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Section: Tanach   Category: Iyov
Part 12 Perek 15: The New Round Of Debate - Some Answers About The Good Life of Reshaim

A second round of debating begins, and each friend now addresses Iyov's new question about the tranquility of the wicked. Eliphaz expresses his opinion that the success of rasha is not true success. On a superficial level, one observes a rasha enjoying life, and accumulating wealth, power, and possessions. However, one cannot observe a rasha's inner thoughts, which are plagued by fear and worry. In fact, a rasha's inner emotions are so tormented that it's as if he is actually suffering from poverty, affliction, and all the evils of the world. He is unable to rejoice at all from his wealth because he's always worried, angry, and frightened. Hashem sends him these thoughts and fears as a punishment for his sins. The essence of true success is menuchas hanefesh and simchas halev. This message referred to Iyov who said earlier, "For what I feared has befallen me, and what I dreaded is coming on me." The constant fear that plagued Iyov was a sign of his end, that eventually his children and all his possessions were destroyed.

Eliphaz then again addresses Iyov's denial of bechira. He asserts that all men of understanding have an inner feeling that they are free to choose their actions, and there is no outer power that forces them to choose between bad and good. Consequently, since a person has free choice, he is liable for punishment if he sins. No man completely escapes from sin, and Hashem punishes man with temporary punishment to save his eternal soul. This was a repetition of what he answered previously with an addition of one vital point. Previously, Eliphaz did not explain that physical punishment saves man from the destruction of the soul, but only mentioned that suffering befalls man to save him from premature death. Iyov had argued on this point that there was no difference if he died immediately or later, because he was unable to serve Hashem amidst such intense physical suffering. Eliphaz now elaborated that reward exists for the soul, and the life of the soul is everlasting life. Suffering, and even death is preferable to everlasting destruction of the soul.

"For your sin teaches your mouth. You should have chosen the tongue of the crafty." Eliphaz, who previously had ascribed to Iyov a slight sin of not serving Hashem from ahava as the reason for his punishment, now accuses him of being a rasha gamur. Iyov had denied all the foundations of emunah, and furthermore his ideas were well thought out and clear, and did not seem to merely be a reaction to his suffering.

"Did you listen to the counsel of Hashem and increase wisdom to yourself?" Eliphaz also mocks Iyov's foolishness in his complaints regarding the creation of man. Eliphaz derides Iyov for acting as if he was the first man who was created in the world. Should Iyov be the one to tell Hashem how and if he should be born? Haven't countless generations already passed who experienced life, rejoiced in their service, and thanked Hashem for His kindness? Doesn't all of nature testify to Hashem's chochmah? It is absurd that one man should now stand and complain on the creation of man, as if he's wiser than all the past generations, and of Hashem who created all. Isn't it the greatest folly to think that Hashem should regret His actions and change all of teva according to Iyov's eitzah?

"Surely you will eradicate fear and increase speech before Hashem."

Eliphaz berates Iyov for claiming that Hashem is not mashgiach on man's actions, that man has no free choice, and there is no reward and punishment. These ideas will lead man to lose all fear of Hashem. Eliphaz strongly chastises Iyov for speaking this way before Hashem. Eliphaz also emphasized again that he received his words through nevuah. Iyov had previously scoffed at Eliphaz's claim of nevuah since he reasoned that as the one afflicted, the nevuah should have appeared to him.


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