Job – Chapter 14

Nobody's Perfekt

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Job continues his reply to Tzofar’s remarks:

“A person is born mortal, to a short and fearful life. As soon as he starts to thrive, he’s chopped down. You, G-d, want to bring me to judgment? It’s impossible for a person to be perfect. You have assigned man a certain number of days and a person cannot exceed them, no matter what he does. At the very least, let a person get through life without torment! A person is not like a tree that can re-grow branches. You can water a tree and refresh it, but a person withers and dies. He disappears altogether, like a river that has dried up – it’s just gone.”

“If only You, G-d, would just put me in my grave and leave me there until Your anger has passed. But when a person dies, that’s it – end of story. I will hope for life until I die. Call me, G-d, and I’ll respond. It’s like You want my soul back, so You’re hounding me to death. You’re smiting me with everything at once. Mountains that collapse and stones that are eroded may still have their uses, but when a person dies, his usefulness is over. You have removed him from the world. He’s not even aware of how his children fare after he dies. All that happens is that his flesh decomposes and his soul mourns.”

In short, Job concludes by saying that there’s only so good a mortal can possibly be. He posits that G-d is punishing him for failing to accomplish the impossible.

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