There Was a Day When… Satan Also Came among Them
5) “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord.” “Now there was a day” is Rosh Hashanah [Hebrew, New Year’s Eve], when the Creator rises to judge the world. Thus, “Now there was a day when he came there.” That day is the day of Rosh Hashanah.
6) “When the sons of God came.” These are the appointed ministers, the emissaries in the world, watching over people’s deeds. “To present themselves before the Lord,” as it is written, “And all the host of heaven standing by Him on His right and on His left.” But in this text, “To present themselves before the Lord,” I have found the Creator’s love for Israel. Because these are emissaries appointed over watching over people’s actions, they wander and roam the world, gathering all the deeds, and in the coming judgment day, when the world is judged, they will become accusers, standing and accusing people. And of all the nations in the world, the appointees will not watch actions but only those of Israel, since they are the sons of the Creator.
7) And when Israel’s deeds are deemed improper, when these appointed emissaries wish to present Israel’s deeds, they present themselves before the Creator. This is so because when Israel do things that are not good, they seemingly diminish the force of the Creator. And when they do good deeds they give strength and power to the Creator. It is written about that, “Give strength to God.” With what do they give strength? With good deeds. This is why on that day, all the appointed ministers present themselves before the Creator. Certainly, “Before the Creator,” for because they have gathered to accuse Israel, they present themselves before the Creator, seemingly, to diminish His strength.
8) “And Satan came among them, too.” The word, “too,” implies the inclusion of the sons of God, since they all come to slander Israel. And Satan joins them because he is the biggest slanderer of all. Because the Creator saw that they all came to slander, the Creator immediately told Satan, since he was the biggest, “From where do you come?” Did the Creator not know where he was coming from that He needed to ask him? The answer is that He wished to please Satan, that by these words He gave him room to accuse as he wished.
9) “And the Lord said unto Satan… Then Satan answered the Lord.” “From roaming about on the earth.” Thus, inhabiting the land was given to the side of the others, to the seventy nations, except for the land of Israel, which is sanctified to Israel. Hence, when he said, “From roaming about on the earth,” which is the land of Israel, the Creator saw that he wanted to slander Israel, and not Job or others whom the nations—dwellers of the rest of the nations— appreciate. He promptly said unto Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job?”
10) He saw that now was the time to give Satan a piece to deal with and to stay away from Israel. It is like a shepherd who wished to take his sheep across a river, and a wolf came to prowl on the sheep. The experienced shepherd took a big he-goat and gave it to the wolf, saying, “Let it struggle with the goat until I take my sheep across the river, and then I will come back and take this one, too.” This is what the Creator did, giving Job to Satan, to deal with him and to not slander Israel. And Satan promptly dealt with him and did not slander Israel.
11) “Then Satan answered the Lord.” It is not surprising with a servant whose master does his will, that he fears him. Remove Your providence from him and You will see if he fears You or not.
12) In a time of trouble, when a piece is given to this side to deal with, it then completely moves away. Similarly, when sacrificing a scapegoat on the beginning of a month and on the Day of Atonement, a piece is given to the Sitra Achra to deal with, so it will leave Israel in their kingdom. But here came the time to take this share for the Sitra Achra from the whole of Abraham’s seed, as it is written, “Behold, Milcah, too, has borne children…Uz his firstborn.” And Job was in the land of Uz, meaning he was from Abraham’s family.
13) When Satan said to the Creator, “From roaming in the earth,” he asked of the Creator to pass judgment on Israel. This is because just a land is the land of Israel, and he had the judgment over Abraham and he collected from the Creator, since the judgment was not carried out on Isaac when he was sacrificed at the altar because he did not have a substitute for the sacrifice he had prepared on the altar with the ram. But here Isaac was already on the altar and was fully made into a sacrifice, but the judgment was not executed in him. And he asked the Creator for this, as he asked for judgment on selling Joseph for several generations, and all that Satan asks for, he asks justly.
14) And from the time Isaac was saved and was replaced in the sacrifice, the Creator has been preparing Job—who lived in the land of Uz—for that slanderer. This is said immediately after the binding of Isaac. But here, in the birth of Uz, Satan came to take his share from all of Abraham’s seed, and he will not come near to harm Israel.
15) It is all in just judgment. As Job sentenced, so he was sentenced. Job was among Pharaoh’s counselors. And when Pharaoh rose against Israel and wanted to kill them, Job told him, “No, take their money and rule their bodies with hard work, and don’t kill them.” The Creator told him, “You will be sentenced to the same sentence that you passed over Israel.” What does it say? “However, put forth Your hand now, and touch his bone.” As he sentenced Israel, so he himself will be sentenced, even though in all other things he feared the Creator.
16) “But spare his soul.” He was given dominion over his flesh, as it is written, “The end of all flesh has come before Me.” “The end of all flesh” is the destroying Satan. “Come before Me,” to receive permission, which is the meaning of, “The end of all flesh.” It is not called, “The end of all spirit,” which is an end that comes from the side of darkness— male judgments. “And to the farthest limit” is like, “to all flesh,” since there is another end, the end of the right, in holiness. And the one here is another end, which comes from the left— darkness. This is why he was given permission to hurt his bone and his flesh.
17) Was he not punished justly, but rather due to the words of the slanderer, who incited and diverted Him? Indeed, it was all justly done: he was sentenced as he sentenced Israel with Pharaoh.
18) The words, “Although you incited Me against him to ruin him without cause” do not mean, “you incited Me to swallow him,” but “you incited Me against him.” “Against him” is in His mind—what He thinks. “Although you incited Me,” as Job said, “and shine upon the counsel of the wicked.” Similarly, “But they deceived Him with their mouth and lied to Him with their tongue.” This is difficult, as well, for can the Creator be seduced? However, it did not say, “But they deceived Him and lied to Him,” but only, “But they deceived Him with their mouth.” It is with their mouths that He was seduced, that they think so, when it is really not so.
19) But can he slander before the Creator, who knows everything? Yes, because he is an old and foolish king, as it is written, “A poor… lad is better than an old and foolish king.” And because he is king over people, he can slander man, since he is the people’s trustee. That is, being king over them, he is their trustee.
20) This concerns only the sentence of an individual. But concerning the sentence of the world, it is written, “And the Lord came down to see.” “I will go down and see,” so he was not given faith, but he is in the hands of the Creator alone, since He did not wish to destroy the world according to the words of the slanderer, whose desire is always to destroy. How do we know this? It is written, “Man puts an end to darkness and to the farthest limit he searches out.” He searches to destroy everything, which is, “The end of all flesh has come before Me,” that Satan, called, “The end of all flesh,” has certainly come to destroy.
21) It has been explained that in the beginning of the year, two sides stand opposite the world. All those who come before the Creator with repentance and good deeds are rewarded with being written on the side of life, which produces results of life. And those who are from that side are written to life. And all those who come with bad deeds, to put people to death, are written on the other side, which is death, called “death,” and where death lies.
22) And on that day, these two sides—life and death—stand. There are those who are written to the side of life, and those who are written to the side of death, and sometimes the world is in between, half sinner and half righteous. If a righteous is found, he sentences the world and all stand and are written to life. But if a sinner sentences the world, all are written to death.
23) At that time, the world was in between, half sinner and half righteous. And the slanderer wished to accuse the world and sentence the world to a scale of sin. Promptly, it says, “Have thou considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth.” Since he was set apart, the slanderer instantly attacked him. Hence, one should not exclude oneself from the public so he will not be noted specifically and will not be slandered above.
24) It is written about the Shunammite that she said, “I dwell among my own people.” This means that if one does not wish to exclude oneself from the public, “I dwell among my own people,” to this day. “Among my own people” means I will be known above in one collective. And here, with Job, since he was known and noted above, the slanderer immediately charged him and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing?” He does not fear You and strengthens in good deeds for nothing, as it is written, “Have You not made a hedge about him?” But take away that goodness that You have given him and you will immediately see, “he will surely curse You to Your face,” will leave You and cling to the other side. Now there is food on Your table. Remove Your table from him and we will see from whom he is and to which side he clings.
25) He immediately said unto Satan, “All that he has is in your hands,” to show that Job’s fear of the Creator was to maintain his wealth. We learn from this that all those who fear the Creator for their wealth or for their sons, it is not proper fear. This is why the slanderer said, “Does Job fear God for nothing?” as it is written, “Have You not made a hedge about him?” You blessed his deeds and this is why he fears You. And then he was given permission to accuse him and to show that Job was not serving the Creator out of love.
26) Because he was tested, he departed the way and did not maintain his firmness. What does it say? “Through all this Job did not sin” with his lips, though he did sin in his will. Later, he sinned in all, as it is written, “the earth is given into the hand of the wicked.”
27) And should you say that no other man but Job was tested, it is written, “The Lord tries the righteous.” For this reason, Job, too, was tested. And even though he did not remain properly firm, he did not exit the domain of his Master to adhere unto the other side.
28) How long was his trial? The government of the other side is twelve months, as it is written, “the sentence of the wicked in hell is twelve months. And because he did not cling unto the other side, it is written, “The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning.”
29) Job’s is not a trial from the Creator, as are the trials of the rest of the righteous, since it is not written, “And God tried Job,” as it is written, “God tested Abraham.” Abraham sacrificed his only son to the Creator with his own hand, whereas Job gave nothing and passed nothing unto the Creator.
30) And he was not told of the test, as was Abraham, since it was evident to him that he would not be able to properly endure it. Instead, he was given to the hands of the accuser. Moreover, it was done by the Creator’s sentence, for having inflicted Israel with hard labor in Egypt. Thus, the Creator drew the attention of the slanderer to this sentence, as it is written, “Have you noticed My servant Job?”
31) “So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought.” It writes, “in the course of time,” not “in the course of right” [in Hebrew the difference is only one letter], since “in the course of time” is the Sitra Achra and “in the course of right” is holiness. This is so because he rejected “in the course of right” and moved closer to “in the course of time.” It is written, “But go thy way till the end.” And Daniel said, “To which end, the end of right or the end of time?” And the Creator answered him, “The end of right,” which is in holiness. This is also what David feared, when he said, “Lord, make me know my end,” the end of time or the end of right? And what does it say here? “So it came about in the course of time,” which is in the Sitra Achra, and not in the course of right, which is in holiness. Hence, his offering was not accepted, since it was from the Sitra Achra.
32) “And Abel, too, brought.” What is “too”? “Too” is including, for he, too, brought a little to the Sitra Achra, as did Cain, but his offering was all for the Creator, for the offering was essentially to the Creator, and he gave a piece to the other side, as it is written, “And from their fat.” This means that he offered the majority of the sacrifice, the fat, to the Creator, and gave the bad part to the Sitra Achra. But Cain gave the majority of the offering to the course of time, which is the Sitra Achra, and gave a share to the Creator; hence, it was not accepted.
33) It is written about Job, “And his sons used to go and hold a feast… When the days of feasting had completed their cycle.” The slanderer was at the feast every day, and he could not prevail over him, because it is written, “Have You not made a hedge about him, and about his house?” Thus, he never gave a share to the Sitra Achra, because it is written, “And offering burnt offerings according to the number of them all.” And the offering rose up and he did not give a share to the Sitra Achra. Had he given him a share, Satan would have been unable to prevail over him later. All that Satan took from him was of his own, since he did not give him a share of his offerings.
34) Why did the Creator harm him because he did not give a share to Satan? Had he given his share to the Sitra Achra, he would have cleared the way for holiness, since the Sitra Achra would depart from the Temple and the holy side would soar upwards. But he did not do so, and this is why the Creator sought to have judgment over him.
35) Just as he separated and did not include good and bad when he did not give a share to the Sitra Achra, in order to purify the holiness, He sentenced him similarly—first giving him good, then bad, and subsequently bringing him back to the good. And so it should be; man should know the good and know the bad, and to bring himself back to the good. This is the secret of faith, Nukva. Job was of Pharaoh’s servants, which is why it is written about him, “He that feared the word of the Lord among the servants of Pharaoh.”
— Zohar with Sulam commentary, Parshat Bo