Rabbi Elazar opened [his discourse] by saying: "Now there was a day when the sons of Elokim came to present themselves before Havayah, and the Adversary came also among them." (Job 1:6) "Now there was a day," refers to Rosh Hashanah, the day that G‑d rises to judge the world. Similarly, "And it happened one day, that he came there." (II Kings 4:11) That day was the holy day of Rosh Hashanah.1

"And the sons of Elokim came." These are the appointed ministers
[who stand before the Heavenly Court and their] appointees [who responsible for supervising all the actions of people] and the messengers [who are sent by G‑d] whose mission in the world is to observe [and record] the actions of people. "To present themselves before G‑d," as is written [that Micah the prophet described to King Achav how he saw G‑d sitting on his throne]: "And all the hosts of heaven standing by Him on His right hand [the defending angels] and on His left [the accusers]." (I Kings 22:19)

[there is another explanation for the verse], "To present themselves before G‑d": here we find the love of G‑d towards Israel [that all those who take a stand against Israel are as if standing against G‑d]. These messengers who are appointed to observe the actions of people wander around and see all their actions, and on the day that judgment rises to judge the world, they take these actions to become accuser of [sinful] people.

Come and see, of all of the nations of the world
[these angelic ministers] stand to watch only over the activities of Israel, for [only] they are the children of the Holy One, blessed be He. [The rest of the nations aren't considered important enough that their activities be supervised like those of Israel, for Israel are holy and G‑d's children, and their souls are a G‑dly portion from Above. If they are righteous, they cause a unification Above and if Heaven forefend they are sinful, they cause a blemish Above. Thus the essence of the supernal guidance is on them. Another reason is that the condemners are jealous of Israel and seek to cause them disgrace in the eyes of their Father in Heaven.]

When the actions of the children of Israel are found to be improper, these appointed messengers stand to condemn these actions
[it is thought as if] they stand above G‑d. ['al" translated as 'before' literally means 'above'] For when the children of Israel perform improper actions, they weaken, so to speak, G‑d's strength. When they perform good actions, they give might and power to G‑d [by the elevation of Feminine Waters which are needed for supernal union]. Of this, it is written: "Give strength to Elokim" (Ps. 68:35) [to malchut, which is called Elokim]." How? By doing good actions which give Him strength. Therefore, all the ministers appointed on the world's supervision gather 'al/by G‑d' on that day (of Rosh Hashanah). 'al/against' G‑d most certainly, for by gathering against Israel, it is as though they have gathered against G‑d.

"The Adversary also came among them."2 The word "also" is added to show that they all came to accuse Israel, and he
[Satan] also joined them because he was the greatest slanderer and accuser of them all. As soon as G‑d saw that they all came to accuse [Israel], immediately, "And G‑d said to the Adversary: 'From where do you come?'" (Job 1:7) Did G‑d not know where he came from? Rather the question was only to bring the matter [to take shape] according to His will [and thoughts as will be shown]. Then the Adversary answered G‑d and said, 'From going wandering and roaming in the land [to search out people's actions very well]." (Job 1:7) From here I learned that the countries of the world are given over to Other Side [each having one of the 70 ministers to rule over it] except for the land of Israel exclusively [as it says: "the eyes of G‑d your G‑d are always looking on her." (Deut. 11.12)] As soon as the Accuser said, "From going to and fro in the land [of Israel]" G‑d saw that the Satan wanted to slander Israel [and not the other nations]. Immediately, "G‑d said to the Adversary, 'Have you considered [to also condemn] my servant Job, that there is none like him on earth...'" (Ibid. 1:8) [that the Satan found no wrong in Job's actions, since he didn't search there]. He thus mentioned Job and distracted the Satan's attention from Israel.

BeRahamim LeHayyim: Why did the Ari and Chida include this section? What do they want us to learn?

Here is another example of a distraction, of running interference in front of the Satan. Sort of incredible that G‑d's most loyal and cunning servant could be fooled by a ruse such as letting him go at Job with all he got! The judgment of Job actually came some 6 months earlier on Rosh Hashanah. The decree however was abated until when we crossed the Sea of Reeds.

What this means is that there is more than meets the eye. Who knows why it may appear that we are being judged at a certain time in a certain manner? We could be working out some past life drama or we could be dealing with some fairly recent blemishes. All we know for sure is that Rosh Hashanah is Judgment Day par excellence, and our job for the world in general and ourselves in particular is to create a groundswell to move the King from his Throne of Judgment to his Throne of Mercy.

An essential first step is to not judge our fellow poorly—lean him to the scale of mercy, give him the benefit of the doubt, find some merit in him even if his actions seem problematic. That was the work of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev, who defended us Jews from what appeared to be sins, iniquities, and transgressions. What comes around, goes around...we are told that on our own personal judgment day, we will be shown a movie of someone's behavior and asked to judge him. Guess what! We give a verdict on ourselves! So the time to start that healthy mind train on judging our fellow positively is now, before it is too late.

What does the above mean for your teshuva, and why is it revealed now?

Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
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