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Mishlei 21-12


Key Concepts

There are circumstances when a tzadik needs to understand the attitude of a rasha even though it is the opposite of how a tzadik thinks and behaves. Once the tzadik realizes he is observing a rasha, he will be able to figure out what that man’s intentions are, and he will know what to expect from him. He will then interpret the intentions of the rasha as evil. In such a case he will not give the rasha the benefit of the doubt, as he normally would in dealing with a righteous person.

Exploring Mishlei

 יב = מַשְׂכִּיל צַדִּיק לְבֵית רָשָׁע מְסַלֵּף רְשָׁעִים לָרָע

(12) When the tzadik turns his attention to the household of the rasha,
he interprets the
actions of resha’im toward evil.

There are times when the actions of a person are ambiguous, and it is unclear whether his intention is good or bad. In such case, we have to go by whether the majority of that person’s actions are oriented for a good purpose or a bad purpose. If that person has a pattern of sinful actions in the past, we must assume that his present actions follow the same pattern.

Learning Mishlei

(12) When a tzadik turns his attention מַשְׂכִּיל צַדִּיק
to the household of a rashaלְבֵית רָשָׁע
he interprets the
actions of resha’imמְסַלֵּף רְשָׁעִים
toward evil —

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