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Mishlei 10-24 (Hopes and Fears)

Mishlei 10-24

Hopes and Fears

Key Concepts

A person’s thoughts of the future are affected by his hopes and his fears. He hopes that his desires will be fulfilled and that any potential threats on the horizon will be avoided. He may fear that potential threats will be realized or that he will be disappointed by the failure of his hopes.

The specific content of a person’s hopes and fears depends on his character. Is he a tzadik (righteous person), a rasha (wicked person), or somewhere in between? To the extent that a person is a tzadik, he hopes for the opportunity to please his Creator and to the extent that he is a rasha he hopes for the means to satisfy his personal cravings.

Ultimately, the outcome of what a person was hoping for and what he feared is determined by Hashem. Mishlei reminds us in this proverb that this outcome will be based on that individual’s status in Hashem’s eyes.

Exploring Mishlei

 כד =  מְגוֹרַת רָשָׁע הִיא תְבוֹאֶנּוּ וְתַאֲוַת צַדִּיקִים יִתֵּן

(24)  What the rasha dreads, that will come upon him, but Hashem will grant the hope of the tzadikim.

Out of all the fears that confront the rasha, he will take special steps to protect himself against the the threat that he most dreads.  However, it will be to no avail because his fate is not in his own hands, but in the hands of the Master of the world. In contrast, Hashem fufills the hopes of tzadikim, even those that they have not expressed.

Learning Mishlei

כד =  מְגוֹרַת רָשָׁע הִיא תְבוֹאֶנּוּ וְתַאֲוַת צַדִּיקִים יִתֵּן

What the rasha dreadsמְגוֹרַת רָשָׁע
that will come upon him
הִיא תְבוֹאֶנּוּ

because his sinful actions carry the seeds of his own misfortune.
But the desire of
the tzadikimוְתַאֲוַת צַדִּיקִים
Hashem Himself will grant יִתֵּן 
as a sign of His love and goodwill towards them.

Additional Insights


(1) The rasha is motivated by ambitions of wealth. His greatest fear is poverty, which will prevent him from satisfying his sensual cravings. (רבינו יונה, רשר”ה)

(2) The rasha tries everything in his power to defend himself against a threat, but he will be punished with those things he most fears and most actively seeks to prevent. (מלבי”ם, רשר”ה)

(3) The downfall of the rasha will be the direct result of his defensive actions which are unethical and inherently defective. (הגר”א)

(4) The rasha knows he is committing offenses, but he continues to take risks, hoping that he will not be caught and will not be punished. That for which he hopes will not come to pass. Instead that which he fears will befall him. (אבן יחייא)

(5) The rasha fears his downfall. But that calamity is what the tzadikim hope for. The very same event will fulfill the fears of one and the hopes of the other. (חנוך לנער)


(6) The tzadikim crave the kindness of Hashem and the opportunity of being close to Him. These things they will gain, and that which they fear, persecution by the reshaim, they will escape. (רבינו יונה)

(7) The tzadikim are motivated by the opportunity to guide others in the right way and bring them to avodas Hashem. Their hopes will be granted. (אבן יחייא)

(8) The desires of the tzadikim will be granted by Hashem in kindness and love because the reward of their good deeds is given in a measure greater than what is inherent in the deed itself. (הגר”א)

(9) Hashem will grant to the tzadikim wishes that they have not even expressed.

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