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Mishlei 22-14


Key Concepts

A person should always be aware that a trouble-free life cannot be taken for granted. There are many opportunities to make a mistake and do the wrong thing. Among these opportunities is hearing a speaker of false ideas that seek to undercut one’s faith in the Torah.

Mishlei warns the reader that the mouth which speaks such ideas is out to cause trouble for the listener by setting a trap. Just as a person can accidentally fall into a deep pit, he can fall into the trap of the speaker of falsehoods. Once the listener who is not alert to the danger misses the warning signs, he can be trapped without a way out. He should know that by relaxing his guard and momentarily giving in to his curiosity he has angered and estranged himself from Hashem. The consequence is that with each passing moment he will find it more and more difficult to extricate himself from the trap.

Exploring Mishlei

יד = שׁוּחָה עֲמֻקָּה פִּי זָרוֹת זְעוּם ה’ יִפָּל שָׁם

(14) The mouth that speaks heretical thoughts is a deep pit;
careless one who falls there has invoked the anger of Hashem.

Mishlei compares the mouth of a seductive speaker to an open pit. When walking in the vicinity of such a pit, a person needs to be extra careful. He must be conscious of the risk he is taking by not avoiding the dangerous edge of a deep pit. If he is careless about where he walks, he may fall in. That is where his his real trouble begins. He may find himself trapped in the pit with no way to help himself. He has only himself to blame because he angered Hashem and should not expect Hashem to extricate him from his trap.

Learning Mishlei

(14) A deep pit,שׁוּחָה עֲמֻקָּה
is dug by the mouth — פִּי
of heretical or other sinful thoughts. — זָרוֹת
The anger of Hashemזְעוּם ה
will be invoked by
the one who falls there  יִפָּל שָׁם
because he should have avoided the trap.

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