NOTE: For a PDF copy of this segment, please click here. This will enable you to print out the entire text of the article. [Rev 0]
Key Concepts of Mishlei 09-01 (Invitation to Wisdom) [9:1 thru 9:6]
After having emphasized the great importance of wisdom in Creation and in our lives, Mishlei now offers a warm invitation to those who have not yet been fully persuaded. To convey his message he again chooses the metaphor of Wisdom that he employed in Segments 01-05 and 08-01. This metaphor of a female spirit is especially appropriate to convey the welcoming warmth that may be needed to win over the reluctant individual.
The segment addresses two types of indivuduals, those who suffer a basic lack of Torah knowledge and those who have the basics but lack the insight of self-knowledge and discipline which will enable them to explore the further depths of wisdom.
Mishlei begins the segment by giving us a sense of the preparations that Wisdom has made to cause her visitors to feel welcome. She has built a sturdy house representing the perfect structure and completeness of the Torah. She has prepared the food and set the table for a tempting meal. These preparations assure the reluctant visitor that despite the complexity of the many forms of wisdom, he will find that form which is specifically suited to his taste and his abilities. She sends out her invitation through her maidens, who are the prophets, wise men, and teachers of each generation because the way the wisdom is presented must reflect the aptitude and chacter of the individual.
(א) חָכְמוֹת בָּנְתָה בֵיתָהּ חָצְבָה עַמּוּדֶיהָ שִׁבְעָה: (ב) טָבְחָה טִבְחָהּ מָסְכָה יֵינָהּ אַף עָרְכָה שֻׁלְחָנָהּ: (ג) שָׁלְחָה נַעֲרֹתֶיהָ תִקְרָא עַל גַּפֵּי מְרֹמֵי קָרֶת: (ד) מִי פֶתִי יָסֻר הֵנָּה חֲסַר לֵב אָמְרָה לּוֹ: (ה) לְכוּ לַחֲמוּ בְלַחֲמִי וּשְׁתוּ בְּיַיִן מָסָכְתִּי: (ו) עִזְבוּ פְתָאיִם וִחְיוּ וְאִשְׁרוּ בְּדֶרֶךְ בִּינָה:
(1) Wisdom has built her house; she has scuplted its seven pillars. (2) She has prepared her meat, mixed her wine, and she has also set her table. (3) She has sent out her maidens to call out [her invitation] upon the city heights. She says: (4) “Whoever is unlearned, let him turn here [to acquire wisdom].” And as for the one who lacks self-discipline, she says to him: (5) “Come and eat my bread and drink the wine that I have mixed. (6) Abandon your foolish ignorance and live. And step forward on the path of understanding where you will find happiness.”
(א) חָכְמוֹת בָּנְתָה בֵיתָהּ
חָצְבָה עַמּוּדֶיהָ שִׁבְעָה:
She who is the essence of all forms of wisdom has built her house — חָכְמוֹת בָּנְתָה בֵיתָהּ , to be a perfectly integrated and logically constructed whole. All of wisdom is interrelated because all wisdom comes from the same Divine Source. She has sculpted its seven pillars — חָצְבָה עַמּוּדֶיהָ שִׁבְעָה , representing all the many components of wisdom that support the entire structure in a unified manner.
The seven pillars of wisdom also allude to the seven days of Creation because the world was constructed through wisdom.
(ב) טָבְחָה טִבְחָהּ
מָסְכָה יֵינָהּ אַף עָרְכָה שֻׁלְחָנָהּ:
She has prepared her meat — טָבְחָה טִבְחָהּ , mixed her wine — מָסְכָה יֵינָהּ and also set her table — אַף עָרְכָה שֻׁלְחָנָהּ . Wisdom is intended for mankind and is therefore designed to be inviting. It is like a meal that is appealing to the eye and easy to digest. The food is served in bite-size portions that are appropriate to the capacity of each individual.
The three elements of this preparation correspond to the three parts of the Torah: The Written Torah, the Mishnah, and the Gemara.
(ג) שָׁלְחָה נַעֲרֹתֶיהָ
תִקְרָא עַל גַּפֵּי מְרֹמֵי קָרֶת:
She has sent out her maidens — שָׁלְחָה נַעֲרֹתֶיהָ , which are all the prophets, wise men and teachers in every generation to call out her invitation upon the city heights — תִקְרָא עַל גַּפֵּי מְרֹמֵי קָרֶת , where they are visible and audible to all. Everyone has has access to wisdom. No one can say they were excluded.
(ד) מִי פֶתִי יָסֻר הֵנָּה
חֲסַר לֵב אָמְרָה לּוֹ:
She says, “Whoever is unlearned — מִי פֶתִי , let him turn here — יָסֻר הֵנָּה ! Let him learn my wisdom and become learned.” As for the one who lacks self-discipline — חֲסַר לֵב , she says to him — אָמְרָה לּוֹ :
(ה) לְכוּ לַחֲמוּ בְלַחֲמִי
וּשְׁתוּ בְּיַיִן מָסָכְתִּי:
“Don’t be discouraged by your difficulties in adhering to the way of the Torah. Even if you do not have as much learning as you should, come and eat my bread — לְכוּ לַחֲמוּ בְלַחֲמִי – of basic Torah knowledge. And then drink the wine of wisdom that I have specially mixed for you — וּשְׁתוּ בְּיַיִן מָסָכְתִּי – to give you the depth of insight that will help you control your emotions.”
(ו) עִזְבוּ פְתָאיִם וִחְיוּ
וְאִשְׁרוּ בְּדֶרֶךְ בִּינָה:
“To those of you who are unlearned, I say, abandon your foolish ignorance and live — עִזְבוּ פְתָאיִם וִחְיוּ . And to those of you who lack self-discipline, I say, step forward happily — וְאִשְׁרוּ – to self-control on the path of understanding — בְּדֶרֶךְ בִּינָה .”
The primary sources used in the interpretation of the verses of this segment are listed below.
א – המאירי, רלב”ג, מלבי”ם
ב – המאירי, הגר”א
ג – הגר”א, מלבי”ם
ד – רש”י, רלב”ג, מצודות, מלבי”ם
ה – מלבי”ם
ו – רש”י, רלב”ג, מלבי”ם, רשר”ה