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News Item 335. Mishlei 18-17 (Prejudice)

A new proverb was added to the Mishlei section on Friday August 11.

In every community honest differences of opinion will arise from time to time

regarding a controversial issue. Why do people choose one point of view or another?

The right way to do this would be to dispassionately investigate all the facts and

make a decision based on the view that is supported by the weight of evidence and

reason.

Unfortunately that does not always happen. People are often swayed by their prejudices based on the impact of previous experiences. They are locked into attitudes blocking out proper consideration of facts that have more recently come to light.

News Item 334. Mishlei 18-16 (Giving)

A new proverb was added to the Mishlei section on Wednesday August 9.

The distribution of financial wealth in a community is affected by many factors, but

ultimately it is Hashem who determines how much each of us possesses at any time.

And yet individuals are motivated to give some of their possessions to others while

many individuals find it extremely difficult to give money away.

News Item 333. Mishlei 18-15 (Learning)

A new proverb was added to the Mishlei section on Thursday August 3.

Every righteous person should be engaged in learning Torah to a greater or lesser

degree throughout his life. But the learning process has two major modes, which are

not equally accessible. One of these two modes depends upon an external source of

knowledge (received wisdom). The other depends upon the knowledge that the

person has already acquired, but has extended through study and reflection.

News Item 332. Mishlei 18-14 (Attitude)

A new proverb was added to the Mishlei section on Monday July 30.

How does a person develop a positive attitude. He needs to believe that no matter

what is going on in his life, good things are coming. A person needs to have a rational

basis for believing that hope in the future is justified. Such a basis exists when he

believes he has been created for a purpose, and that his Creator wants to see the

purpose fulfilled. Also, whatever that purpose may be in each individual case, the

underlying framework is a world of kindness.

News Item 331. Mishlei 18-13 (Haste)

A new proverb was added to the Mishlei section on Thursday July 13.

This proverb offers an important example of the price to paid for unwarranted haste.

What happens when an expert is asked to clarify the halachah in a situation?

Ordinarily, before giving his answer, it is essential for the expert to understand the circumstances in which the question arose. If the expert lacks patience and rushes with his answer before listening to the full details of the question, he may misinterpret what is being asked and his answer will be inappropriate, or even incorrect.
People who jump the gun and fail to show the courtesy of listening to the full question are demonstrating their conceit. They believe their time is so valuable and they are so smart that they don’t need to hear out the full question with all of its fine points. However, they are often mistaken, embarrassingly so.

News Item 330. Mishlei 18-12 (Humility)

A new proverb was added to the Mishlei section on Tuesday July 4.

In a previous proverb (12-16), Mishlei warned people against arrogant pride and the hunger for honor that drives it. A person who seeks to be gratified by honors should expect the opposite, for pride is generally unjustified and is therefore a precurser to tragedy.

Mishlei now carries this theme forward and draws attention to the virtue of humility which is the converse of pride. A prideful person seeks honor but a humble person shuns honor. If he is honored, the honor comes to the humble person in recognition of his humility. He does not allow the honor to distort his character.
Whereas the prideful person is corrupted by honor, the humble person is ennobled by it.

News Item 329. Mizmor 119-049 (Zayin) - Time

A new pasuk has been added to the Zayin segment of Mizmor 119 as of Erev Shabbos Parshas Chukas, June 30. 

News Item 328. Mishlei 18-10 (Strength)

 

A new segment 18-10 was added to the Mishlei section on Wednesday June 28. This contains two proverbs covering aspects of the concept of strength.

Why do we need strength? We turn to Hashem to grant us the strength to withstand threats to our safety and well-being. These threats include sickness, poverty, and people who seek to do us harm. We also need strength to overcome our internal weaknesses, such as jealousy and irrational hate.

Mishlei symbolizes strength as a tower, referred to as מִגְדַּל עֹז , a tower of strength. The tower is a metaphor for strength because we can readily visualize climbing a sturdy tower from which we can defend ourselves in times of danger. From the top of the tower we have a commanding view of the enemy, who finds it more difficult to strike us with his weapons. In military terms, the tower is a position of strength.
Another metaphor for strength is a walled city. The high fortified walls serve the same purpose as a tower and offer more space to shelter the people of a community and their possessions.
To whom do we turn to for strength? The righteous man calls upon the Name of Hashem for protection. The wealthy man looks to his accumulated wealth to insulate him from unexpected expenses and changing economic conditions. But how much of a cushion is enough? Is it ever enough?

News Item 327. Mizmor 119-041 (Zayin) - Time

A new pasuk has been added to the Zayin segment of Mizmor 119 as of Wednesday June 21. 

(119:53) Shuddering seized me because of the wicked who forsake Your Torah.

In reviewing his life and the life of the Jewish people David found himself torn between hope and fear. In the previous pasuk he expressed his relief and comfort found in the optimistic lessons of past history. But then he was shaken by the realization that he must avoid complacency. He looked around him and saw the many wicked people who started out in the purity of commitment to Torah but who had fallen along the way. They had succumbed to the challenges and temptations of life. In doing so, their example offered a warning that David himself needed to be always vigilant. As long as a person lives, he must be alert for the dangers and tragedies that can appear at any time.

News Item 326. Newsletter

Some subscribers to the NAFSHI weekly newsletter have asked about the fact that recent issueswere not sent out. We apologize for the inconvenience, but we hope to resume publication as soon as certain technical matters are resolved. In the meantime we expect to continue notifying you of NAFSHI updates through the News tab.

Yitzchok Kirzner (Yitzchok @ Kirzner.com)