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Mishlei 12-07 (Foundations)

Mishlei 12-07


Key Concepts

Righteous people (tzadikim) build their lives on firm foundations. They are like a house that is designed to endure. Even when they encounter a setback, they do not lose their confidence and their trust in Hashem. In contrast, the wicked (resha’im) have built their lives on superficialities. When their facades collapse, such people themselves become buried under the ruins.

Exploring Mishlei

 ז = הָפוֹךְ רְשָׁעִים וְאֵינָם וּבֵית צַדִּיקִים יַעֲמֹד

(7) When the resha’im are overthrown, they are no more,
but the house of the tzadikim will endure.

What happens to resha’im is described as being “overthrown,” representing an utter catastrophe, a reversal of all their hopes and achievements. In contrast, the tzadikim, even if they should deserve punishment, can be sure that their solid basis in existence will be untouched.

Learning Mishlei

When the resha’im are overthrown הָפוֹךְ רְשָׁעִים,
it is the end, and they are no more וְאֵינָם,
because their downfall is permanent.  But when Hashem punishes
tzadikim, their fall is temporary. Eventually, they rise again for
the house of the tzadikim will endure וּבֵית צַדִּיקִים יַעֲמֹד.

Additional Insights

(1) As long as events are unfolding normally, Hashem allows resha’im to continue along their wicked ways. But as soon as there is some upheaval in the world, they disappear as if they never were. This has come true for individuals and entire
nations. (דעת סופרים, רשר”ה)

(2) The first major example of the destruction of resha’im was the Generation of the Flood which was completely obliterated (Bereishis 7:23). Other examples were the destruction of Sedom (ibid. 7:25) and the army of Pharaoh (Shemos 14:28). (אלשיך, ילקוט שמעוני)

(3) When God punishes Yisrael, however, their fall is temporary. Eventually, they rise again, as it says, “Don’t rejoice over me, my enemy. Although I have fallen, I will rise again. Though I sit in the darkness, Hashem is a light unto me!” (Michah 7:8).
(ילקוט שמעוני)

(4) The resha’im may appear firmly rooted, but when their time is up Hashem overturns them in a complete reversal so that they disappear from existence. (מלבי”ם)

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