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 HAAZINU AND ELUL / ROSH HASHANAH:

View Complete List

Giving in to the Dictates of One's Heart
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5759

Spiritual Climates
Shlomo Katz - 5773

Rosh Hashana and the Kiss of Life
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5772

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Shofar: A Wake-Up Call
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Are we a Role Model to the Nations?
Rabbi Yosef Kalatsky - 5763

Wordless Prayers
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5771

ArtScroll

Starting From Scratch
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5764

The Healer Is On-Call
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5773

Repentance and Changing History
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5759

> Menachem Tzion on "Binu Shnos Dor V'Dor"
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5770

First in the Mind!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5763

Money Can't Buy Happiness
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5762

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Judgment
Shlomo Katz - 5759

A Time for Fear, A Time for Joy
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766

A Rosh Hashana Message
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5769

The Month of Elul: Customs
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758



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 HAAZINU AND ELUL / ROSH HASHANAH:

View Complete List

One Year Later...
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5763

Happy New Year!
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5762

We Don't See the Whole Picture
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5756

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Focusing Our Prayers
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5760

The Meaning of Life
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5770

Teshuva and Rebi Elazar ben Dordai
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5773

> Starting From Scratch
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5764

First in the Mind!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5763

It's a Nice Soft Suicide…
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

ArtScroll

How Close Is Hashem to Us?
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5763

To Crown a King
Shlomo Katz - 5767

The Power of Song
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5758

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Paying Attention to the Voice of the Almighty
- 5767

And Straight Again!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5766

Past, Present, and Future
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5763

Say It with Chumros
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 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