In 2008 Wiesel recounted, to Jennifer Frazier of the Jewish Chronicle, that the trial of God took place in Auschwitz one night during World War II. Just three people put God on trial for oppressing the Jewish people. And when the trial was over, God was found guilty. And after the verdict, as the story goes, those who put God on trial said their prayers and went to bed.
There’s just one little difference to the oft-recounted version of the story and what Mr. Wiesel said in 2008. Rather than say that they found God guilty, he said that the prosecutors of God used the word “chayav” – which means “God owes us something.” Then they went to pray.
In this week’s Bible reading from Exodus 17:1-7, the Hebrew people, who had been given sweet water after it was first bitter, found at their latest stop that there was no water. And so they put God on trial for neglecting them. God owed them water.
God gave them water.