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Section: Tanach   Category: Iyov
Part 22 Perek 32-37: Elihu Finally Speaks Up and Surprises The Older Folks With His Brilliance and Clarity

"Then Elihu, the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram became angry; he became angry with Iyov because he thought himself more righteous than Hashem. He became angry with his three friends because they found no answer and condemned Iyov."

The Malbim says that Hashem was with Elihu; he was an Ish Gibor, who understood the essence of matters. He expressed his opinion on the truth of the concepts under discussion, until he ultimately revealed the secret of Hashem.

Elihu's intellect was on a higher level than the others, but he originally refrained from talking since the three friends were older than him. However, when he saw that Iyov's friends were not answering him, he became angry and began to speak. He was angry at Iyov for doubting the mishpat of Hashem due to his faulty reasoning - that he was capable of perceiving the truth of Hashem's justice through his senses. He was also angry at Iyov's friends for condemning him despite his tziddkus.

Elihu answered four separate answers one after the other. He first revealed the reason he was silent until this point. Originally, he thought that the foundation of knowledge is what is perceived through the senses and experience. Therefore, he did not speak before his older friends, who were more knowledgeable and experienced. However, he had now concluded that true knowledge is instilled in the nefesh of each person, and is not attained through the senses and experience. Each person's nefesh is part of Hashem, and his chochmah is part of the chochmah of Elokim.

Elihu clarified to Iyov that Hashem only demands that each man serve Him according to his koach, which is limited. Iyov is mistaken in his notion that Hashem will punish him for matters that are not within a man's bechira. He also pointed out that Iyov's complaint that Hashem hides matters from mankind had no basis. Hashem had revealed Iyov's sins for which he was punished in a dream and chazon. Man's sins are revealed to him through dreams, as well as through sickness and suffering. These mediums are the ways through which Hashem speaks to man to return him from his wrongdoings, and allow him to continue to live.

In his second answer, Elihu answered Iyov's question of why Hashem doesn't punish the reshaim immediately and openly. Hashem, in His chochmah, punishes the reshaim secretly in order to leave it unclear if the punishment stems from Hashem, which will leave room for free choice.

The third answer related to Iyov's queries on reward and punishment. Why doesn't Hashem punish the murderers and bandits who live separately from society, and whose punishment would not harm free choice? Iyov "proved" from this point that everything is given over to the system, and that man does not receive reward or punishment, since he lacks free choice, and his actions are forced by the "system." Elihu clarified to Iyov that he and his friends erred in this concept. They conceived of Hashem as similar to a king who commands and warns his servants to serve him faithfully; he who serves the king faithfully and benefits him will receive reward, and he who harms the king will be punished. However, Hashem's reward and punishment are not separate from man's actions. Hashem is not affected by man's actions, their faithfulness or rebellion of Him does not change Him in the slightest. He is comparable to a doctor who informs a sick person that if he follows his instructions, his reward or punishment will be contingent on his actions. His compliance will lead to health and life, and his non-compliance will lead to sickness and death. Similarly, the sechar and onesh of the actions of man are intertwined with the deeds themselves. The man who refrains from his desires and yearnings will be healthy, and the man who chases after earthly pleasures will be sick and afflicted with pains. Similarly, a country which performs chessed, and mishpat for the oppressed, will live in peace and security, and a country which does not perform chessed and mishpat will generate an increase of murderers and bandits. In addition, Hashem implanted in the teva of man that he will aid others, and destroy evildoers from civilization. Mankind will be maintained in this manner since law-abiding citizens always outnumber the evildoers. The din and mishpat of reshaim who destroy civilization was given over to mankind, and therefore they themselves are responsible if evildoers proliferate.

In the fourth answer, Elihu revealed to Iyov the truth of what caused his suffering, which was an inyan of nisayon. He explained to him what was revealed in the beginning of the sefer about the prosecution of the Satan, and with this revelation, the debate was over.


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