NAFSHI

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News Item 356. Mishlei 19-13 (The Intelligent Woman

A new Mishlei segment consisting of two contrasting proverbs on the subject of  

female intelligence was posted on Thursday, January 11. The proverbs are

numbered 19:13 and 19:14.

 

News Item 355. Mishlei 19-12 (Royalty)

A new proverb was posted to the Mishlei section on Friday, December 29.

יב) נַהַם כַּכְּפִיר זַעַף מֶלֶךְ, וּכְטַל עַל עֵשֶׂב רְצוֹנוֹ)

The wrath of a king is like the roar of a lion, but his favor is like dew upon the grass .
This proverb examines the mood of a powerful king as perceived by his subjects. Because such a king has the potential to cause great harm, his anger is as frightening to his people as the roar of a lion. And yet the very same king has a gentle side which is compared to the fall of dew on a sunny morning.
Who is this king? In a sense it is every person who is important to another individual. The king should realize that no matter what he does he is making a lasting impression on those who depend on him. He should keep his reactions under active control and realize the emotional damage done by a show of anger. By the same token he should be aware of the human warmth transmitted by a show of kindness and appreciation.

News Item 354. Mishlei 19-11 (Intelligence)

A new proverb was posted to the Mishlei section on Thursday, December 21.

This proverb compares basic intelligence with going beyond intelligence. It all

depends on how he reacts when someone commits an offense against him. If he is

able to suppress his natural instinct of anger, that is, if he is slow to anger, then he is

free to react with intelligence. His emotions won’t get in the way of an intelligent

response. However, even more glorious than suppressing anger is to forgive the

offense entirely. Such a person’s thinking becomes free from any emotional baggage

because memory of the offense has no effect on him.

News Item 353. Mishlei 19-10 (Pleasure)

A new proverb was posted to the Mishlei section on Friday, December 8.

A key driving force in human behavior is the eagerness to experience pleasure. This

includes physical pleasure, emotional pleasure, and spiritual pleasure. A person’s

instinctive attitude is that pleasure is a good thing and the more pleasure he has, the

better.

But Mishlei teaches us that not everything is as good as it sounds, even pleasure. The main point is that the value of pleasure in anyone’s life depends on the person. How well-prepared is he for pleasure? How will he react to it?

News Item 352. Mishlei 19-08 (Heart)

A new proverb was posted to the Mishlei section on Friday, December 1.

News Item 351. Mishlei 19-06 (Approval)

A new proverb was posted to the Mishlei section on Friday, November 24. This segment actually consists of two proverbs in pesukim 6 and 7 of chapter 19. If you wish to have a PDF copy of the segment, please send me an e-mail message and I will try responding with the PDF of this segment.

Have a good Shabbos

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News Item 350. Mishlei 19-05 (Falsehood)

A new proverb was posted to the Mishlei section on Monday, November 13.

(ה) עֵד שְׁקָרִים לֹא יִנָּקֶה וְיָפִיחַ כְּזָבִים לֹא יִמָּלֵט:
A false witness will not be exonerated, but neither will the deceptive talker escape.
This proverb compares the person who distorts the truth for personal advantage with the individual who gives false testimony in a court of law. It is obvious that the false witness ( עֵד שְׁקָרִים ) is committing a sinful act by perjuring himself. However, the individual who misleads his listener with deceptive statements ( יָפִיחַ כְּזָבִים ) hopes to whitewash his behavior after the fact. Mishlei blasts such wishful thinking. Just as the false witness will not be exonerated ( לֹא יִנָּקֶה ), so will the deceptive speaker be unable to escape ( לֹא יִמָּלֵט ) the consequences of his behavior. He will have to face Divine judgment and this excuses will not be accepted.

 

News Item 349. Mishlei 19-04 (Excesses)

A new proverb was posted to the Mishlei section on Friday, November 3.

 הוֹן יֹסִיף רֵעִים רַבִּים וְדָל מֵרֵעֵהוּ יִפָּרֵד

Wealth brings many new friends, but a pauper becomes alienated [even] from his friend.
This proverb compares the effect of excessive wealth and excessive poverty. What effect does money have on personal friendship?
The well-known ability of the wealthy man to attract friends is described by the proverb in terms of his wealth ( הוֹן ), rather than any other personal quality. This implies that many of the “friends” are actually motivated by self-interest. They are drawn by the opportunity to benefit from the association with a rich person.
In contrast, the effect of extreme poverty in destroying an individual’s self-confidence is evident in his dwindling circle of friends. The proverb refers to the pauper as a poor man ( דָל ) who may have only one friend left ( רֵעֵהוּ ). Due to an over-emphasis on appearances, the pauper sees himself as the kind of person that others will not want to associate with and so he retreats into isolation, withdrawing from his one good friend.

News Item 348. Mishlei 19-03 (Blame)

A new proverb was posted to the Mishlei section on Thursday, October 26.

 

 

ג) אִוֶּלֶת אָדָם תְּסַלֵּף דַּרְכּוֹ וְעַל ה‘ יִזְעַף לִבּוֹ)

A man's own foolishness corrupts his way, yet his heart rages against Hashem.
As we have seen, Mishlei repeatedly emphasizes the importance of actively using our minds, and doing whatever is right within the framework of the options that are available to us. Here Mishlei refers to the failure of using one’s mind as foolishness ( אִוֶּלֶת ). Such foolishness is disastrous to a person because it can have the effect of corrupting his way ( תְּסַלֵּף דַּרְכּוֹ ) through life. A person who consistently fails to think things through may be forced to face harsh consequences because man’s life is governed by a system of reward and punishment, laws of action and reaction. If a person allows his life to be dominated by foolish thinking, he will be inclined to resent what has happened to his life. His heart will then want to blame Hashem ( וְעַל ה‘ יִזְעַף לִבּוֹ ) for not making it easier for him. But it does a man no good to rage against Hashem, for the foolish person has only himself to blame.

News Item 347. Mishlei 19-02 (Thought)

A new proverb was posted to the Mishlei section on Monday, October 16.

Also, for the soul to be without self-knowledge is not good, and he who speeds up his feet [without taking time to think] is a sinner.

This proverb identifies two practices which although not directly sinful in themselves are factors in creating an attitude that leads to sin. One is failing to take the time and effort to gain self-knowledge ( דַעַת ) by comparing one’s own behavior with the teachings of the Torah. The other is to rush through life ( אָץ בְּרַגְלַיִם ) without fully thinking through the implications of one’s actions.

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