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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. 

News Item 296. Mishlei 17-17 (Friendship)

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

This proverb speaks of the characteristic quality of friendship in terms of love and its continuity through time. The quality of friendship becomes elevated to a higher state when it is transformed to spiritual brotherhood. This occurs when friendship is tested by adversity. 

News Item 295. Mizmor 119-033 (Distractions)

The first seven of the eight pesukim of the Heh Segment of Mizmor 119 have now been posted, as of Thursday, December 29.  

The seventh pasuk is 119:39, entitled Distractions. 

As a dynamic leader, husband, and father David lived a complicated life. Despite his intense yearning for closeness with Hashem he was beset with many duties and distractions that interfered with the spiritual wholeness that was his life goal. 
And so he found it necessary to plead with Hashem to help him by reducing the daily distractions and complications that affected him. When he thought about the perfection of the mitzvos and the Torah he found himself in dread of the external factors that were constantly cropping up. He knew it was his challenge to overcome them but he was deeply ashamed of his failings, which he considered his disgrace. 

News Item 294. Mishlei 17-16 (Illusions)

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

This proverb expresses amazement at the folly of someone who thinks he can acquire Torah wisdom despite lacking the essential qualifications. Although he says he is prepared to pay the price of wisdom, he still cannot buy it because he lacks character (heart). 
That is because he thinks of learning as simply a matter of time and effort. But all the time and effort that he is prepared to expend is not enough if he is unworthy. 

News Item 293. Mizmor 119-033 (Heh - 6) Continuity

The first six of the eight pesukim of the Heh Segment of Mizmor 119 have now been posted, as of Erev Shabbos, December 16.  

David was granted the privilege and responsibility of founding a royal dynasty that would extend through centuries and reach its ultimate fulfillment with the anointing of the Moshiach. However, David understood that the continuity of his glorious line and the ultimate fulfullment of his mission would depend upon the devotion of his children to the service of Hashem.

News Item 292. Mishlei 17-15 (Falseness)

new proverb was posted on Tuesday, December 13 in the Mishlei section. 

There are times when one is inclined to favor a wicked person, speaking highly of him or giving in to his wishes. Correspondingly there are times when one is inclined to speak in demeaning terms about a righteous person or deny him the benefit the doubt in a dispute. The person who behaves with such falseness may prefer to believe he is fully justified in this behavior. He may think he can thereby persuade the wicked person to do something good or persuade the righteous person that he is not good enough and that needs to have more humility. 

News Item 291. Mizmor 119 (Heh Segment)

The first five of the eight pesukim of the Heh Segment of Mizmor 119 have now been posted, as of Erev Shabbos, December 9.  

Even when person sincerely desires to follow the way of Hashem, he may find himself distracted by false and misleading appearances. A thinking person learns through bitter experience that what he is seeing often does not correspond to reality. Food which appears attractive is not always healthy or tasty. People and advertisements that seem inviting may paint a deceptive picture of integrity and morality even though fraudulence and sin lurk beneath the surface.

News Item 290. Mishlei 17-14 (Conflict)

new proverb was posted on Wednesday, December 7 in the Mishlei section.  Mishlei identifies a major turning point in the life of a conflict. That is when the parties have taken a public position which they have openly argued and defended. This means they have invested their reputation in a particular point of view. It then becomes much more difficult for them to back down. Some damage has already been done and it is on track to continue. That is why Mishlei urges anyone involved in a conflict to abandon it before it becomes unstoppable.