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News Item 346. Mishlei 19-01 (Innocence)

A new proverb was posted to the Mishlei section on Thursday, September 28.

Better a poor man who goes [through life] in his innocence than [a person who] perverts his lips [with deceit], and he is a fool.

This proverb compares the person who goes through life in a blessed state of innocence with one who practices deceit and is therefore unable to avoid the feeling that he may be found out. The difference between guilt and innocence is so great that even if he is poverty-stricken ( רָשׁ ) he would do well to live at peace with himself by preserving his state of innocence.
In contrast, the person who uses deception and thereby perverts his lips ( עִקֵּשׁ שְׂפָתָיו ) to gain temporary advantage will have to live with his guilt. He will be paying a high price and is therefore a fool ( וְהוּא כְסִיל ) because his temporary benefit is not worth the pain of guilt.
WISHING ALL OUR READERS A GEMAR CHASIMAH TOVAH