Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  Iyov
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Part 17: Chapter 4, Introduction

In this chapter the debate between Iyov and his friends begins. The opening remarks belong to Elifaz the Teimani. Rashi, based on the interpretation of our sages, explains that Elifaz was the son of Eisav.

Accordingly, Elifaz was a grandson of our patriarch Issac. Rashi continues to explain that Elifaz was raised in the house of Issac and without a doubt acquired great levels of wisdom from him. It is important for us to know that Elifaz was qualified to discuss theological matters with Iyov and therefore Rashi brings this to our attention. Elifaz's represents a school of thought that views man as a creature who possesses absolute freewill.

Man's destiny can be controlled and determined by acts of freewill. This is a sharp contrast to Iyov's position that man is a victim of the forces that determine fate and that he does not have the capacity to influence these forces.

The Malbim points out that although Elifaz declares man to be an agent of freewill we cannot take this to mean that freewill is effective in all human endeavors. Everyone is familiar with the phenomenon that conscious choices do not always produce the anticipated or desired results.

One famous example of this can be found in the Bible story of Joseph and his brothers. Joseph had a few dreams that he interpreted in a way that was very disturbing to his brothers. They decided that Joseph had delusions of grandeur and of dominating the fledgling Jewish tribe that was the predecessor of the great Jewish nation. They viewed this as a mortal danger to family unity and ultimately to the entire Jewish nation. Consequently they decided to do away with him and so Joseph was sold into slavery eventually arriving in Egypt.

The Egyptians were infamous for their slave driving and trading. They developed a system that made it virtually impossible for a slave to escape. Joseph suffered the worst possible experience. Not only was he a slave in the most oppressive regime of the ancient world, but was also incarcerated in the Egyptian prisons. These oppressive facilities were not exactly what we could call 'corrective institutions.'

So Joseph was put away in a distant land where he was prevented from exercising his freewill. In such circumstances he would certainly not be able to reign over his brothers.

The end of the story is well known. Joseph becomes the ruler of all of Egypt. Finally, from his new position of power and influence he was able to govern over his entire family. This incredulous course of events would have been impossible had it not been for Joseph's brothers' decision to eliminate him. This story vividly conveys the message that our decisions and actions may not always achieve the desired results. While Joseph's brothers thought that they were doing G-d's will by eliminating Joseph G-d was 'pulling the strings' to facilitate the fulfillment of his controversial dreams.

There are areas of human activity where freewill does not play a significant role and may even be suspended in order to bring about important events. We can understand that at times G-d chooses to interfere with freewill decisions to facilitate events that are an essential part of His universal plans.

But here we are dealing with decisions and actions that were intended to eliminate Joseph because in his brothers' eyes he posed a danger to the fledgling Jewish nation. In the end those very same decisions and actions paved the way for Joseph to rule over and support for the nation.

G-d's will, as revealed in Joseph's dreams, was to make Joseph the king of the young Jewish nation and be their benevolent provider. The startling reversal of his brothers' scheme demonstrates that no thoughts or actions are beyond the realm of G-d's scrutiny and control. Even acts of militant opposition are manipulated to weave the historical tapestry that reveals G-d's presence and dominion over human events.


Text Copyright © 1996 Rabbi Y. Schwartz and Project Genesis, Inc.

The author is the Rosh Hayeshiva (Dean) of Orchos Chaim Yeshiva in Jerusalem.

Part 16 Part 18


 
Sell Chometz Online







ARTICLES ON PESACH AND THE OMER:

View Complete List

To Express a Higher Yes!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5766

Pesach Questions
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

How Do We Approach This Child?
Rabbi Label Lam - 5764

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Next Year In Jerusalem - If...
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5762

The Students of Rabbi Akiva
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

A Holy Nation?
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

ArtScroll

This Night
Rabbi Label Lam - 5767

The Sound of Silence
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Rachtza Through Shulchan Orech
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

> Tarnished Treasures of Pesach
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5759

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

All The Days of Your Life
Rabbi Label Lam - 5765

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Great Shabbos
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5768

Pesach In Command
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761

Urchatz, Karpas, Yachatz
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

The Questioning Defense
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 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