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 MIKETZ AND CHANUKAH:

View Complete List

An End to Our Darkness
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5772

Analyzing The Imagery of A Familiar Chanukah Poem
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5765

Majesty Resides Within!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5765

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Rabbi Frand on Parshas Miketz
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5770

In Your Dreams
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5765

Express Delivery
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5762

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Help Wanted
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5762

Not a Minute Past the Expiration Date
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5757

Different Missions In Life Require Different Techniques of Living
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5772

> Bit By Bit
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5759

Storehouse of the King
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5757

A Tale of Two Pharoahs
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5762

ArtScroll

The Key To Something More
Rabbi Label Lam - 5762

Royalty and Redemption
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5762

Learning His Lesson
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5765

Turning Points
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5760



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 MIKETZ AND CHANUKAH:

View Complete List

Smelling The Fragrance Of Hope
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5768

Time Study
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5766

8 - The Symbol of Eternity
Rabbi Label Lam - 5773

> A Superficial Light
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5772

What A Pity!
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5760

They Dance to God's Music
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5773

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Enlightening the Present From the Past
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766

Just Five More Minutes of Sleep!
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

Mercy Filling
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5763

ArtScroll

Yehuda, Yosef and Chanukah
Shlomo Katz - 5763

Repent! For the End is Dear
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761

A Tale of Two Pharoahs
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5762

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Why Eight Days?
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Stuck on Gum
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5757

Different Missions In Life Require Different Techniques of Living
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5772

The Real Story
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5763



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