necessary documentation, we must then make Him able to be found. We must make Him truly omnipresent.

And if He is "able to be found" in our lives, He will abide by the court's findings. G‑d, no longer able to hide behind a technicality, will "own up" as it were and show us His greatness and reveal the hidden good in the challenges (or opportunities, as a wise colleague once told me) that He presents us.