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 VAESCHANAN AND TU BEAV:

View Complete List

Mi Casa Es Su Casa
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5772

Perscription for Happiness
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5762

Shema Yisrael
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5772

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Cling to Hashem
Shlomo Katz - 5771

Basic Tenet of Jewish Life
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5763

No Joke
Rabbi Label Lam - 5767

ArtScroll

Switching Gears
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5761

Torah Study - Review vs. New
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5758

The Master Smelter
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Mi Casa Es Su Casa
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5773

Mountain of Faith
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5759

Precious Jewels
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5762

> Sight and Insight
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5767

Irreplaceable
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5767

Who Serves "I"dols?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5771

The Long Journey to the Heart
Rabbi Label Lam - 5764



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 VAESCHANAN AND TU BEAV:

View Complete List

I Have Just Begun to See
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5761

Double Standards
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5766

Basic Tenet of Jewish Life
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5763

ArtScroll

YomTov, vol. XIII # 4
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5767

Taking the Tefillin Test
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5760

Nation Destined for Greatness
Shlomo Katz - 5766

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Desire of the Fire Within
Rabbi Label Lam - 5771

Pleading In Comfort
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5760

Comfort-Able?
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5759

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Finding Energy
Rabbi Chaim Flom - 5767

Switching Gears
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5761

How Ironic
Rabbi Label Lam - 5774

> Ahavas Hashem: For the Love of G-d
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5766

Keeping What We Give
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5763

Simply- a Symptom of Love
Rabbi Label Lam - 5765

The Long Journey to the Heart
Rabbi Label Lam - 5764



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