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Apr. 1, 2020 - 7 Nisan 5780

5717/1957 - Rav Moshe Wallach - founder of Shaarei Tzedek Hospital

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Section: Tanach   Category: Iyov
Iyov Part 9 Perek 10-11: Free Will and Donkey Smarts

In Perek Yud, Iyov begins a new complaint to Hashem. Iyov complains that Hashem obviously knows all events before they happen, and if so, this knowledge precludes free choice on the part of man. Iyov complains that if he did sin, it was not out of free choice, since he was "forced" to do so by Hashem's prior knowledge, so why should Hashem punish him? Furthermore, why did Hashem even allow him to be born and live, if He knew that he would succumb to sin?

The third friend of Iyov, Tzophar the Naamati, now joins in the debate and is the one to answer Iyov. Unlike Iyov's first two friends who claimed that a tzaddik is never truly destroyed, Tzophar denies this entirely. Tzophar asserts that despite Hashem's hashgacha over His creations, a tzaddik can be destroyed, and this is not considered a perversion of justice. This is because human beings are limited by their material nature, and can only sense the superficial meaning of events through their senses. The physical nature of a human being makes it impossible for him to truly perceive a clear knowledge of events.

A human being judges a person's tziddkus according to what he perceives with his senses. If he sees that a person does good deeds and refrains from evil, he concludes that he's a tzaddik. However, he is unable to perceive a man for what he is in essence; he is only able to sense how he appears in his superficial body. It's possible that in essence, this man is actually a rasha, since the body is the covering which surrounds the essence of the person himself, which is the nefesh. A person's senses are unable to perceive the nefesh, and therefore he is incapable of judging whether a person is a tzaddik or rasha. A person could be a tzaddik according to the behavior of his body, but in his inner nefesh, he's a rasha. A person is required to perfect his soul according to his individual capabilities, and if he does not he is considered a sinner and liable for punishment. Therefore, man cannot complain that a tzaddik is being afflicted unjustly, since he is incapable of judging who is truly a tzaddik

In addition, it's possible that the chitzonus of a man is destroyed, but his essence, which is his inner nefesh is happy and in a state of completion. The superficial pain that a man's senses feel is not proof that the nefesh itself is in pain. The suffering of this world is not true suffering, and the loss of the body is not a true loss. This is because the nefesh is purified through the suffering of this world. The nefesh will then return to its source and receive reward in the everlasting world. The suffering the body endures in the lower world will be good for the nefesh in the world of neshamos. 

Tzophar's answer to Iyov's paradox about free will is that Hashem's knowledge is beyond our comprehension. Hashem's knowledge does not force future events, and man retains bechira and the possibility of change. However, man, who is limited by his earthly sechel and chochmah cannot imagine this. "Can you discover the mystery of Hashem, can you find out the limit of Shakkai?"

One might ask why Hashem created man without endowing him with the capability of understanding matters in their essence, in order that he should not be confused by doubts. Tzophar answers that this is similar to one who asks why Hashem didn't give sechel to a donkey so it would be smart like a man? A donkey with a man's intelligence would not a donkey. Hashem wanted the essence of man to include that his sechel is connected to chomer, and if not, he would not be a man.


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