Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 

Job (Iyov)

Job is a book that ranks as one of the most difficult books in theTanach (Bible), for two reasons:

  1. Its incredibly complex and obscure Hebrew - allowing for multiple translations and meanings.
  2. The complex and delicate nature of the subject matter.
Like anything in life, the reward for success reflects the amount of effort put in. Therefore, there must be a lot to gain from the deep study of the book of Job.

The story of Job is very simple: it is a conversation between G-d and one of His loyal angels (called: Satan). Satan claims that Job isn't such a great servant, and that he only serves G-d because he is wealthy and things are always going his way. G-d gives Satan the right to test Job, saying "do anything to him, but don't take his life." And so in a very short time, Job's immense wealth disappears, his seven sons die and Job himself is afflicted with a painful disease.

That is the basic story. The final 38 (out of 40) chapters of the book detail Job's response to what has happened, his conversations with his friends. Finally, G-d's answers the main question of the book: how could such a thing have befallen a righteous person? In other words: why do bad things happen to good people? Is G-d really in control of this world? Is He just?

So what's the Jewish answer to those famous questions? Job's friends suggest that perhaps Job isn't as clean as he thinks he is, maybe there's some sin for which G-d is now punishing him.

According to Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman (the 12th Century commentator known as the Ramban), that answer would have been a good enough for most of the world. There are very few people who go through life with absolutely no sin, and G-d, who is in charge of this world, and is a just judge, most definitely punishes.

But according to the Ramban, this answer won't answer Job's question, because he really was clean. When G-d finally spoke to Job at the end of the book He answered differently: In essence, He told Job that "I am G-d, and you are only a tiny, finite human being - you can't possibly hope to understand the way I run My world. Everything I do is just, even if you can't see the justice."

Read the Ramban's introduction to his commentary on the book of Job for a deeper understanding of how Job's lot was truely just. The bottom line in Jewish thought is: G-d runs the world, He is just and everything that happens is just... even though we can't always see how that is so.


Rabbi Boruch Clinton teaches at the Ottawa Torah Institute yeshiva high school and Machon Sarah high school for girls (both in Ottawa, Canada). You may reach him with comments and questions at bclinton@torah.org.

You can now read some of Rabbi Clinton's essays on Torah life at http://www.ncf.ca/~es625/essays

You can also buy his collection of essays on the Book of Shmuel (Samuel) in printed form at www.lulu.com/marbitzmedia

Copyright 2000 by Rabbi Boruch Clinton and Project Genesis, Inc.

 
Sell Chometz Online







ARTICLES ON KEDOSHIM AND THE OMER:

View Complete List

Beyond Common (In)Cense
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5758

Motherhood & Shabbos Pie
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5759

Encouraging His Children to Climb
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

> Leap of Love
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5760

Prisms of Light - Reflections of Shattered Glass
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5772

Unspoken Words
Rabbi Label Lam - 5760

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Burden of Reproof
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5757

A Holy Mindset
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5772

Setting High Goals
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5760

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Holy Kitchen, Holy Sidewalk, Holy Workplace
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5765

Make Your Parents and Teachers Proud
Shlomo Katz - 5763

Of Death, Selflessness, and Service
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5764

ArtScroll

Sweet Revenge
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5761

Power of Rabbi Akiva
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5760

Why Is this Portion Different From All Other Portions?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5768

Nothing To Fear
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5765



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information
 
Sell Chometz Online







ARTICLES ON KEDOSHIM AND THE OMER:

View Complete List

Don't Take Revenge...
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

For I am Holy
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5759

Now Become Holy!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5770

Looking for a Chavrusah?

It's None of Your Business
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5759

A Deafening Silence
Rabbi Label Lam - 5773

Becoming Holy
Shlomo Katz - 5772

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Growth Period
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5755

Prisms of Light - Reflections of Shattered Glass
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5772

Tattooing: Under your skin
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5768

ArtScroll

Holy Pursuits - Mundane Paths
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5762

Sefiras HaOmer and Rabbi Akiva
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766

Holy Reality Check
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5761

> The Senior Partner
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5767

Holy Kitchen, Holy Sidewalk, Holy Workplace
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5765

The Fundamental Rule
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5758

Holy Nation
Rabbi Label Lam - 5771



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information