The Jewish Eye
Part 7 - Perek 8: Bildad HaShuchi - No Pain No Gain
The debate continues, and Bildad the Shuchi now answers Iyov. Bildad agrees with the ideas of Eliphaz and expounds on them as well. "Can Hashem pervert judgment, or does He pervert justice?" Can we say that Hashem abandons the earth and does not watch over it? Man's problem with reconciling the suffering of the righteous is a mistake, because Hashem is faithful and always judges justly. Bildad also introduced the concept that Hashem brings suffering on the tzaddik even when he did not previously sin. He afflicts the tzaddik for his ultimate benefit, because eventually he'll enjoy increased prosperity from it. This concept can be illustrated by comparing it to a phenomenon in nature. If a plant is rooted in a rocky, desolate place, the gardener will uproot it from its place and plant it in a moist and rich environment. It's obvious that this uprooting is not for the plant's disadvantage, but for its ultimate good. However, not every plant can be uprooted and replanted. Plants that grow next to abundant water and are moist in nature cannot be uprooted because their roots will not take root again. Furthermore, if there is a lack of moisture, these plants dry up faster than other types of plants since they need so much moisture. This plant is compared to the rasha who indulges in many pleasures but is not uprooted from his place. Eventually, he will be taken from the world before his time. The tzaddik, however, will be uprooted from his place at times, and be afflicted with suffering, but this is for his ultimate benefit. It will plant him in more solid spiritual state, and in the future he'll enjoy increased prosperity.
The Alshich gleans an important lesson from the possuk, "Can Hashem pervert judgment or does He pervert justice?" The possuk first uses the word Kel for Hashem's name, and then the name Shakai in the second half of the possuk. Kel is the name of Hashem that describes His middah of rachamim, and Shakai describes the middah of justice. The first name of Hashem hints to Iyov that when Hashem was good to him, he had no questions about whether Hashem was being overly kind to him, or whether he was deserving of Hashem's kindness. In the same manner, when Hashem afflicts him, he must believe that Hashem is acting justly, and not accuse Hashem of acting too harshly.
"If your children sinned against Him, He sent them away in the hands of their sins."
Bildad stresses that Iyov's sorrows were caused by Hashgacha, and were not coincidences. Iyov's children made feasts every day, which surely led them to sin. In fact, the Metzudas Dovid says that Hashem ended their lives in the place of their sins - in the banquet house.
"If you seek Hashem and plead with him. If you are pure and upright, He will arouse [merit] for you, and complete your righteous home. And your beginning will be small, but your end will increase very much."
Bildad offers Iyov words of comfort. He implores Iyov to daven to Hashem to remove his suffering, and promises him that ultimately he'll enjoy great happiness.
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