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Mishlei 21-25


Key Concepts

The extremely lazy person has developed a hatred of exerting himself. His reluctance to work is so strong that there is no need or want that can motivate him to put in the effort. Such an attitude will end up killing him, because he will not be able to earn what it takes to live a normal life.

Exploring Mishlei

כה = תַּאֲוַת עָצֵל תְּמִיתֶנּוּ כִּי מֵאֲנוּ יָדָיו לַעֲשׂוֹת

(25) The appetite of a lazy man kills him, for his hands refuse to work.

Most people are motivated to work for a living. If nothing else, hunger can motivate the lazy person to overcome his hatred of work. With no income, he will be tortured by his desire for food, but his hands are so out of practice that he is unable to work. In the end he will gorge himself on unhealthy scraps that come his way and his life will be cut short.

Learning Mishlei

(25)  The appetite of a lazy manתַּאֲוַת עָצֵל
will kill himתְּמִיתֶנּוּ
because he cannot afford healthy food — כִּי
and his hands refuse to workמֵאֲנוּ יָדָיו לַעֲשׂוֹת.

Additional Insights

[1] Death is the state of being inactive. Therefore, the lazy person who does not engage in productive work may as well be dead. (עקידה)

[2] A person whose appetite drives him to excess consumption, is subject to ill health. Therefore, the Creator has structured the economics of life in a way that man needs to earn a living. The effort that he puts into this is a self-regulating mechanism that automatically limits his consumption. (אוצר פירושים)

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Mishlei 21-25 (Laziness) PDF version