Job – Chapter 3

Born Under A Bad Sign (If It Wasn't For Bad Luck, I Wouldn't Have No Luck At All)

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Job cried out that the day of his birth and the night of his conception should be removed from the calendar. No light should shine on those inauspicious occasions. There should be no rejoicing on the anniversary of those events. Let those who curse other days, such as a couple trying in vain to conceive (or perhaps a person bereaved of a spouse), add these days to the ones they already curse.

Job regrets that G-d did not shut his mother’s womb before he could be born. Why did he have to survive? If he had died at birth, he’d be at peace now, alongside mighty kings since the grave does not discriminate. Better yet, Job says, if he had been stillborn, he never would have suffered at all.

Yes, Job continues, the grave is the place to be. There, the wicked no longer perpetrate acts of evil, the tired get to rest and prisoners are not driven to labor. Everybody is equal there, so why should G-d give us a life of trouble instead of just sending us straight to the cemetery? Those who hope for death anticipate its arrival more than other people want to find treasure and they rejoice when they get it. This person feels so trapped that death is the only escape.

There’s no more joy in his life, Job says, only suffering. Everything he has ever feared has come to pass. Despite his worry and taking proper steps to avoid such catastrophes (such as offering sacrifices, as described in chapter 1), nevertheless all this happened to him.

In short, Job did not blame G-d per se for his troubles. Rather, he blamed the constellations, since he must have been “born under an unlucky star.” (Tacitly, this was blaming G-d because, if Job’s complaint were accurate, it still would have been G-d who delegated such things to the Heavenly spheres.)

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