JOB 11:7

Zophar questions Iyov’s insistence that he is innocent, suggesting that Iyov is perhaps not as pure as he thinks he is, since man cannot comprehend Hashem’s mind nor his desires of us. Even Moshe, the greatest prophet of all time, was denied his request to fully comprehend the ways of Hashem. After the sin of the golden calf, Moshe prays for the people and seeks closeness to God. Sensing that this was a time of mercy, he pleads with Hashem to let him understand His ways, and requests of Him: “Let me behold Your presence” (Exodus 33:18). God’s response, however, is, “You cannot see My face, for man may not see Me and live” (ibid. verse 20). The Sages understand this request to see God’s face as a metaphor for Moshe’s plea to understand Hashem. In fact, the Sages of the Talmud (Berachot 7a) suggest that Moshe was specifically seeking the answer to the question of theodicy, wondering why bad things happen to good people and vice versa. This is indeed the question that bothers Iyov throughout his book, and continues to trouble us for eternity. However, as Moshe is told, we cannot comprehend the ways of God and might never understand the answer to this question as long as we are living.

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