Section: Tanach   Category: Iyov
Part 19 Perek 23-24: Iyov - Is Partial Self Interest In Serving Hashem A Capital Crime?

Iyov responds to Eliphaz, and rebuts his new shitah. Eliphaz had said that Hashem sends yissurim to the tzaddik in order to test him for his own ultimate benefit in Olam Haba. If tzaddikim were never afflicted with suffering, man would lack free choice, and would serve Hashem for superficial reasons. In fact, Iyov's friends hinted to him that his suffering was a result of that very reason - serving Hashem out of hope of reward and fear of punishment. Iyov, however, is not satisfied with this answer. He claims that it's illogical that Hashem would bring such severe suffering on someone for such a slight sin. If a man fulfills the mitzvos, and refrains from evil, does he deserve such severe suffering for momentarily thinking of attaining his own needs while serving Hashem?

Eliphaz applied his reasoning to reshaim as well - if they were always punished immediately in this world, man would lack bechira and would serve Hashem out of fear. Iyov argued that many evildoers live in the desert or on islands, which are far away from civilized society. Periodically, these reshaim emerge to murder people and plunder their possessions. Hashem could destroy these evildoers in the secrecy of their dwelling places, and this would not harm free choice, since it would not become public knowledge.

Iyov then returns to his old complaint -that Hashem is not mashgiach on man's life, and man is simply a victim of the mazalos. He cries bitterly that if his life had been taken, he would have been able to accept it with simcha. His suffering, however, is too much to bear, and it would be better if his existence would end.