|Contents by Subject||
Contents in Alphabetical Order
Proverbs 10:1-5 Wisdom, Work, and
Proverbs 10:6-8 The First Step to Self-Liberation.
[Proverbs 10:6] Blessings are on the head of the righteous,
But violence covers the mouth of the wicked.
There is a subtle play on words here.
The translation above is correct but the Hebrew lends itself to double meanings that are also linguistically accurate.
We may paraphrase the Hebrew as saying:
Blessings go to the head of the righteous one.
A righteous person gives blessings. That is his preoccupation, the thing that he does first.
That is the first thing to come from him, what he receives, and gives to others.
Here the term "righteous" is "Tsadik". A Tsadik is a holy man. The term Tsadik was especially applicable to someone who held themselves back from
Yosef ha-Tsadik or Joseph the Tsadik is a title often given to Joseph.
violence. In Hebrew Hamas or Chamas meaning violence, oppression, extortion by force.
The Muslim movement named Hamas is pronounced the same way.
In Arabic it connotes "enthusiasm" and is an acronym for words meaning
the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party
Whatever its intended meaning might be in Arabic how it comes out in Hebrew (wicked senseless violence) happens to be an accurate description of what it is!!
Hamas rules over Gaza. The Hamas ruling Charter is an anti-Jewish Conspiracy Theory tract!
Hamas is bad and evil, just like the Nazis. May they all rot in their own evil.
The second part of the verse said:
# But violence covers the mouth of the wicked. #
Everything they say leads to wickedness and the oppression of others.
It will stick in their mouths, as the Commendatory of Rashi explains, they will choke on it.
Evil buries itself.
[Proverbs 10:7] The memory of the righteous is blessed,
But the name of the wicked will rot.
Good people will be remembered well and bad ones will be cursed if they are remembered at all.
In Hebrew it goes even further and may be paraphrased:
The Memory of a Righteous One brings a Blessing, but the name of evildoers will decay.
Those who are in the grave are influenced by how they are remembered.
The good you do today will live on long after you are gone.
[Proverbs 10:8] The wise in heart will receive commands,
But a prating fool will fall.
The word for commands in Hebrew is Mitsvot which may mean not only commandments but good deeds in general.
a prating fool in English is someone who talks idly.
In Hebrew the word is "Evil". There are two Hebrew words that are spelt differently but sound similar and have related meanings.
One is "AVEL" or "Evil" (with an Aleph the equivalent of amongst any English vowel but usually given as "A") which means Criminally Irresponsible, overduly foolish.
The other is "Evil" (with an ayin) which has a guttural sound which is sometimes barely noticeable and sounds like the English "a" or "e".
This means unjust, evil.
It is probably the source of our own English word "evil".
will fall. In Hebrew "sfatayim yilovet" meaning literally his lips will stand out, be exposed.
A person who is willfully foolish is akin to a criminal. He will talk and talk and expose his own stupidity that he himself is responsible for.
We are responsible for ourselves and with the help of Heaven can better ourselves and each other and the situation in general.
Rabbaynu Yonah points out that an evil person is a fool. He becomes a "sucker" of his own lower instincts.
Rabbaynu Yonah explains "yilovet" (will stand out) here to mean "make stupid".
He quotes the use of the same expression in Hosea 4:14:
#Therefore people who do not understand will be trampled.#
Here "yilovet" has been translated to mean "who do not understand".
The whole verse says:
14 I will not punish your daughters when they commit harlotry,
Nor your brides when they commit adultery;
For the men themselves go apart with harlots,
And offer sacrifices with a ritual harlot.
Therefore people who do not understand will be trampled.
The point is that we should not make ourselves prisoners of others.
We should free ourselves from the oppression and bondage that lust and foolishness bring upon us.
This may sound easy but it can be terribly difficult for those who get caught up in negative social connections, bad environments, and retrogressive thought patterns.
The Almighty promises us that if we begin the journey back to HIM, HE will come forward to greet us.
3 Therefore say to them, Thus says the Lord of hosts: Return to Me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts.
We need to take the first step.
Proverbs 10:9-15. Some Good Advice and Discretion.
[Proverbs 10:9] He who walks with integrity walks securely,
But he who perverts his ways will become known.
with integrity. Hebrew "be-tom" in innocence and wholesomeness.
The Hebrew word "be-" means in, with. It gives us the English words "be, by".
"be-tom" in innocence and wholesomeness.
Also Hebrew "be-tom" i.e. in tameness, be civilized.
The Hebrew word "tom" probably is the source of the English "tame".
Do not act like a wild-person. Be predictable and accessible to others.
Honesty is the Best Policy might sound like an old-fashioned corny platitude but it is correct.
Not only is it the best policy but it is also the easiest and the most efficient.
In the long run everything becomes known.
You are what you are. Things are as they seem in the long run.
A poem by Sir Walter Scott says:
Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practise to deceive!
Sir Walter Scott, Marmion, Canto vi. Stanza 17.
Scottish author & novelist (1771 - 1832)
Deceit often requires the expenditure of energy and all kinds of involved convoluted unworkable contrivances that are just not worth it.
What is more, sooner or later everything becomes known!!
Some things should not be said. You do not have to become a compulsive pathological lier but neither do you have to tell everything.
You can change the facts on occasion to avoid unnecessary embarrassment or harm to yourself or others. Others do not have to know your private affairs or anything else you do not wish them to.
Debate your case with your neighbor,
And do not disclose the secret to another (Proverbs 25:9).
From the Hebrew this could also be translated literally as:
# Argue your case thoroughly with your neighbor but the secret of another do not reveal !!!#
Do not say things you are liable to regret or that could hurt others.
Be careful not to disclose matters you have received in confidence or that simply concern other people and that could discomfit them.
[Proverbs 10:10] He who winks with the eye causes trouble,
But a prating fool will fall.
Winking with the eye is associated with relaying a message that others do not know about or that should not be said aloud.
"A dirty little secret" is told with a wink.
We need to refine ourselves. Some things we do not have to do, and others are not worth knowing.
We do not have to share the same lower levels that a know-it-all may decide for us.
Beware of high-pressure salesman. They are liable to sell you things you do not want for a price you would not have wished to pay.
We encountered the second part of this verse in [Proverbs 10:8] ,
# The wise in heart will receive commands, But a prating fool will fall. #
will fall. In Hebrew "sfatayim yilovet" meaning literally his lips will stand out, be exposed.
Listen to others and take heed when you have to.
The Torah is the Source of life. God wants you to live a life worth living. Do HIS will.
[Proverbs 10:11] The mouth of the righteous is a well of life,
But violence covers the mouth of the wicked.
When you say something try to be encouraging.
You can do a lot of good just by speaking well and optimistically.
People will like you for it.
Wicked people say wicked things and cause trouble to themselves and others.
[Proverbs 10:12] Hatred stirs up strife,
But love covers all sins.
Sometimes hate may be justified but it should be the last option.
It may be that you are in the right and most others in the wrong.
It does not matter.
You should look after yourself:
That means surrounding yourself with as much support and sympathy as possible that you will have earned by doing good to others and using your words of mouth for good.
If you are going through a stage where it is difficult to be with others turn to God.
Pray and learn the Bible and you will receive positive energy.
This will be felt by others and help you.
A little bit of light drives out a lot of darkness.
[Proverbs 10:13] Wisdom is found on the lips of him who has understanding,
But a rod is for the back of him who is devoid of understanding.
We have to try to understand reality and other people. Misunderstandings often cause unnecessary resentment and contention.
Do not hurry to reach conclusions. You may keep your ears open but that does not mean accepting everything you hear without checking first.
Be understanding towards others.
The French say, "To understand is to forgive" This may not quite be so but it has something to it.
You may be held responsible for negativity caused by lack of effort on your part to make things better.
Understand others, hearken to them and to the reality around you.
People are on your side.
If they are not the Almighty will help you if you ask HIM to.
[Proverbs 10:14] Wise people store up knowledge,
But the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.
Learn things, notice what is going on.
Learn from mistakes. This is a source of strength.
[Proverbs 10:15] The rich man's wealth is his strong city;
The destruction of the poor is their poverty.
Wealth is power. It is the fortress of the richman and the means whereby he may be saved from troubles.
Poverty is often self-propagating. It may become a vicious cycle.
A poor person is vulnerable. Poor people are often exploited and robbed even though they are the ones who should be most left alone.
Rashi takes this advice both literally and as a Parable: Biblical Knowledge and Wisdom (Torah) should be stored up. It is a treasure that will help you in your hour of need.
Those who lack it are like a poverty-stricken pauper who has nothing to fend for himself with.
Proverbs 10:16-17: Heed Reproof and Live!
[Proverbs 10:16] The labor of the righteous leads to life,
The wages of the wicked to sin.
The translation is correct but other meanings are implied.
Pa-oolot [The work] Tsadik [Rigtheous] le-Chayim [for Life].
Righteous action will give you life and vitality.
Life and quality of life is an outcome of doing what is right and necessary.
Tevuot [the bringing in, or harvest] Rasha [evil] le-Chatat [for sin].
The word translated as sin is Chatat from the root "ChTA" connoting lack, miss.
If you do evil both sin and a lacking of what is needed will be the ongoing result.
Rabaynu Yonah explains the verse to mean that whatever a good person does in the end will have success and bring life.
The opposite pertains to an evildoer.
Rashi quotes a Midrash that this verse was applicable to King Solomon who built the Temple.
Building the Temple was a righteous deed and through it obtained atonement for their sins.
King Manasseh of Judah did evil by placing an idol in the Sanctuary and this caused transgression and disasters.
[Proverbs 10:17] He who keeps instruction is in the way of life,
But he who refuses correction goes astray.
This may alternatively be translated as saying:
A Way of Life is encompassed by Keeping Reproof [as Valuable]
He who abandons [disregards] remonstration will lead astray others and be led astray themself.
The Malbim points out that in leaving the righteous path, evil and death will automatically come in.
Good brings a blessing, evil a curse.
To do good one needs to learn about it.
It is needed to heed correction and learns from one's own past mistakes and those of others.
No-one likes to be preached to or admonished. Nevertheless it happens that others or perhaps merely life experiences in general have brought home to us the severity of mistakes we may have made.
The admonishers may be wrong, or only partly correct.
Even so, we should listen and derive benefit from what we can.
Proverbs 10:18-21. The Power of Words.
[Proverbs 10:18] Whoever hides hatred has lying lips,
And whoever spreads slander is a fool.
Rabaynu Yonah ties the two halves of this verse together:
A sychophant may well be concealing a real hatred towards the one he (and often she) flatters.
At the same time one does not need to tell the world everything that might be wrong with somebody else.
Life can be difficult. It is usually better not to say anything but there are exceptions.
We should pray to God and learn the Bible and so be guided in moment-to-moment decisions.
[Proverbs 10:19] In the multitude of words sin is not lacking,
But he who restrains his lips is wise.
This is it. Hold yourself back. If you must say something that is problematic avoid saying too much.
[Proverbs 10:20] The tongue of the righteous is choice silver;
The heart of the wicked is worth little.
A good person is worth listening to.
The tongue of the righteous is choice silver. This may also be translated from the Hebrew as meaning,
As valuable as the finest silver is a righteous tongue.
The heart of the wicked is worth little. Wicked people make bad friends. Qualities spill over. Someone who is good in one area will also be good in another and the opposite.
We sometimes tolerate the company of wicked persons. We may have little choice in the matter. Nevertheless we should be aware the not a great deal of good is to be expected from them.
On the contrary. Even when they try and do you a favor it may work out badly.
[Proverbs 10:21] The lips of the righteous feed many,
But fools die for lack of wisdom.
The word translated here as "feed" is "Yir-a-oo". This may also mean shepherd, guide.
A righteous person may merit to give good advice to many people, help and guid them.
The word for "fools" in the Hebrew here is "evilim" connoting criminally irresponsible.
Rabaynu Yonah explains that because of their bad nature they do not accept the good advice that others offer them. Later they suffer because of it.
Who Was Rabaynu Yonah?
(Rabaynu, i.e. Our Rabbi, Yonah, d. 1263).
Rabaynu Yonah is the author of a commentary on Proverbs we find to be very appropriate and insightful.
His commentary follows closely after the Hebrew Text and shows a deep comprehension of the intended message of the Hebrew original.
Another work written by Rabaynu Yonah is the Shaarei Teshuvah (Gates of Repentance) which is a Classic of Exhortation and for centuries has been studied intensely in Yeshivot.
He was a leading Rabbi in Spain in the 1200s. This was about two hundred years before the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain. At that time Spain was a center of Jewish scholarship.
At the beginning of his Rabbinical career Rabaynu Yonah Girondi had participated in a public condemnation of Maimonides. For the rest of his life he regretted this action and tried to atone for it.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Yonah Gerondi came from Girona, in Catalonia [Spain]. .. became one of the great Talmudical teachers of his time. In all his lectures he made a point of quoting from Maimonides, always mentioning his name with great reverence.
Gerondi left many works, of which only a few have been preserved.
But the fame of Gerondi chiefly rests on his moral and ascetic works, which, it is surmised, he wrote to atone for his earlier attacks on Maimonides and to emphasize his repentance. His Iggeret ha-Teshuvah, Shaare Teshuvah, and Sefer ha-Yir'ah belong to the standard Jewish ethical works of the Middle Ages, and are still popular among Orthodox Jewish preachers.
Proverbs 10:22-24. We May Get What is Coming.
[Proverbs 10:22] The blessing of the Lord makes one rich,
And He adds no sorrow with it.
makes one rich. Hebrew "ta-ashir" in the future tense.
And He adds no sorrow with it. The word for "sorrow" here is "etsev".
Rabbi Shimshon Rafael Hirsch says that etsev is from a root connoting hold back, renounce.
In colloquial Hebrew words from this root such "atsavim" means nerves, "atsbani" irritable.
As a verb "la-atzav" means to form, to give shape to.
In the Bible "atsavim" connotes idols.
17 Ephraim is joined to idols,
Let him alone.
"Ephraim is joined to idols" in Hebrew, "Havur [Union] Etzavim [of Idols] Ephraim" which has a double meaning also implying "Ephraim is a union of idols." The Rabbis (Midrash Tanchuma) said that the verse hinted at Ephraim being unified even though they were idolaters. By virtue of this unity (say the Sages) he is still formidable, "LET HIM ALONE."
Anyway, Proverbs 10:22 says that God gives riches and when HE does there is no extra attachment with them.
There is no price to pay, at least nothing we would not be prepared for.
This is unlike the favors and benefits bestowed by human beings that sometimes come with strings attached.
Alternately it is unlike the wages of sin that often take out of us in our health or in the welfare of our dear ones or in other ways something we would not have wanted.
[Proverbs 10:23] To do evil is like sport to a fool,
But a man of understanding has wisdom.
Reprobates full of lust sometimes chortle with joy over the prospect of doing what should not be done.
A man of understanding knows it is not worth it. He also understands that the best policy is a good one, good for others and good for himself.
This is wisdom.
[Proverbs 10:24] The fear of the wicked will come upon him,
And the desire of the righteous will be granted.
The wicked are afraid of the unknown just like all of us to some degree at some time. A wicked person may actually bring what he fears most upon himself.
A person who wants something for good reasons will often receive it if he continues to want it and works towards it.
Proverbs 10: 25-32 The Benefits to One's Self of Righteousness.
[Proverbs 10:25] When the whirlwind passes by, the wicked is no more,
But the righteous has an everlasting foundation.
The wicked fall down when faced by minor problems.
The righteous keep themselves together and in the end keep going.
an everlasting foundation. In Hebrew Yisod (foundation) Olam (Eternal or "of the world").
This may be read as translated above, OR it may be understood as if to say that the whole world depends upon the righteous.
The righteous are the foundation of existence.
[Proverbs 10:26] As vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes,
So is the lazy man to those who send him.
Someone who does not do what should be done out of laziness may cause as much damage as if they were maliciously malfeasant.
[Proverbs 10:27] The fear of the Lord prolongs days,
But the years of the wicked will be shortened.
Wicked people are concerned about their own selfish wants or about avoiding the effects of their own wickedness.
Sin shortens life.
They who fear the Almighty also worry. Worries that keep the Almighty in mind help atone for sin.
They who fear God will avoid deeds and attitudes that shorten life.
Not only that but the days they do live will be fuller, longer, more complete and satisfying.
[Proverbs 10:28] The hope of the righteous will be gladness,
But the expectation of the wicked will perish.
Rabaynu Yonah says that when the Righteous hope for something it is like a prayer.
Even if they do not receive the specific objective they hoped for something else will be given them. They will benefit from it.
The wicked will be disappointed in what they want and this will cause despair and loss of hope.
[Proverbs 10:29] The way of the Lord is strength for the upright,
But destruction will come to the workers of iniquity.
God gives power. Goodness empowers.
[Proverbs 10:30] The righteous will never be removed,
But the wicked will not inhabit the earth.
[Proverbs 10:31] The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom,
But the perverse tongue will be cut out.
Try and speak positively. Avoid sarcasm and offensive remarks.
Sometimes this may be difficult but we should get the better of ourselves for our own sakes.
Why say things you do not really mean, that may hurt others whom you would not really want to hurt, and that in the end hurt you?
And for what?
If you must speak then speak well. Why not let other people feel good if it only takes a kind word of encouragement?
Chances are that this will come back and help you.
[Proverbs 10:32] The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable,
But the mouth of the wicked what is perverse.
Rabaynu Yonah says that a righteous person naturally tells the truth. Sometimes however he should modify what he says in order not to unduly offend others.
Wicked people tend to be pathological liars. Even when they do tell what they think is the truth their motivations may not necessarily be for the good.
All truth passes through three
stages: First it is ridiculed.|
Second, it is violently opposed.
Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860).
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