Job – Chapter 37

(Except For You, Apparently)

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Elihu concludes:

“Listen to the thunder, which is like the voice of G-d, and the lightning He sends to the ends of the Earth. G-d will not cease these functions because people pray for the rain. Thunder and lightning may be obvious phenomena, but how many marvelous things does G-d do about which we are completely unaware? He sends snow to the Earth, as well as light showers and heavy rains. When a person sins, he is effectively signing off on it himself so that he’ll understand for what he is being judged. G-d judges a person not only through the rains, but through wild animals, the cold, and more. The winds, which are like G-d’s breath, bring ice and floods. G-d has the clouds loaded with rainwater, which He distributes. The clouds are guided by G-d to dole out the rains as He deems appropriate, whether they will fall on faraway mountains or on the fields of man.”

“Listen up, Job! Be still and think about all of G-d’s wonders! Do you know how He distributes the rain? Can you comprehend how wise He must be to properly place the clouds across the sky? Do you know how your clothes are warmed when G-d turns away the cold winds? Do you share the ability to spread out the sky? If you’re all that, please tell the rest of us how to reply to G-d; we’re all incapable of doing that because (unlike you, apparently) we don’t fully comprehend the nature of G-d. No, G-d is not like a person who needs to be told things; G-d already knows them.”

At the end of his speech, Elihu addresses the fact that Job’s other three friends were ultimately unable to answer him.

“Your other three friends are like babies who never saw wisdom, like clouds swept away so that no rain comes – they started the job, but they were unable to finish it! We may not understand all that G-d is, but we do know that He is infinitely powerful and He does not burden His creatures unnecessarily. If He punishes someone, it is called for and appropriate for that person. This is why people (except for you, apparently) would be too in awe of G-d to engage Him in a debate. Even those who are wise by our standards have nothing to say in a debate before G-d.”

With this, Elihu concludes his remarks.

Verse 11 says that “Af B’ri” fills the clouds. The commentaries say that Af B’ri is the name of the angel to whom this task is delegated. “Af” in Hebrew is a word for anger, since rain can be used to punish mankind; B’ri is a word for healthy, since the rains can be a source of crops and nourishment.

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