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Mishlei 20-25


Key Concepts

In this proverb Mishlei speaks of a man who realizes he is guilty of a serious sin. The offense is so serious that it undermines his own sense of holiness and prevents him from serving Hashem with a clear conscience. The recommended solution is to repent and plead with Hashem forgiveness. The atonement process begins with holy vows promising to make amends and change his ways.,

Exploring Mishlei

כה = מוֹקֵשׁ אָדָם יָלַע קֹדֶשׁ וְאַחַר נְדָרִים לְבַקֵּר

(25) A man’s stumbling in sin undermines his sanctity,
his remedy is to seek vows of atonement.

The vows referred to here are ones in which the person commits himself to some action or donation. This might include offering a sacrifice and denying himself
certain benefits.  It might also include steps to correct defective character traits.

Learning Mishlei

(25) A man’s stumbling in sin — מוֹקֵשׁ אָדָם
corrupts the sanctity of his soul. — יָלַע קֹדֶשׁ

In order to restore the purity of his sanctity, he needs
to seek vows of atonement — וְאַחַר נְדָרִים לְבַקֵּר,
make amends for having sinned,
and beseech Hashem for forgiveness.

Additional Insights

[1] The proverb describes the consequence of sin as undermining a person’s intrinsic holiness. By making vows of self-denial and bringing offerings he hopes to restore the purity of his soul. (רש”י)

[2] If a person finds difficulty in fulfilling his vows, the corruption of his soul may be the very cause of his problem.  (רלב”ג)

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Mishlei 20-25 (Repentance) PDF version