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 EIKEV:

View Complete List

All But One
Rabbi Label Lam - 5761

Healing and Sensitivity
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5769

Manna From Heaven
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5762

ArtScroll

Just One Request
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5764

Not By Bread Alone
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5763

The First Commandment of Parenting
Rabbi Label Lam - 5766

> Ticket to Olam Haba
Shlomo Katz - 5772

Wear Your Shoes
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5757

Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Rabbi Chaim Flom - 5767

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Emulate G-d, Again and Again!
Shlomo Katz - 5761

Choices and Miracles
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5767

The Beginning of Wisdom
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5758

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Human Ark
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5766

Superiority Complex
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5755

The Spice Of Life
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5772

Walk Humbly
Shlomo Katz - 5773



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 EIKEV:

View Complete List

Killer Torah
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5756

Healing and Sensitivity
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5769

Nobody's Neutral!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5762

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

When Serving Dinner
Rabbi Label Lam - 5773

Letting Go
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5758

The Ante-Room
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5757

ArtScroll

Emulate G-d, Again and Again!
Shlomo Katz - 5761

The Supernatural Land
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5772

Don't Trample on the Little Things
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5757

> Heaven-like Clarity
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770

Downtrodden
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5766

Wear Your Shoes
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5757

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Choices and Miracles
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5767

Not By Bread Alone
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5763

The Human Ark
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5766

Royalty in Training
Rabbi Label Lam - 5768



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