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.

 






ARTICLES ON LECH LECHA:

View Complete List

The Lech Lecha Test Rates Higher Than The Ur Kasdim Test
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5772

Saved in Yaakov's Merit
Shlomo Katz - 5761

The Standers and the Walkers
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5760

> Connoisseur's Delight
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5762

Outsiders
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5756

The Landlord Is Still Home
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5774

ArtScroll

Out of This World
Rabbi Label Lam - 5769

Rabbi Frand on Parshas Lech Lecha
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5767

Don't Doubt My G-d
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5775

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Ordeal of Departure
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5771

Love and Sacrifice
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5761

Redefining Pleasure
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5775

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

No Second Thoughts
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5764

Worthy of the Brocha!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5770

Uniquely Human
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5762

Environmental Hazard
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5774



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
 






ARTICLES ON LECH LECHA:

View Complete List

The Kindness Factor
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5769

That's Tzedaka!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5771

“The Place That I Will Show You!”
Rabbi Label Lam - 5767

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Location is Everything
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5763

No Second Thoughts
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5764

Long Distance Call
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5761

ArtScroll

Freedom of Man
Shlomo Katz - 5760

He Thinks Highly of You
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5775

To the Land That I Will Show You
Rabbi Label Lam - 5763

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Standers and the Walkers
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5760

There's No Place Like Away From Home...
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5764

Worthy of the Brocha!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5770

> Redefining Pleasure
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5772

Environmental Hazard
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771

Reaching Greatness: Living in the Land of Israel
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5775

Use Them or Lose Them
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5757



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