Have you an arm like God’s?

Can you thunder with a voice like His? Then even I would praise you for the triumph you right hand won you

Professor Gerald Aranoff,

Judaism Prof. G. Aranoff
Prof. G. Aranoff

We read in the Haggadah:

“This is what has stood by our fathers and us! For not just one alone has risen against us to destroy us, but in every generation they rise against us to destroy us; and the Holy One, blessed be He, saves us from their hand!”

In his excellent commentary on the Haggadah the Malbim cites here Berachoth 9a-b:

“Tell דבר נא the people to borrow, each man from his neighbor and each woman from hers, objects of silver and gold.” (Exodus 11:2). In the school of R. Jannai they said: The word נא means: I pray. The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moses: I pray of thee, go and tell Israel, I pray of you to borrow from the Egyptians vessels of silver and vessels of gold, so that this righteous man [Abraham] may not say: “but I will execute judgment on the nation they shall serve, and in the end they shall go free with great wealth” (Genesis 15:14). And they shall serve them, and they shall afflict them He did fulfill for them, but afterward shall they come out with great substance, He did not fulfill for them. They said to him: If only we could get out with our lives!

A parable: [They were] like a man who was kept in prison and people told him: To-morrow, they will release you from the prison and give you plenty of money. And he answered them: I pray of you, let me go free today and I shall ask nothing more!”

The Israelites were suffering terribly as slaves in Egypt for 210 years and were longing for their freedom.  At the Burning Bush, the Bible records a curious conversation between God and Moses.  

“Moses said to God, When I come to the Israelites and say to them, The God of your fathers has sent me to you, and they ask me, What is His name? what shall I say to them? And God said to Moses, Ehyeh-Asher- Ehyeh. He continued, Thus shall you say to the Israelites, Ehyeh sent me to you. And God said further to Moses, Thus shall you speak to the Israelites: The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you: This shall be My name forever” (Exodus 3:13-15). 

God’s name Ehyeh-Asher- Ehyeh hints at future troubles.  This bothers Moses. God allows Moses to say “Ehyeh sent me to you.”

Moses Wrote the Book of Job

Baba Bathra 14b states: “Who wrote the Scriptures? Moses wrote his own book and the portion of Balaam [The parables of Balaam in Numbers 23,24] and Job.’’

In the Book of Job, God answers Job’s complaints on injustice in the world by telling Job to use his strength to fight evil: 

“Would you impugn My justice? Would you condemn Me that you may be right? Have you an arm like God’s? Can you thunder with a voice like His? Deck yourself now with grandeur and eminence; Clothe yourself in glory and majesty. Scatter wide your raging anger; See every proud man and bring him low. See every proud man and humble him, And bring them down where they stand. Bury them all in the earth; Hide their faces in obscurity. Then even I would praise you For the triumph your right hand won you.” (Job 40:7-14).

The Zohar on Heaven and Hell and Divine Justice

The Zohar writes on Job and on Heaven and Hell. Zohar Vayeze 160b:

“R. Judah discoursed on the verse “Have the gates of death been disclosed to you? Have you seen the gates of deep darkness? (Job 38:17) God, he said, addressed these words to Job when He saw him perplexed by the problem of Divine justice. Job had said “He may well slay me; I may have no hope; Yet I will argue my case before Him” (Job 13:15). The word lo is written with an aleph, meaning not, and is read as with a vau, meaning in Him. God said in reply to him: Am I the one that kills the sons of men? Have the gates of death been revealed to thee? And seest thou the gates of the shadows of death? There are ever so many gates open on that side, over which death rules, hidden away from the sons of men, who know them not. There are here mentioned both death and the shadow of death. These are a pair, the one being the angel of death, the other his rider, who also is his protecting shadow and strength, the two being linked together and forming but one being. All the grades that issue from them and are attached to them form their gates.

Corresponding to the gates on high, of which it is written “O gates, lift up your heads! Up high, you everlasting doors, so the King of glory may come in” (Psalms 24:7). And which are called rivers and brooks flowing through the six directions of the world, there are these gates of death and the shadow of death emanating from the other side, forming certain grades that rule over the world. The gates of death and the gates of the shadow of death are female and male combined into one. Hence, in answer to Job's complaints “As a cloud fades away, So whoever goes down to Sheol does not come up; (Job 7:9) and so forth, God said to him: Are those gates revealed unto thee as being all in my power, and destined one day to be destroyed from off the world, as it is written: “He will destroy death forever. My Lord God will wipe the tears away From all faces And will put an end to the reproach of His people Over all the earth— For it is the Lord who has spoken” (Isaiah 25:8).

There is little in the Bible on gates of death---Hell, and on gates on high everlasting doors---Heaven. My theory is that Job cannot impugn God’s justice because he has never seen Hell or Heaven. Christian and Islam theologies have considerable detail on Hell and Heaven which is entirely absent in teachings of Moses from Mount Sinai. Moses warns us not to forsake God and not to break God’s covenant. If we do then God will withdraw

His protection and evil will come: 

“The Lord said to Moses: You are soon to lie with your fathers. This people will thereupon go astray after the alien gods in their midst, in the land that they are about to enter; they will forsake Me and break My covenant that I made with them. Then My anger will flare up against them, and I will abandon them and hide My countenance from them. They shall be ready prey; and many evils and troubles shall befall them. And they shall say on that day, “Surely it is because our God is not in our midst that these evils have befallen us.” (Deuteronomy 31:16-17)

The prophecy of Isaiah 25:8 the Zohar cites is so powerful, that God will destroy the gates of death forever.  What are we to do until then? I support Mordecai Kedar’s call to Donald Trump to give a 48 hour ultimatum to Assad, the madman of Syria.

See /Articles/Article.aspx/20358

I’m a Trump supporter.  I say Donald Trump fit the bill of Job chapter 40 “Have you an arm like God’s? Can you thunder with a voice like His?...Then even I would praise you for the triumph you right hand won you.” 

He said: "My fellow Americans: Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad launched a horrible chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians. Using a deadly nerve agent, Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women, and children. It was a slow and brutal death for so many. Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack. No child of God should ever suffer such horror. Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched."