NAFSHI

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News Item 345. Shanah Tovah

LESHANAH TOVA UMESUKAH 5778

News Item 344. Mishlei 18-24

A new proverb was posted to the Mishlei section on Monday, September 18.

A man has friends to socialize with; but there is [to be found] a beloved friend [who is even] closer than a brother.

Human beings are naturally drawn to form friendships and so most people agree that

having friends is important to a person’s well-being.

However, people have very different ideas about the role of friendship in a person’s life. According to one view, the number of friends a person has is a measure of how well like he is. Being popular enhances a person’s self-esteem and ensures that he will not lack for companionship as he goes through life.
Unfortunately, this view overlooks the potential depth one can find in having a close friendship. A close friend spends enough time with a person to really get to know him. That knowledge enables the friend to provide the individual with a mirror into his character, giving him insight into his strengths and his weaknesses. This kind of knowledge is essential if the individual is grow as a human being.
So although a person may think he will be better off with an ever expanding circle of friends, he runs the risk of being left with only superficial relationships. He may end up not giving any one friend the opportunity to really get to know him. As a result he may face a hollow gap in his self-knowedge.

News Item 343. Mishlei 18-23 (Misconceptions)

A new proverb was posted to the Mishlei section on Wednesday, September 13.

The poor man speaks with entreaties, and the rich man answers with

harshness.

Rich people and poor people alike are victims of the same fallacy. They overestimate

the importance of financial wealth. As a result, they forget that the value of a person

is not determined by how much money he has but by the human qualities that make

him unique as an individual.

Unfortunately, the misconceptions of both rich and poor tend to feed on each other. A poor person may see the wealthy person, not for who he is, but as someone who could very well help him with a loan or gift. The rich person in turn sees the poor person as a failure who has only himself to blame for his inadequacies and is therefore not really deserving of financial assistance.

 

News Item 342. Mishlei 18-22 (Good)

A new proverb was posted to the Mishlei section on Wednesday, September 6.

He who has found a wife has found the good, and has brought forth good will

from Hashem.

Mishlei is using the term “find” to refer to the idea of marriage because the potential

for blessing was already there. It is up to man to take the necessary step to “find”

the woman with whom the blessing of “good” comes into being for them both.

This suggests an important difference between marriage and shopping. In shopping for an expensive product, the buyer defines exactly what he wants (size, color, etc.) and checks each item under consideration to make sure it meets all of his specifications.
That approach cannot work in bringing together two complex human beings, especially in the light of the fact every human being is in the process of contiuous improvement and development throughout his life.
Marriage can only work if the entire process of Creation is active in matching the man and woman. If the man and woman trust in Hashem and act on that trust by focusing on qualities of human goodness, He will introduce His blessing and the man will be guided by that blessing to “find” the woman that was meant for him.

 

News Item 341. Mishlei 18-21 (Talking)

A new proverb was posted to the Mishlei section on Thursday, August 31.

Many people are fascinated by their power of speech. They always find something to say because of the pleasure it gives them to hear the sound of their own voice. When someone is speaking he assumes that a listener is paying attention to him. In effect, the talker has taken control of the listener’s mind and that is a heady feeling indeed.
However, because people are so strongly motivated to express themselves in talk, they may not ask themselves if what they are saying is worthwhile. Even worse, it may actually be destructive, such as if it hurts someone’s feelings or someone’s good name. On the other hand, talking can do wonderful things, including cheering up another person and teaching him Torah.

News Item 340. Mishlei 18-20 (Sustenance)

 

A new proverb was posted to the Mishlei section on Wednesday, August 23.

Ultimately, all of existence is the product of the mouth of Hashem, for He created the

world by speaking the words of Creation. In our daily lives we emulate the process of

Creation by the words that we utter when we learn the wisdom of Torah and teach it

to our children. That wisdom provides us with a spiritual sustenance to which we

ourselves are able contribute.

News Item 339. Mizmor 119-049 (Zayin) - Time

The complete Zayin segment of Mizmor 119 covering pesukim 49 to 56 was posted on

Monday August 21.

News Item 338. Mishlei 18-19 (Brotherhood)

A new proverb was added to the Mishlei section on Sunday August 20.

People who are granted the privilege of sharing their youthful years with brothers or

sisters don’t give much thought to the powerful forces that can affect such a

relationship. Hidden beneath the surface of comradeship and instinctive goodwill

there is the potential for intense love born of a shared identity. At the same time

there is the surprising potential of intense and lasting hatred born of envy and

resentment.

These powerful emotions are inherent in the circumstance of the sibling relationship. They are brought into actuality when the right conditions are present, such as when a brother or sister is in desperate need or when there is an inheritance to be shared.

News Item 337. Mishlei (Arbitration)

A new proverb was added to the Mishlei section on Tuesday August 15.

When individuals get into arguments about the ownership of property, they generally

turn to a judicial authority to resolve the conflict. However, there may not be

sufficient evidence to point to a clear solution. In such case the judge or Beis Din may

recommend a process of arbitration where both parties agree in advance to accept

the outcome. An example of an arbitration process involves a lottery or the casting of

a lot ( גוֹרָל ). Since the outcome of the lottery cannot be predicted in advance, the

two parties can more easily accept that it reflects the will of Hashem.

News Item 336. Mishlei 16-21 (Intellectual Development)

Proverb 16-21 was updated on Sunday August 13 to incorporate the following Additional Insight:
The speech of the teacher is described as sweet because it sounds pleasant to the ear. It is also sweet because the teacher extends himself beyond his own concerns and projects his thoughts to the welfare of his students. He thinks about how the ear of his students will perceive what he has said and adjusts the presentation for their benefit. That gracious, unselfish quality of love for others makes it especially sweet.
This addition is in response to the suggestion of one of our thoughtful readers who felt that some further insight was called for. 
 

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