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News Item 306. Mishlei 17-23 (Corruption)

A new proverb has been posted in the Mishlei section on the subject of bribery and corruption. The lessons of this proverb apply not only to judges in the courts but also to any employee who has been given responsibility for conducting business, such as buying or selling for the benefit of a firm. Wherever, people are being relied upon for using their judgment and discretion, there exists the possibility of corruption.

News Item 305. Mizmor 119-041 (Vav) - Second Pasuk

The second pasuk (42) of the Vav segment of Mizmor 119 was posted on Friday, February 17. 

After having fervently asked for Hashem’s yeshuah, David now strengthens his plea by declaring how much it will mean to him to experience a direct demonstration of Hashem’s favor. David’s faith in himself as a servant of Hashem depends upon being convinced that he is doing what he knows to be right. That conviction is being insidiously challenged by David’s misfortunes and by the vilification of his enemies. But now with Hashem’s demonstration of favor David is confident that he will be able to resist any weakening of his faith in himself and his trust in the truth of Hashem’s promise.
This pasuk confirms the linkage between a person’s faith in himself as a man of emunah and his ability to trust in Hashem. 

News Item 304. Mishlei 17-22 (Attitude)

The new proverb posted to the Mishlei section on Tuesday, Feb 14 deals with the subject of having a good attitude. A person may think that if he only had money and power he would surely be happy and healthy, and so he focuses his energies on gaining all the things that he doesn’t have. But he fails to realize that the steps he is taking to gain “the good life” are driving him to misery and unhappiness. He fails to appreciate that happiness is not measured by his possessions but by his attitude towards his own possessions and those of others. 

News Item 303. Mizmor 119-041 (Vav Segment) - First Pasuk

The first pasuk (41) of the Vav segment of Mizmor 119-041 was posted on Thursday, February 9.

In the Vav series of pesukim, beginning with pasuk 119:41 David calls upon Hashem to invoke the linkages inherent in the Torah and in Creation. The linkages demonstrate the wholeness and the unity that Hashem implemented in the process of creating our world. All components of Creation are designed to work with each other in carrying out the will of the Creator, Who is One. The letter vav symbolizes the linkages and so it is used used in the Hebrew language as a conjunction (“and”) that connects words with each other.

News Item 302. Mishlei 17-21 (Disappointment)

The new proverb posted to the Mishlei section on Monday, Feb 6 deals with the subject of parental disappointment.
It is natural for parents to look to their children for a sense of fulfillment and meaning in their own lives. The possibility of finding joy and gratification in the accomplishments of children helps motivate Jewish parents to make the sacrifices that are needed to raise a new generation that can effectively carry on the Torah way of life.
But a child who turns out badly is bound to cause such anguish to his parents as to banish almost every other joy from their lives. Mishlei urges parents to do their utmost to secure happiness, and not sorrow, from their children.

News Item 301. Mishlei 17-20 (Perversity)

new proverb has been posted on Erev Shabbos Bo in the Mishlei section. A person who is able to think clearly but chooses not to acknowledge the truth is described as having a perverse tongue. 

News Item 300. Schedule Change

For those of you on the NAFSHI newsletter distribution list, I am sorry to report that there will be no newsletter today (January 20). The next regularly scheduled NAFSHI newsletter is set for Erev Shabbos of Parshas Bo (Feb 3). The next NAFSHI text update for Mishlei, covering Mishlei 17:20 (Fallibility) is scheduled for Wednesday Feb. 1. After that I hope to resume regular updates iy"H.

Wishing a good Shabbos to all.

Yitzchok Kirzner

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News Item 299. Mishlei 17-19 (Faultfinding)

new proverb has been posted on Erev Shabbos Vayechi in the Mishlei section. There are times when constructive criticism is of great value to help people improve themselves. However, such criticism should generally be applied very gently and with great wisdom. Tragedy can result when a person adopts an attitude of continual faultfinding. He falls into the habit of looking for mistakes or defects in everything and criticizing people because of them. In such cases, the critic is not motivated by kindness toward the person he is criticizing but by the opportunity to demonstrate his own superiority. He does so by diminishing the object of his remarks, or both.

News Item 298. Mizmor 119-033 (Heh Segment) - Completed

The last of the eight pesukim of the Heh Segment of Mizmor 119 has now been posted, as of Erev Shabbos Vayigash.  

The eigth pasuk is 119:40, entitled Yearning.

See how I have yearned for Your Pikudim; grant me life through Your righteous justice.
David closes the Heh series of pesukim with a plea for life so that he can immerse himself in doing the mitzvos. Hashem grants life to those who will appreciate its value and will use it wisely. And so David bases his plea on the strength of his yearning for the experience of a life of mitzvos. He describes the granting of life as and expression of the righteous justice of Hashem. It is only just that one who values the good will be rewarded with the means to continue doing what is good.

News Item 297. Mishlei 17-18 (Commitments)

new proverb was posted on Erev Shabbos Vayigash in the Mishlei section. 

A man who lacks wisdom makes a commitment to guarantee a loan for his friend. 
This proverb speaks of the commitment to guarantee a loan as being the act of an unwise person. He is unwise because he has not given sufficient thought to the possibility that he is exposing himself to an unexpected debt. 
The implication is that before making any kind of commitment a person needs to give careful consideration to the likelihood of his having to fulfill that commitment and the potential difficulty he may have in meeting that obligation.