Revach L'Neshama RSS feed for - Section: TANACH Category:IYOV Copyright 2007, Revach L'Neshama en-US Revach L'Neshama Logo 144 31 Wed, 01 Dec 2021 03:00:00 +0000 240 Part 24 Perek 41-42: THE GRAND FINALE - Surprise Ending, Iyov Was The Real Tzaddik All Along... and His Friends....

"I knew that You can do everything, and no design is restrained from You."
At this point, Iyov admitted that the opinions he expressed during the debate were not his true opinions. In his heart, he never doubted hashgacha and the everlasting life of the soul. He was aware that Hashem's wisdom encompasses all and He is aware of every man's actions, but yet man retains free choice. He was cognizant that Hashem's justice is perfect and each man will be rewarded and punished for his deeds. However, he expressed his denial of these concepts in order to test and investigate, and reach the truth through iyun and sechel.

"Now it came to pass after Hashem had spoken these words to Iyov, that Hashem said to Eliphaz the Temaini, ‘My wrath is kindled against you and your two friends because you did not speak correctly, as did My servant Iyov.'"
Iyov spoke words of sin in his mouth, but was "shalem" with Hashem in his heart. Conversely, his friends debated for Hashem, but their hearts did not agree with their mouths, as Iyov had chastised them. The essence of dibur to Hashem is dibur halev.

"And now take to yourselves seven bulls and seven rams and go to My servant Iyov and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves, and Iyov My servant will daven for you, for I will favor him not to do anything unseemly to you, for you did not speak to Me correctly, as did My servant Iyov."

"Now the Lord returned Iyov's captivity when he davened for his friends, Hashem gave Iyov twice as much as he had had before."
Iyov forgave his friends and davened for them, and Hashem rewarded him by restoring his children and possessions. According to Chazal, his children never actually died, and his possessions were never plundered. The Satan had hidden them and sent a messenger to Iyov to inform him of the bad news.

"And Hashem blessed Iyov's end more than his beginning, and he had fourteen thousand flocks and six thousand camels and a thousand yoke of cattle and a thousand she-donkeys.

"And Iyov lived after this one hundred and forty years, and he saw his sons and his sons' sons for four generations. Then Iyov died, being old and sated with days."

With the help of Hashem this concludes our Iyov series.  Thanks for joining us and we hope you enjoyed.  BeEzras Hashem we will shortly begin the next segment of the Revach Tanach Series.

Wed, 28 Nov 2007 03:00:00 +0000
Part 23 Perek 38-41: Hashem Himself Answers Iyov, Proving His Involvement to the Last Detail

"Then Hashem answered Iyov from the storm..." At the moment Hashem revealed Himself to Iyov, the debate was over. Hashem's Presence proved that Hashem is mashgiach on all the details of mankind to the extent that He had listened to Iyov's words, and revealed Himself to debate with him and teach him knowledge. This disproved Iyov's assertion that Hashem is not mashgiach on the details of mans' life. Hashem's Presence also proved that the nefesh is man is everlasting, and is a part of Hashem; otherwise, it would be impossible to explain the possibility of Hashem talking with man who is housed in an earthly body. When Iyov felt the presence of Hashem, and understood how his nefesh is separate from his body, and is capable of clinging to Hashem and enjoying the kedushah of His Presence, all his questions about the suffering of tzaddikim were immediately answered. He now intimately understood that the essence of man is the nefesh which will ultimately separate from the body and cling to Hashem. This is the ikar of the sechar which awaits tzaddikim in the next world.

"Where were you when I founded the earth? Tell me if you know understanding."
Hashem began to account the goodness of His hashgacha and hanhaga from the beginning of Creation. He wanted Iyov to recognize that in order to understand Hashem's ways and His chochmah, he must become aware of the beginning of creation to understand the foundation of the world and its existence. He should become aware of the incredible wisdom of Hashem which exists in every minute detail of the world and its continued existence.

"In all your day, did you command the morning? Did you tell the dawn its place? ... Which way is the light parted, which way does the eastern one spread it over the earth?"
Hashem instituted that the sun shouldn't rise suddenly. The morning begins only when the sun is still eighteen degrees under the view, and the light emerges slowly until the day is set. This hashgachas pratis enables a larger part of the earth to be immersed in light, and ensures that the light does not harm the eyes.

"Do you hunt the prey for the old lion, or do you fill the appetite of the young lions?"
Hashem begins to explain the concept of hashgacha on wild animals, and their sustenance. Hashem prepares the food of all the animals, from the strongest to the weakest. The old lions, which are forced to find their food by hunting, are aided by Hashem, as well as the young lions, which are too young to hunt on their own.

"Who prepares for the raven his prey, when his young cry out to Hashem, they wander for lack of food?"
Rashi quotes the Midrash Tanchuma which says that when ravens are hatched, the father does not accept them as his own since they are born white, and he refuses to feed them. Hashem Himself feeds the young by creating gnats from their dung.

"Do you know the time for the mountain goat to give birth? Do you wait for the hinds to calve?"
Rashi says the hind's womb is too narrow for the birth process; Hashem arranges that a snake bites her at the time of birth which opens the womb. The timing is critical; if it's a second too early or late, she would die instantly.

In summary, Hashem vividly illustrates to Iyov His hashgachas pratis on every creature in the world, spanning every small detail of their lives. Hashem closely watches over each creation from the time of conception, through its birth, its dwelling place, its need for sustenance, and its old age. The life of man, who is the most important of all living creatures - who is created in the image of Hashem, and endowed with intelligence, is surely guided by Hashem.

In addition, the wondrous miracles found in nature testify to the verity of hashgachas pratis versus a world abandoned to the solar system. Hashem is criticizing Iyov for doubting His involvement in the world, the everlasting life of the soul, reward and punishment, and techiyas hameisim. In light of the miracles inherent in nature, there is no reason to doubt the verity of techiyas hameisim.

Hashem also addressed the second question which Iyov asked about the success of reshaim. Why doesn't Hashem destroy the reshaim who are similar to wild animals and destroy civilization? Hashem responded that if this question is appropriate, another question must be asked. Why didn't Hashem create only weak animals, since the strong animals prey on the weak. According to this logic, only weak animals should have been created, but this would not be fitting for the greatness of the Creator, Who in His wisdom created strong and awesome creatures. However, Hashem ensured that weak animals will continue to exist despite the presence of stronger animals, by equipping each animal with defense means. Similarly, powerful and affluent people are found among mankind, but Hashem ensures that the weak will continue to exist, by instilling the ethics of justice and kindness within mankind.

Sun, 25 Nov 2007 03:00:00 +0000
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.

Wed, 21 Nov 2007 03:00:00 +0000
Part 21 Perek 26-31: The Debate With His Three Friends Is Over With No Winners... For Now

Iyov begins responding to Bildad, and he denies the truth of Bildad's shitah. Bildad had said that Hashem will not manipulate nature to spare the tzaddik pain, or cause the rasha to suffer when his mazal dictates otherwise. However, in the next world, where the system of nature has no power, each man will receive his due reward or punishment. This answer is not satisfactory to Iyov, who did not have faith in life after death which is hidden from the eyes of mankind. In addition, he argued with Bildad's premise that Hashem cannot reward and punish against the seder of nature. Iyov asserted that the stars do not rule in all the matters of the world, and Hashem can utilize reward and punishment which are not dependent on the movement of the stars.

This time, Iyov's friends do not answer him. Rashi says that Elihu, who had refrained from speaking until now due to his young age, reprimanded them, and they desisted from speaking. When Iyov saw that his friends were not answering, he continued speaking. Iyov questioned why Hashem hides His chochmah from the eyes of mankind in a way that they are incapable of understanding His hanhaga in the world. Hashem's hanhaga is so shrouded with secrets and mystery that mankind is forced to conclude that Hashem's wisdom can only be understood after death.

Iyov continues to talk, and describes his "glory days" when he experienced success in spirituality, health, children, wealth, and honor. He then contrasts his past success to his present suffering and disgrace. However, he also accounts that he is innocent of any sin which could have led to his terrible suffering. He was scrupulous in morality and honesty; he was always careful to give tzedaka and perform chessed. Iyov asserts that he is completely righteous and his suffering cannot be justified; his debate with his friends is over.

Sun, 18 Nov 2007 03:00:00 +0000
Part 20 Perek 25: Bildad - Hashem Constrains Himself To Nature, But Settles Scores In The Next World Bildad now answers Iyov, and asserts that Hashem is mashgiach over mankind, and He justly rewards the tzaddik and punishes the rasha.  However, the dictates of nature deter Him from rewarding and punishing immediately.  For example, Hashem does not hold back rain if a tzaddik is then traveling on path, and will be inconvenienced by the rain.  Sunlight, which benefits all of mankind, will also allow the rasha to murder and plunder.  Darkness, which was designed to provide rest for the tired, will also allow the thief to steal into houses.  There's no question that Hashem should change normal natural events, which are for the good of the klal, for one individual. However, Hashem will reward the tzaddik and punish the rasha in ways that do not require the manipulation of nature, whether in this world, or the next.

Therefore, the tzaddik will be afflicted with suffering if he is born under a mazal which ascribes to him troubles and suffering.  Hashem will not change the general Teva for him.  However, he'll eventually receive sechar for his tziddkus, or for his yissurim which he suffered without sin in the next world, which is spiritual and not given over to the system of this world and its mazal.    

This concept is linked to Bildad's previous shita that the suffering of the tzaddik is through exchange, and that he is destined to  receive sechar for his suffering.  Now Bildad explains that this exchange is not because Hashem wants to afflict the tzaddik now in order to benefit him later.  Rather, if the mazal of the tzaddik, and the nature of his life and birthplace ascribe suffering to him, Hashem will not change overall nature for him.  However, He will pay him good in the future for the afflictions he suffered due to his bad mazal.  This is similar to the plant which the gardener uproots from its place, and plants it elsewhere where it will grow and flourish.  Hashem will uproot the tzaddik from this world, where he's destined for sorrow and want, and plant him in the spiritual world.  There he'll derive satisfaction from the light of his soul, and will be like a watered garden which produces fruits. 

Hashem will also not change nature for the rasha, if his mazal ascribes wealth and success.  The rasha will receive his punishment in the everlasting world, and he'll receive increased punishment according to the value of the good he enjoyed.

Wed, 14 Nov 2007 03:00:00 +0000
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.

Sun, 11 Nov 2007 03:00:00 +0000
Part 18 Perek 22: Eliphaz - "Lishma" Is The Whole Point

Iyov had rebutted all of his friends' answers on both questions of tzaddik vra lo and rasha vetov lo. Eliphaz responds with a new shitah that Hashem, in His wisdom, purposely does not reward the tzaddik, or punish the rasha immediately in this world. This is to give mankind the option of serving Hashem completely for His sake, and not only out of hope of reward or fear of punishment. When a person serves Hashem in hope of reward or fear of punishment, he is not serving Hashem, but is rather serving himself. This is not the kind of avodah which Hashem desires.

In addition, if reward and punishment were immediate, man would lack bechira and nisayon. Hashem's entire purpose in creating mankind was giving man the option to choose good over evil out of kavod for Hashem and His mitzvos. This is precisely why Hashem's hashgacha is covered, and hidden from the eyes of mankind. The concealment of hashgacha is what causes the "sechel" to deny Hashem's presence, and claim that the world runs systematically, subject to the whims of nature. All those who deny Hashem's supervision of man bring proof from the injustice of the affliction of tzaddikim and the serenity of reshaim. However, this discrepancy is simply a test to discern between a true servant of Hashem and one that serves Him for superficial reasons. A tzaddik who serves Hashem Lishma will live by his faith, and will not falter from his place. Eventually, he'll receive his reward in the world of everlasting spiritual reward because he was tested and found shalem. Likewise, the reshaim will receive their punishment in the next world There, everything hidden will become apparent, and Hashem will be revealed as a Kal Emunah without injustice.

Wed, 07 Nov 2007 03:00:00 +0000
Part 17 Perek 21: Iyov - If I Am A Rasha, Am I The Only One?

The three friends have concluded their answers on the question of the serenity of the wicked, and Iyov now includes all of their answers in his rebuttal. Iyov complains that his friends have all pointed their fingers at him when discussing the evils which occur to reshaim. Iyov is a rasha in their eyes, and they considered Iyov's suffering as proof that the success of the rasha does not last forever. Iyov contended that his question included all of mankind, including the successful reshaim among them, and none of their answers took this into account. How could they draw conclusions from what happened to one individual? Eliphaz said that reshaim are constantly fearful and are insecure in their success, but reshaim are found that are secure and serene. Bildad maintained that the households of reshaim will be destroyed, but reshaim are found who remain alive and successful, and their households exist for a lengthy amount of time. Bildad had also said that the souls of the reshaim will be cut off, and they will eventually receive their punishment in the everlasting world. Iyov complained that man is not cognizant of this hidden punishment which is hidden from the eyes of all man. Death spreads its wings on all living beings without distinction. Who really knows if there is wisdom and accounting in the nether depths where the dead descend?

Iyov also did not agree with Tzophar's answer - that the rasha dies suddenly and descends to the grave. Iyov asserted that a quick and easy death without suffering can be considered part of the success of the rasha, and is what he desires. How could it be fair and just that the tzaddik who suffered from pain will die a bitter death, and the rasha will die in serenity, and both of them will descend to the grave equally? The rasha's sons may be cut off after his death, but the rasha won't be affected by this punishment, since he is no longer alive. It would be more fitting if the rasha himself would receive punishment for his sins while he is still alive, and consequently will recognize Hashem's justice.

Finally, Iyov complains that the purpose of his friends' answers were not to comfort him and express the truth, but were a breach of brotherly love. Instead of comforting him like a brother, they accuse him of being a rasha.

Sun, 04 Nov 2007 03:00:00 +0000
Part 16 - Tzophar Switches Gears

Tzophar now answers Iyov, and he abandons the philosophical shitah which he espoused previously to explain the question of "tzaddik v'ra lo". This was the concept that man is incapable of perceiving the essential truth of matters since he is limited by his physical senses. This shitah also explains the question of the success of reshaim. However, Iyov had mocked this idea greatly, and therefore, Tzophar did not repeat it. Tzophar was aware that this shitah was satisfactory only to those of deep understanding, and that Iyov would continue to mock it.

Instead, he answered that in previous generations, reshaim were not successful, but were despised and downtrodden. In recent times, despite the fact that reshaim appear to be successful, they will ultimately die an unnatural death, and their wealth and possessions will be taken over by those they oppressed. The great success of the rasha will be the very reason for his steep downfall, like one who physically falls from a high place. Hashem purposely raises the rasha to a high place to increase the severity of his downfall.

Sun, 28 Oct 2007 03:00:00 +0000
Part 15 Perek 19: Iyov - I May Lack Emunah, But You Guys Are Brutal!

Iyov again complains bitterly that his friends are causing him pain and shame with their harsh words of condemnation. He admits that his words may indicate a lack of emunah, but he doesn't feel that that is an excuse for their verbal attack on a suffering person. He feels that his friends have turned into his enemies; instead of comforting him, they are adding to his pain. He warns them that they are liable for punishment from Hashem for pursing a man who is plagued with illness, and tells them that they are guilty of ona'as devarim.

"And even if I erred, let my mistake stay with me."
I never publicized these opinions in public; they were only thoughts of my hearts. Therefore, I don't deserve punishments like these.

"Know then that Hashem has perverted my cause, and He has encircled me with His net."
Iyov continues to insist that his suffering is a perversion of justice.
"Fear the sword, for the anger of sins is the sword."
The "sword" of punishment comes to destroy with great anger for the sin of ona'as devarim.

"In order that you'll know that there is din."
Iyov warns his friends that when they are punished for their sins, then they will really "know" that there is din and mishpat in the world. Right now, they express with their mouths that everything is meted out with din and mishpat, but they don't really feel it. Once they are punished for hurting their friend with bitter words, they will really feel din and mishpat.

Sun, 21 Oct 2007 03:00:00 +0000
Part 14 Perek 18: Bildad - Don't Forget We Are Souls Not Animals

Bildad Hashuchi takes his turn in answering Iyov, and expresses his anger at Iyov's lack of faith and his doubts about the everlasting life of the soul after death. Bildad argues that if Iyov's doubts were true, a man's death would be no different than an animal's death. If so, why did Hashem create man in His image? Hashem has implanted spiritual powers in man which cannot be found in other living creatures. It's obvious that this spiritual power is the essence of man, and therefore his soul will not be destroyed with his physical body.

Bildad expounded on the principal of the essence of the soul to explain his opinion on the mystery of the success of reshaim. If the soul is the essence of man, the essence of success is the success of the soul. When a rasha prospers, his prosperity is only an enjoyment of the body and is not true success. A rasha's punishment will be that his nefesh will cease to exist; it will be cut off and destroyed. His sons will also be cut off, as well as his name and memory. This complete destruction is the worse and most frightening punishment. A tzaddik, however will leave a name in this world, and when he dies, his neshama will continue to live in everlasting pleasantness. In the next world, he will receive reward for his suffering in this world.

"Concerning his day, the later people shall be astonished, and the earlier ones shall be seized by quaking."

This refers to the cutting off the soul which is the punishment of the reshaim. All the generations believed in the everlasting life of the soul, and its destruction was the most frightening punishment imaginable.

These are fit only for the dwellings of the unrighteous, and this for the place of him who did not know Hashem."

This refers to Iyov and his children who were cut off. Bildad told Iyov that his nefesh will be destroyed. Iyov didn't believe in the everlasting life of the soul, and therefore does not have a share in Olam Haba.

Wed, 17 Oct 2007 03:00:00 +0000
Part 13 Perek 15-16: Iyov Begs Hashem To Unravel The Enigma

Iyov now answers Eliphaz, and complains bitterly about Eliphaz's condemnation of him as a complete rasha. He complained that since the nature of the nefesh is hidden, most people don't grasp its eternal nature. They only see that the tzaddik is afflicted with suffering in this world, and conclude that he's actually a rasha. Those who continue to believe in the tzaddik's tziddkus will harbor doubts about the justice of Hashem's hashgacha. Therefore, the yissurim of tzaddikim and serenity of reshaim bode ill for everybody involved. Iyov protests that it would be more fitting for a tzaddik to be properly rewarded for his tziddkus, and a rasha for his rishus, and people would reach the proper conclusions, and learn the appropriate lessons.

"I have heard such things many times." Iyov complains that Eliphaz is repeating the same ideas without adding anything new.

"You are all troublesome consolers." Iyov accuses his friends of being unable to comfort him, but nevertheless, they continue to talk. Eventually, Iyov will be too weary to answer them, and his silence will convey the false impression that they were successful in comforting him.

"Is there an end to words of wind?" Iyov protests that Eliphaz's answers are unsatisfactory since they are not backed by proof.

"I could also speak like you, if your soul was instead of my soul." Iyov tells his friends that if their positions were reversed, he would act very differently than them. He wouldn't accuse them of being reshaim, but would support them and share the pain of the suffering they were afflicted with unjustly.

"Pay attention now, give me a guarantee with You, who will shake hands with me?"

Iyov turns to Hashem and asks that He grant him a guarantee on the verity of his friends' claim of the eternal life of the neshama. He complains that he is unable to grasp this concept with his senses or his sechel, and therefore is not convinced of its truth.

Sun, 14 Oct 2007 03:00:00 +0000
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.

Wed, 10 Oct 2007 03:00:00 +0000
Part 11 12-14: Iyov's Second Big Question

"The tents of robbers prosper, and those who provoke Hashem are secure." Iyov now presents a new question which was not debated until this point. This is the question of the tranquility of evildoers. The three different theories his friends imparted on the suffering of the righteous did not answer this question. When a rasha, whose evil ways are known and obvious, prospers, where is the mishpat of Hashem?

Iyov also argues with Tzophar's answers regarding free choice. He continued to assert that man cannot have free choice because of Hashem's previous knowledge of all man's actions.

After addressing his friends, Iyov addresses Hashem directly. "Why do You hide Your face and regard me as Your enemy? Will You frighten a rattling leaf? Will You chase dry stubble?" Iyov feels as if Hashem is treating him like an enemy and afflicting him with useless suffering.

Sun, 07 Oct 2007 03:00:00 +0000
Iyov Part 10 Perek 12: Iyov Denies Techi'as HaMeisim

Iyov now answers Tzophar, and he completely mocks his explanation that a man who appears to be a tzaddik may actually be a rasha within his nefesh. He also takes issue with Tzophar's assertion that man is not capable of clear and true knowledge. He argues that what man perceives through his senses was also perceived by millions of men in every generation, and he denies that man does not have the ability to discern the truth. He claims that Hashem endowed man with the ability to recognize the truth.

Iyov also mocks the idea that the essence of success and reward is after death. Chazal say that Iyov denied techiyas hameisim and the concept of spiritual reward.

In general, Iyov derides Tzophar's wisdom, saying that he is much more knowledgeable and experienced than him. In fact, the Gra says that Tzophar was the youngest of Iyov's friends. Iyov also berates all his friends, who continue to insist that he is deserving of his suffering because of his sins and his doubts about Hashem's justice. "I know as much as you; I too am not inferior to you." Iyov does not respect his friends' wisdom and arguments. He feels that he is as wise and knowledgeable as they are; why should he accept their proofs? He actually accuses his friends of speaking deceitfully when espousing their theories about the source of his suffering. Iyov continues to view himself as innocent and a yeri Shamayim, and implores his friends once again to let him know what his sin is.

Sun, 23 Sep 2007 03:00:00 +0000
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.

Thu, 20 Sep 2007 03:00:00 +0000
Part 8 Perek 9: The Trees and The Forest

It is Iyov's turn in the debate, and he continues to espouse his opinion that the concept of hashgacha does not exist, and the earth was given over to the Mazalos. He agrees with Bildad that injustice cannot be ascribed to Hashem. However, abandoning the world to an unfair system seems unjust, so how can he espouse this view? Iyov provided a philosophical answer to this question. If one man suffers, he immediately decides that his life is unjust and suffering prevails in the world, as if his reality is the only reality in the world. However, it is a lack of common sense to think that his personal reality reflects the general reality of mankind in general. One man alone is a drop in the ocean compared to the millions of human beings, and the entire species of man is like a drop in the ocean compared to Hakadosh Boruch Hu. How could he imagine that his personal reality reflects the reality of life in general?

Furthermore, man who was originally created from earthly material, and who is conceived from such lowly substances, cannot escape from loss. There is no physical existence without loss; pain and physical loss is part and parcel of the human existence. Human beings, formed out of flesh and blood, are baalei chomer and could not exist without loss. The Mazalos, which are also comprised of material beings, also suffer from loss. The sun and the thousands of stars surrounding it are like nothing compared to the thousands of suns and tens of thousands of stars that are scattered afar in the Milky Way. Therefore, if the sun, the moon, and the stars would be lost, this would not be necessarily unjust and a definite evil from the Creator. He, in His wisdom chose to create a world of existence and loss that contains worlds without limit within it, and the sun and its hosts are like a drop in the bucket in comparison. Therefore, even more so, a great loss, such as an earthquake or volcano in which tens of thousands of people die, which only affects part of one world, cannot be rendered an absolute catastrophe compared to the reality as a whole. The rules of nature dictate loss, and it's impossible that the earth will exist without natural disasters. The losses that stem from even a huge catastrophe are nothing compared to the general good in the world, and this applies even more so to the losses of one person. It's impossible to ascribe evil because of one person's loss compared to the general reality.

This was Iyov's answer to Bidad's complaint, "Can injustice be ascribed to Hashem?" Iyov admits that the general reality is one of goodness and kindness. In his view, Hashem supervises the general reality to ascertain that good prevails, and the suffering of each individual man is lost in comparison to the overall good in the world.

Sun, 16 Sep 2007 03:00:00 +0000
Part 7 Perek 8: Bildad HaShuchi - No Pain No Gain  The debate continues, and Bildad the Shuchi now answers Iyov. Bildad agrees with the ideas of Eliphaz and expounds on them as well. "Can Hashem pervert judgment, or does He pervert justice?" Can we say that Hashem abandons the earth and does not watch over it? Man's problem with reconciling the suffering of the righteous is a mistake, because Hashem is faithful and always judges justly. Bildad also introduced the concept that Hashem brings suffering on the tzaddik even when he did not previously sin. He afflicts the tzaddik for his ultimate benefit, because eventually he'll enjoy increased prosperity from it. This concept can be illustrated by comparing it to a phenomenon in nature. If a plant is rooted in a rocky, desolate place, the gardener will uproot it from its place and plant it in a moist and rich environment. It's obvious that this uprooting is not for the plant's disadvantage, but for its ultimate good. However, not every plant can be uprooted and replanted. Plants that grow next to abundant water and are moist in nature cannot be uprooted because their roots will not take root again. Furthermore, if there is a lack of moisture, these plants dry up faster than other types of plants since they need so much moisture. This plant is compared to the rasha who indulges in many pleasures but is not uprooted from his place. Eventually, he will be taken from the world before his time. The tzaddik, however, will be uprooted from his place at times, and be afflicted with suffering, but this is for his ultimate benefit. It will plant him in more solid spiritual state, and in the future he'll enjoy increased prosperity.

The Alshich gleans an important lesson from the possuk, "Can Hashem pervert judgment or does He pervert justice?" The possuk first uses the word Kel for Hashem's name, and then the name Shakai in the second half of the possuk. Kel is the name of Hashem that describes His middah of rachamim, and Shakai describes the middah of justice. The first name of Hashem hints to Iyov that when Hashem was good to him, he had no questions about whether Hashem was being overly kind to him, or whether he was deserving of Hashem's kindness. In the same manner, when Hashem afflicts him, he must believe that Hashem is acting justly, and not accuse Hashem of acting too harshly.

"If your children sinned against Him, He sent them away in the hands of their sins."
Bildad stresses that Iyov's sorrows were caused by Hashgacha, and were not coincidences. Iyov's children made feasts every day, which surely led them to sin. In fact, the Metzudas Dovid says that Hashem ended their lives in the place of their sins - in the banquet house.

"If you seek Hashem and plead with him. If you are pure and upright, He will arouse [merit] for you, and complete your righteous home. And your beginning will be small, but your end will increase very much."

Bildad offers Iyov words of comfort. He implores Iyov to daven to Hashem to remove his suffering, and promises him that ultimately he'll enjoy great happiness.

Sun, 09 Sep 2007 03:00:00 +0000
Part 6: Iyov's Response To Eliphaz - With Friends Like You...

Iyov now answers Eliphaz, and refutes his points. Iyov was not convinced at all by Eliphaz's argument that he deserved his suffering because of sin. He continues to believe that man's fate is controlled by the cosmic system, and man is afflicted with suffering without rhyme or reason. He argues with Eliphaz's claim that his suffering was for his ultimate benefit because it would purify him from sin and save him from worse punishment. Iyov could not believe this was true since he saw no hope of recovering from his severe illness, and his only hope was for an early death. In addition, if he did deserve his suffering, what was his sin? If his sin was complaining to Hashem when he was afflicted, Iyov asserts that his suffering is much more severe than his complaint.

Iyov also argued with Eliphaz's point that a tzaddik is afflicted with suffering to atone for slight sins which prevent him from perfecting his avodah to Hashem. He questions this line of reasoning because now that he is severely ill and on the verge of death, he is unable to fulfill his avodah to Hashem. If so, how could his suffering bring him to shleimus; instead it is causing him a further weakening of his avodah. Eliphaz also claimed that Iyov's suffering will save from dying before his time and being destroyed forever. Iyov answer that in his present situation, he prefers an early death since his suffering is preventing him from avodas Hashem. His life of sickness and suffering is not a real existence; it as if he not living, and this is also everlasting destruction.

In addition, Iyov is still unable to come to terms with the concept of Hashgacha. He finds it impossible to reconcile Hashem's loftiness with His personal hashgacha of lowly man. He finds it hard to believe that each person's suffering is controlled by Hashem. He wonders what loss Hashem could suffer in a man's sins, and what necessity He has in the existence of man.

Iyov complains bitterly that his friends have wronged him. First they sat with him for seven days and remained silent, without offering him any comfort. When Eliphaz finally did speak, he rebuked him instead of comforting him. Furthermore, Eliphaz told him that he deserved his suffering, but failed to specify what Iyov's sin was. Iyov did not believe Eliphaz's claim of receiving a nevuah, and accused of rebuking him with empty unproven words. Iyov reasoned that if Hashem wanted to convey a message to him, He would have appeared to him personally.

Wed, 05 Sep 2007 03:00:00 +0000
Part 5 The Big Debate Begins: Eliphaz - Iyov Is Not Perfect

Perek Daled is the beginning of the philosophical debate between Iyov and his friends. The first one to speak is Eliphaz; Rashi tells us that Eliphaz is the son of Esav. He was raised by Yitzchak Avinu, which explains his merit to have the Shechinah rest on him.

Eliphaz strongly rebukes Iyov on his mistaken conclusion that the vicissitudes of man's life are controlled by the cosmic system. Eliphaz claims that man has the absolute ability to affect his environment through his actions. The Malbim tells us however, that the premise that all human efforts will bear fruit, and that man has absolute bechira is not true. Man does have the ability to affect the world through his actions, but not in an absolute way; at times Hashem will interfere with the results. A person may try to attain something, and not only will he not attain it, but his efforts will be the reason for the attainment of the opposite. An example of this is the story of Yosef and his brothers. Yosef's brothers sold him into slavery with the specific goal of preventing him from actualizing his dream of ruling over his brothers. At the end, their actions were the very means through which Yosef attained leadership.

In addition, a person will often attain good without any effort, such as Shaul, who attained malchus in this manner. Some matters are decreed from Hashem, and will happen regardless of human effort, such as the story of Yosef. Other events are a combination of human effort and the will of Hashem, such as one who plants produce which will grow only with the proper amount of rain. And at times, events are solely a result of Hashgacha, such as a poor man who is saved from someone stronger than him, which defies the rule of nature that the strong rule the weak. Sustenance is dependent on hashgacha of the natural forces, such as dew and rain.

At times, the hashgacha of Hashem will cause a mishap to happen to someone to save him from something worse, like someone who falls ill and misses his ship, and later hears that the ship sunk. This hashgacha protects tzaddikim at all times. Eliphaz utilized this point of Hashem's hashgacha over tzaddikim to refute Iyov's complaint of "tzaddik vra lo" and his denial of hashgacha. Eliphaz pointed out that often negative events are for the benefit of the tzaddikim. Eliphaz then conveyed the nevuah he received that the evil that befalls the tzaddik is because of a sin he committed, as it says in Chazal, "There are no yissurim without sin." Iyov considered himself a tzaddik, but Eliphaz asserts that no man can claim that his avodas Hashem is perfect. The greatness of Hashem is unfathomable and His goodness towards man is without measure. Consequently, man who is so lowly compared to Hashem, can never claim that he has perfected his avodah towards Him. If Hashem brings suffering upon him, it's for his ultimate good - to erase his aveiros and save him from a more severe punishment, such as the loss of his soul forever, or an early death. Eliphaz refuted Iyov's claim that he is free of sin, and therefore did not deserve his suffering. He pointed out that Iyov was obviously not perfect in his avodah because as soon as suffering overcame him, he began to complain to Hashem and deny the foundations of emunah. This is a siman that his fear of Hashem was not based on emes, but was rooted in the hope of reward and fear of punishment. One who truly fears Hashem will not lose all happiness when Hashem rebukes him. In fact, Iyov's intolerance of his suffering was actually a sign to others of the verity of Hashem's judgment. If Iyov had remained silent, his righteousness would have been apparent to all, and they would have questioned Hashem's justice. However, once others heard Iyov blasphemous words, they understood that he was deserving of his suffering, and did not question Hashem's ways.

Iyov was initially doubtful of the authenticity of Eliphaz' nevuah; he reasoned that if Hashem wanted to convey a message to him, He would have appeared directly to him. Eliphaz tells him in Perek Hei, "For anger will kill a fool." "You were foolish and angry, and doubted the hashgacha of Hashem, and therefore you do not deserve that the word of Hashem should appear to you." The Malbim tells us that anger towards Hashem not only is futile, but it intensifies Hashem's judgment.

"Can a mortal man be more just than Hashem, can a man be more pure than his Maker?"
In summary, Eliphaz's message is that Iyov is simply unable to be a proper judge of Hashem. Hashem is so lofty and His beneficence is so great that the most righteous of men may fall short in their avodah. Man is incapable of knowing who is fully righteous and therefore is incapable of judging Hashem.

Sun, 02 Sep 2007 03:00:00 +0000
Iyov Part IV Perek 2-3: Iyov Curses His Mazal, Which He Claims Controls His Life

"And Iyov's three friends heard about all the evil that had befallen him, and each came from his place, Eliphaz the Temani, Bildad the Shuchi, and Tzophar the Naamati, and they met together to moan for him and to comfort him."

How did Iyov's friends hear about his misfortune? The Gemara says that this group of four friends each had three trees which represented the other three friends. If one of the trees wilted, each would know that that particular friend was experiencing distress. Their friendship was unusually strong and deep; it was about Iyov's friends that the Gemara says, "Friends like the friends of Iyov, or death!"

"They lifted their eyes from afar, but they didn't recognize him. They raised their voices, and they cried. Each man tore his robe, and they threw dust on their heads toward Shamayim. And they sat down with him on the ground for seven days and seven nights, but they did not say a word to him because they saw that his pain was very great." Rashi says that Iyov's friends did not recognize him because his face had changed as a result of his suffering.

"Afterwards, Iyov opened his mouth, and cursed his day." Iyov believed that everything that happens in life is a result of one's mazal or the position of stars he is born under. Therefore, it is impossible to escape one's fate. This attitude led to his bitterness.

"And Iyov raised his voice and said. ‘The day I was born should be lost, and the night of my conception." According to Iyov, his mazal was preordained already on the night of his conception and the day of his birth. He felt that since he was fated to suffer such ill fortune, it would have been better if he had never been born. In addition, he felt that most people suffer more distress in life than good, and therefore they yearn for death. If this is so, what is the point of life?

"There (in the grave) the wicked cease from anger and those who are weary rest." Iyov maintains that death would be better than his continued existence in this world. In fact, it would have been better if man would not have been created at all, since the evil in life outweighs the good.

"Why does He give light to the one who toils, and life to those with bitter souls? Those who wait for death and it is not there, and they seek it more than hidden treasures." Iyov conceded that some people do experience more good in their lives, and they want life more than death. However, that fact does not answer the question of, "Why does He give light to the one who toils?" This light is referring to the light of sunrise. Those unfortunate people who are fated to spend their lives in hard labor do not welcome the light of sunrise. Conversely, the light of sunrise is a signal that another day of torture is about to begin. The "bitter of spirit" are even more unfortunate. These are people with lives so full of sorrow that their only wish is for death. In addition, Iyov complains that some people have difficult lives full of poverty and suffering, and constantly wish for death, which does not come. Finally, at the end of their lives, they find a "treasure" and their lives turn around, and then death arrives, when they finally desire life.

In summary, Iyov is bitter, and maintains that death is better than life which can be filled with so much suffering and ill fortune. He believes that man is a helpless victim of the position of the stars he is born under; he cannot do anything to control his fate. Death is cruel, both to those who wish for it and it doesn't come, and to those who wish for life, but face death instead. Iyov still maintains that Hashem is all good, so obviously, He could not be responsible for the bitter fate of man. Hashem is too lofty to interfere in the petty details of man's life. Iyov viewed his own life as proof of this; he was aware of his tziddkus and realized that his suffering was not a result of his sins. He also couldn't blame his troubles on coincidence since the loss of his children and possessions happened in such a supernatural way, with one disaster after another, followed shortly afterwards by his intense physical suffering. He felt he had no choice but to blame his suffering on his mazal, and if he was fated to bear such suffering, it would have been better if he had never been born.

Wed, 29 Aug 2007 03:00:00 +0000
Part III Perek Beis: More Trouble and Iyov Starts To Crack

It begins with another day of judgment, and the Satan is again present to prosecute his case. The Targum says that this was Yom Kippur. Hashem preempts the Satan in defense of Iyov, and says to the Satan, "Did you notice Iyov who is still outstanding in his tziddkus? You enticed Me against him for nothing." The Satan, however, is again prepared with an answer. He says, "It is not yet clear from this nisayon that Iyov is serving You from ahavah. It is only clear that he was not devastated by the loss of his wealth and children; apparently his body is dearer to him than his money and children. He is still afraid to sin out of worry that he will be physically punished. However, if You do inflict him with physical suffering and his life is in danger, and he despairs of finding a cure, he will have nothing left to fear or hope for. Then You will see that he will blaspheme You to Your face." Hashem then granted the Satan permission to inflict physical suffering on Iyov, with the dispensation that he must preserve Iyov's life.

"The Satan then left the Presence of Hashem and struck Iyov with severe boils from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. And he took a potsherd to scratch himself with, and he sat in the midst of ashes." The Midrash says that the upper half of his body was covered with dry boils and he needed a potsherd to scratch with, and the bottom half of his body was covered with wet boils and he needed to sit in dust that would absorb the moisture. The cure for one type of boil was harmful to the other type of boil.

"And his wife said, ‘Are you still holding on to your faith? Curse Hashem and die.'"

When Iyov was first afflicted with the loss of his wealth and children, he blessed Hashem for his suffering. This time he did not bless Hashem; he was silent because his heart was not complete. His silence is what prompted his wife to question his behavior. She mocked him by reminding him that the first time he was afflicted, he blessed Hashem, which showed that he was faithful to Him. The result is that He continued to afflict him. Now if he blesses Him again, He will surely afflict him until he dies. She was mocking him for blessing Hashem the first time.

"And he said to her, ‘You talk like a disgraceful woman. Should we also accept the good from Hashem, but not the evil?'"

On superficial glance, Iyov's answer seems to be one of a Yarei Shamayim and tzaddik. However, closer examination of his words reveals that his heart was turned to thoughts of heresy. This is revealed from the word "also" in "Should we also accept the good from Hashem, but not the evil?" This "also" meant that he thought that the good in life is mixed with numerous evils, and that the evil in life outweighs the good. He also thought that it is impossible for Hashem to bestow only good, because one who wants to accept good must also accept evil. This is like someone who wants to drink a lot of wine or eat a lot of honey will surely not complain that he got drunk from the wine or suffered indigestion from the honey.

"And the evil we will not accept?" Iyov was implying that it's impossible not to accept the evil because evil is the ikar. This sentence revealed that his heart was filled with blasphemy - that Hashem created man for evil, and that the evil in life outweighs the good.

"And despite all this, Iyov did not sin with his lips."

Chazal say that he didn't sin with his lips, but he did sin in his heart. He didn't yet voice complaints against Hashem, but it was apparent from the world "also" that he believed that Hashem created man for evil.

Sun, 26 Aug 2007 03:00:00 +0000
Part II Perek 1: It's Rosh HaShanah and The Satan Is Looking For Trouble

Perek Aleph begins with a description of Iyov. Iyov is described as being a man with yiras shamayim and integrity, who avoids any wrongdoing. He has been blessed with ten children and with wealth, and is well-respected within his community.

The Malbim emphasizes that Sefer Iyov begins with a description of Iyov's tziddkus because this is the key to the entire philosophical discussion about the purpose of suffering which follows. We are informed from the beginning that Iyov did not deserve his suffering and was in fact one of Hashem's most faithful servants. According to the Vilna Gaon, he was the greatest man of his generation. In addition, his suffering did not stem from a lack of financial resources or a lack of family support. The passuk tells us that his many children had a harmonious relationship with each other. There was no natural reason for Iyov to suffer.

One fateful day, disaster strikes. Rashi tells us that this day was Rosh Hashanah. The Satan was present on this Day of Judgment to prosecute the inhabitants of the earth. However, Hashem Himself attested to the tziddkus of Iyov; He knew that the Satan had no power over Iyov. The Malbim explains that the Satan has no power in the upper worlds which are completely spiritual. His only power is on earth where materialistic forces are able to rule. However, Iyov was a tzaddik and ruled over his physical and materialistic desires, and consequently, the Satan had no power over him. Nevertheless, the Satan dared to file a complaint against Iyov.

"Do You think that Iyov serves You for nothing? Haven't You blessed him and his family with great wealth?" The Satan implied that Iyov's service of Hashem was not based on his intrinsic love of goodness and spirituality. In fact, his service of Hashem may be based on materialistic concerns rather than spiritual ones. He may be serving Hashem because of his aspirations for reward or because of his fear of harm. He is aware of his many blessings, and may not have wanted to risk Hashem removing His protection because of sinful behavior.

"But if You take all that he has, won't he blaspheme You to Your face?" The Satan asserted that Iyov's tziddkus must be tested. If Hashem took away his wealth and children, Iyov's motivation for serving Hashem would be put to the test. If he was serving Hashem solely out of fear of Hashem's protection being removed from him, the loss of all that he had would cause him to lose all faith in Hashem.

Hashem then granted the Satan permission to take everything that Iyov had. However, he was not granted permission to physically harm Iyov himself. Shortly later, Iyov received the news that his wealth had been destroyed, and his children had been killed

"Iyov stood up and tore his robe and his hair, and fell to the ground and bowed down. And he said, ‘I emerged naked from my mother's womb, and I will return there naked. Hashem gave and Hashem took. The name of Hashem should be blessed.'

The Malbim tells us that Iyov had no complaints against Hashem for taking his children and possessions since he was aware that they were gifts from Hashem. In fact, he was even able to view his losses as an act of mercy from Hashem; Hashem had taken what he had as atonement for his aveiros, but he himself remained alive and in good health. He was able to bless Hashem for these seemingly bad events just like he blessed him for the obvious good. The perek ends, "Despite all this, Iyov did not sin, and he did not have any complaints against Hashem."

Note: The explanations of Iyov follow the Malbim unless otherwise noted.

Wed, 22 Aug 2007 03:00:00 +0000

Iyov is a sefer that connotes suffering and the struggle for faith in Hashem. It is a sefer subject to many interpretations and meanings. The Gemara in Bava Basra (14b) says that Moshe Rabbeinu wrote Sefer Iyov. The Malbim explains that Moshe wrote Sefer Iyov to comfort Bnei Yisrael from the burden of their immense suffering in the crucible of Mitzrayim. Moshe Rabbeinu had struggled with the paradox of the suffering of the righteous and the prosperity of the wicked from the time he ventured out from the luxury of Pharaoh's palace. It was then that he first became aware of his brothers' suffering and joined in their pain. Moshe Rabbeinu, with his compassionate heart, became consumed with the question of why the righteous suffer. When he had the opportunity to request what he most wanted from Hashem, understanding this mystery was his second request. (His first request was that the Hashem should rest His Shechinah exclusively on Bnei Yisrael until the end of time. This request was granted.) Chazal tell us that Moshe's request to understand the meaning of suffering was not granted.

However, there are many opinions of when Iyov lived, only one of which is consistent with the time of Moshe, which is that he lived at the time of the meraglim. Others believe that Iyov was one of the Jews who returned to Eretz Yisrael from Bavel, and he lived in Tiverya.

There are other opinions that he lived at the time of the Shoftim, the time of Achashverosh, the time of the reign of Sheba, the time of the Chaldeans, and the time of Yaakov Avinu. Those who believed he lived at the time of Yaakov Avinu, such as the Targum, say that he married, Dinah, Yaakov's daughter.

All of the opinions agree that Iyov was Jewish, except for the one who asserts that he lived in the time of Yaakov. Iyov could not have received nevuah if he had been a non-Jew, since, as mentioned above, Moshe had davened that the Shechinah rest only on Bnei Yisrael - a request that had been answered. However, in the time of Yaakov, non-Jews were still able to receive nevuah. The opinion that Iyov was non-Jewish stated that Iyov descended to the world in order to receive reward. However, when Hashem caused him to suffer, Iyov began to blaspheme. Hashem then granted him double reward in this world to keep him from the next world.

There is one opinion in the Gemara that Iyov never existed at all; he was a parable. However, this opinion is unanimously rejected because of the detailed account of his name and location. The Pachad Yitzhak quotes Rav Hai Gaon that this opinion means that Iyov's sole purpose in life was as a parable. People will learn from him to trust in Hashem during difficult times and maintain a belief that Hashem could change their fortunes for the better in the future. The Vilna Gaon expounds that the purpose of Iyov's existence was for mankind to learn a lesson in the proper way of accepting suffering. Additionally, we learn that man cannot judge Hashem, whose ways are complete justice. Hashem's ways may seem harsh at times, but a human being who is light years away from the loftiness of Hashem, cannot even begin to understand Hashem's ways.

Unfortunately, the enigma of what seems to be the absence of justice in this world has been responsible for many turning away from a belief in Kal Rachum Vechanan. Iyov, of whom Hashem Himself attested to his great tziddkus and faith, was unable to come to terms with his suffering on one hand, and his belief in the compassion of Hashem, on the other hand. Instead of choosing to believe that he was unable to fathom Hashem's ways, he chose to believe that Hashem was not involved in his day to day affairs. In his eyes, Hashem was too lofty to micro-manage the small details of a humble human being's life. Ultimately, he reached the conclusion that mankind is subject to the whims of nature and astronomy, and his life had been fated to be one of suffering. Fortunately, his friend Elihu convinced him of the truth -that Hashem controls every detail of mankind's fate, that Hashem is merciful, and that we as humans are not capable of understanding the cheshbonos of Hashem.

Sun, 19 Aug 2007 03:00:00 +0000
Announcing New Revach Tanach Series: Come Join Us To Brush Up On Tanach

Starting next week we will begin our series on Sefer Iyov which will give an overview of each perek/perakim that will make you feel like you are there together with Iyov and his friends as they try to figure why Bad Things Happen To Good People. This is especially relevant for the days of Elul. Don't miss out!

Fri, 17 Aug 2007 03:00:00 +0000