A Unique Online Torah Learning Resource

Mishlei 12-20 (Treacherous Counsel)

NOTE: For a PDF copy of this segment, please click here. This will enable you to print out the entire text of the article. [Rev 0]
Key Concepts of Mishlei 12-20 (Treacherous Counsel)
If a person has earned sufficient credibility that disputants will accept his counsel he must avoid using this opportunity to achieve some personal benefit or to nourish some pet peeve. The counsellor has a special responsibility to give honest advice and promote peace among all parties.
Exploring Mishlei
(כ) מִרְמָה בְּלֶב־חֹרְשֵׁי רָע וּלְיֹעֲצֵי שָׁלוֹם שִׂמְחָה:
Treachery is in the heart of [advisers] who plot harm, but for those who counsel peace there is joy.
The proverb compares the treacherous adviser who has an unspoken agenda with the honest adviser who is motivated by the urge to promote peace. The dishonest adviser will be under constant strain for fear that the treachery that is in his heart will be discovered. In contrast, the honest adviser will be relaxed and happy. He knows that he has no need to apologize or be embarrassed for seeking peace.
Learning Mishlei
(כ) מִרְמָה בְּלֶב חֹרְשֵׁי רָע 
וּלְיֹעֲצֵי שָׁלוֹם שִׂמְחָה:
The consequences of treachery lurk in the heart of people who pretend to give honest advice but are secretly plotting harm  מִרְמָה בְּלֶב־חֹרְשֵׁי רָע  against their adversaries. They are constantly in fear of being found out. But for those who counsel peace there is joy  וּלְיֹעֲצֵי שָׁלוֹם שִׂמְחָה for their intentions are innocent and so they have no fear that their counsel will be public knowledge.
Additional Insights
A series of insights illuminating this proverb are presented below. The numbers identifying the insights refer to the listing of sources at the end of the segment.
(1) The treacherous advisers are preoccupied with insidious schemes and therefore never find tranquility. However, those who promote peace are relaxed and confident.
(2) The treacherous advisers live in constant fear that their true intentions will be found out and so they are under strain.
(3) The treacherous advisers are motivated by the urge to destroy which is shameful and therefore they act in secret. In contrast, the honest adviser is motivated by the urge to promote universal well-being and has no need of secrecy.
(4) If your adviser is suggesting that you harm another or take vengeance against him, don’t listen to him because he is not acting out of friendship to you but out of hatred for the person he wants to be harmed.
(5) If your adviser is suggesting that you make peace with another, listen to his advice because you will have the goodwill of both your adviser and the other person.
The primary sources used for the additional insights illuminating this segment are listed below.
(1) -רש"י
(2) - הגר"א, מצודות
(3) - מלבים
(4) - רבינו יונה
(5) - רבינו יונה