Tazriah – Why Should I Suffer?

His friends came to grieve with him. They told him that G-d acts only through justice. Therefore, Iyov MUST have sinned. According these pals G-d would only wreak such havoc on a sinner.

There are many long, very poetic chapters of Iyov questioning G-d’s Justice and his friends accusing him of sinning. In Chapter 32 we learn of an additional friend named Elihu. He has been listening in on the discussion without comment.

According to his own account he refrained from making a statement earlier so as not to insult the others who were older.

The commentators disagree on how to explain the words what he said as well as their meaning. It seems that he says that G-d runs the world with total justice. In addition to that (33-12) since G-d is greater than man he reserves the right to do as he pleases and answers to no one.

Rambam says that Elihu was correct in his statement about G-d. However, Others say that Elihu only repeated what the other three had already said. Others say that his statements were blasphemy and that he is beyond redemption and has no appropriate Tshuva. All views seem tenable.

What is the true answer as to why G-d allowed The Prosecutor to smite Iyov? The answer is very simple. The book begins with telling us how righteous Iyov is. We then see G-d praising Iyov about how good he is. The Persecutor tells G-d that if his wealth is taken away Iyov will even curse G-d. Iyov did not even question G-d when his children were killed and his wealth destroyed. After this the Prosecutor asks G-d to damage Iyov’s body. The Prosecutor told G-d that after this Iyov will certainly curse G-d.

Therefore it is clear that everything that happened to Iyov was a test of his faith in G-d. G-d wanted to see if Iyov would be as pious when he is a poor leper, as he appeared to be when he was a wealthy patron.

The result was Iyov’s questioning of G-d’s righteousness though he did not curse G-d.

Very often we do not understand our own tribulations. How can G-d have caused my little cousin to die? How can he have allowed “The Prosecutor” and the Nazis to murder the beautiful children of
Terezinstadt? (See a related discussion at prague.html) Most cancer patients are not evil enough, in my eyes, to warrant a slow death at the hands of a disease like Leukemia, why do they suffer so much? The same thing applies to Leprosy that eats away at a person’s body.

Leprosy is a terrible, debilitating skin ailment that, like any other disease, is even worse if the sufferer is poor. If something happens to you as in the midrash quoted above that your property, clothing or
body or is damaged you certainly should examine your activities and try to better yourself. You should give more Tzedaka than usual. If you study Torah you should study a little more. If you do Chesed you
should try to do a little more.

It is difficult to understand how G-d runs the world. However, doing mitzvot and praying to G-d for assistance might help.