Why did Iyov (Job) err in the calculation of the Egyptian exile? How did “in Succot” calm him down?
Below is the Daily Ma’amar of our Rebbe Rav Eliezer Berland shlit”a, courtesy of the “Hashem Hu HaElokim” leaflet:
When Iyov saw the verse “in Succot” “in Succot” “in Succot,” then he was calmed down.
Because Iyov had a tremendous quandary: Why does Hashem change His word every time?! Here Hashem said to Avraham: “Your offspring will be aliens in a land not their own, and they will serve them, and they will oppress them — four hundred years,” and on that basis, Iyov, who was among Pharaoh’s three advisors, said to Pharaoh that you have nothing to fear, because the God of the Hebrews will take vengeance on you for the enslavement and back-breaking labor only after 400 years. Because every 20 years is a generation, and every twenty years, children are born, and what will be in another 400 years — which is 20 generations, this already is not your concern, and you have nothing to be concerned with what will be in another 20 generations. Like this Iyov explained to Pharaoh, and mamash calmed him down, that he could with a settled mind oppress Israel and enslave them, and also make a terrible decree that “every male child born, thrown him into the river.”
“And also the nation that they will serve, I will judge” — this he could leave with a settled mind for the coming generations, in another 20 generations after 400 years.
And so Pharaoh did as such, and relied on the promise of Iyov, who was also a prophet and knew many prophecies. And behold, suddenly Iyov is notified that the Jewish people are already leaving Egypt, after 210 years, and Egypt is receiving terrible plagues, as the sorcerers said to Pharaoh, “Do you not yet know that Egypt is lost” and stands to be erased from the map.
And then Iyov asked Hashem: What did You do this to me, to change from Your word, and I remained dumbfounded and perplexed, embarrassed, and a liar?!
Hashem answered him: “in Succot” “in Succot” “in Succot” — like with the Succah, I commanded four walls, and constricted this to two and a tefach [one handbreadth], so to I did with the decree “400 years” — I constricted this to two hundred years opposite two walls, and another tefach — ten years.