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Mishlei - Proverbs - Chapter 5

Mishlei - Proverbs - Chapter 5

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Chapter 5

1My son, hearken to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding,   אבְּנִי לְחָכְמָתִ֣י הַקְשִׁ֑יבָה לִ֜תְבוּנָתִ֗י הַט־אָזְנֶֽךָ:
2to watch [your] thoughts, and your lips shall guard knowledge.   בלִשְׁמֹ֥ר מְזִמּ֑וֹת וְ֜דַ֗עַת שְׂפָתֶ֥יךָ יִנְצֹֽרוּ:
3For the lips of a strange woman drip honey, and her palate is smoother than oil.   גכִּ֤י נֹ֣פֶת תִּ֖טֹּפְנָה שִׂפְתֵ֣י זָרָ֑ה וְחָלָ֖ק מִשֶּׁ֣מֶן חִכָּֽהּ:
drip honey: Heb. נפת, an expression of sweetness.  
the lips of a strange woman: Apostasy.  
her palate: Heb. חכה, an expression of חךּ, a palate.  
4But her end is as bitter as wormwood, as sharp as a two-edged sword.   דוְֽאַחֲרִיתָהּ מָרָ֣ה כַֽלַּעֲנָ֑ה חַדָּ֗ה כְּחֶ֣רֶב פִּיּֽוֹת:
5Her feet descend to death; her steps come near the grave.   הרַגְלֶיהָ יֹרְד֣וֹת מָ֑וֶת שְׁ֜א֗וֹל צְעָדֶ֥יהָ יִתְמֹֽכוּ:
come near: Heb. יתמכו, an expression of nearness.  
6Lest you weigh the path of life, her paths have wandered off and you shall not know.   ואֹ֣רַח חַ֖יִּים פֶּן־תְּפַלֵּ֑ס נָע֥וּ מַ֜עְגְּלֹתֶ֗יהָ לֹ֣א תֵדָֽע:
Lest you weigh the path of life: So did the Sages (Tanhuma Ekev 2) expound it: The Holy One, blessed be He, moved away (טלטל) the reward for the commandments and did not explain it [the reward], so that a person should not see a commandment for which the reward is great and cling to it and leave over the other commandments. This is the interpretation: Lest you weigh the ways of the Torah, which one to take and which one to leave, therefore its paths wandered off-God caused them to wander off and He did not make them known. This is the Midrash Aggadah, but according to the sequence of the verses, since after it is written: “And now, children, hearken to me and do not turn away from the sayings of my mouth. Distance your way from her,” it appears that he has not yet ended the section dealing with the harlot, and it should be interpreted as follows:  
Lest you weigh the path of life: Do not weigh the path of life in conjunction with that strange one, saying what to do, whether this one or this one [i.e., whether to follow the path of life or the path of the strange woman], for the paths of the harlot have wandered off to the grave, and you will not know how to beware until you wander off and fall.  
7And now, children, hearken to me and do not turn away from the sayings of my mouth.   זוְעַתָּ֣ה בָ֖נִים שִׁמְעוּ־לִ֑י וְאַל־תָּ֜ס֗וּרוּ מֵאִמְרֵי־פִֽי:
8Distance your way from her and do not draw near to the entrance of her house,   חהַרְחֵ֣ק מֵעָלֶ֣יהָ דַרְכֶּ֑ךָ וְאַל־תִּ֜קְרַ֗ב אֶל־פֶּ֥תַח בֵּיתָֽהּ:
9lest you give others your glory, and your years to a cruel one;   טפֶּן־תִּתֵּ֣ן לַאֲחֵרִ֣ים הוֹדֶ֑ךָ וּ֜שְׁנֹתֶ֗יךָ לְאַכְזָרִֽי:
lest you give others your glory: Lest you turn your heart to other gods to give them the glory of your beauty and your praise.  
and your years to a cruel one: To the prince of Gehinnom.  
10lest strangers be sated with your strength and your labors be in the house of an alien.   יפֶּֽן־יִשְׂבְּע֣וּ זָרִ֣ים כֹּחֶ֑ךָ וַ֜עֲצָבֶ֗יךָ בְּבֵ֣ית נָכְרִֽי:
lest strangers be sated with your strength: The prophets of Baal, who collect money with their lies and their hastiness.  
and your labors: And your toil, with which you were saddened and fatigued.  
in the house of an alien: In the pagan temple of the pagans.  
11And you shall moan when your end comes, when your flesh and your body are consumed,   יאוְנָהַמְתָּ֥ בְאַחֲרִיתֶ֑ךָ בִּכְל֥וֹת בְּ֜שָׂרְךָ֗ וּשְׁאֵרֶֽךָ:
And you shall moan when your end comes: The end will be that you will moan when your end comes.  
12and you will say, "How [is it that] I hated discipline, and my heart despised reproof;   יבוְֽאָמַרְתָּ֗ אֵ֖יךְ שָׁנֵ֣אתִי מוּסָ֑ר וְ֜תוֹכַ֗חַת נָאַ֥ץ לִבִּֽי:
13and I did not hearken to my instructors, and to my teachers I did not incline my ear?   יגוְֽלֹא־שָׁ֖מַעְתִּי בְּק֣וֹל מוֹרָ֑י וְ֜לִֽמְלַמְּדַ֗י לֹא־הִטִּ֥יתִי אָזְנִֽי:
14I was almost in all evil, in the midst of the congregation and the assembly."   ידכִּמְעַט הָיִ֣יתִי בְכָל־רָ֑ע בְּת֖וֹךְ קָהָ֣ל וְעֵדָֽה:
I was almost in all evil: There is but a step between me and Gehinnom. (Because of a little thing, I was now “in all evil,” for I did not obey my instructors; had I obeyed them, this would not have happened to me. From Rabbi Joseph Kara.)  
15Drink water from your own cistern and running water from your own spring.   טושְׁתֵה־מַ֥יִם מִבּוֹרֶ֑ךָ וְ֜נֹזְלִ֗ים מִתּ֥וֹךְ בְּאֵרֶֽךָ:
Drink water from your own cistern: From the cistern that the Holy One, blessed be He, gave you for your share, viz. the Law of Moses.  
your own cistern: This denotes gathered water.  
and running water: Heb. ונזלים, spring water. In the beginning it is like gathered water, and at the end it gushes out more and more.  
16May your springs spread out rivulets of water in the squares.   טזיָפ֣וּצוּ מַעְיְנֹתֶ֣יךָ ח֑וּצָה בָּ֜רְחֹב֗וֹת פַּלְגֵי־מָֽיִם:
May your springs spread out: In the end you will acquire disciples, and you will promulgate decisions in public, and you will gain a reputation.  
in the squares: of the city the rivulets of your water shall spread.  
17You alone shall have them, and strangers shall have nothing with you.   יזיִֽהְיוּ־לְךָ֥ לְבַדֶּ֑ךָ וְאֵ֖ין לְזָרִ֣ים אִתָּֽךְ:
You alone shall have them: You alone will be honored by them, and no one else will share your honor with you. Since he says above, “Lest strangers be satisfied with your strength,” he says here, “You alone shall have them, and thereby…”  
18Your fountain shall be blessed, and you shall rejoice with the wife of your youth;   יחיְהִֽי־מְקוֹרְךָ֥ בָר֑וּךְ וּ֜שְׂמַ֗ח מֵאֵ֥שֶׁת נְעוּרֶֽךָ:
Your fountain shall be blessed, and you shall rejoice with the wife of your youth: That is the Torah which you learned in your youth.  
19a lovely hind and a graceful mountain goat, her breasts will satisfy you at all times; you shall always be intoxicated with her love.   יטאַיֶּ֥לֶת אֲהָבִ֗ים וְֽיַעֲלַ֫ת־חֵ֥ן דַּ֖דֶּיהָ יְרַוֻּ֣ךָ בְכָל־עֵ֑ת בְּ֜אַהֲבָתָ֗הּ תִּשְׁגֶּ֥ה תָמִֽיד:
you shall always be intoxicated: Heb. תשגה. I saw in the words of Rabbi Moshe Hadarshan that תשגה means “you shall always busy yourself,” and it is an Arabic expression. He cited as proof, “to seek shegiah,” meaning to seek business, but I do not know where it is stated. But our Sages explained it as an expression of intoxication (lit. inadvertence), as its apparent meaning. On account of her love, you shall be inadvertent in your other affairs, because she will guard your things. They said concerning Rabbi Eleazar the son of Pedath, that he was preaching in the lower market and his cloak was lying in the upper market. Once a man came and found a snake coiled on it.  
20Now why should you, my son, be intoxicated by a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of an alien one?   כוְלָ֤מָּה תִשְׁגֶּ֣ה בְנִ֣י בְזָרָ֑ה וּ֜תְחַבֵּ֗ק חֵ֣ק נָכְרִיָּֽה:
21For man's ways are opposite the Lord's eyes, and He weighs all his paths.   כאכִּ֤י נֹ֨כַח עֵינֵ֣י יְ֖הוָה דַּרְכֵי־אִ֑ישׁ וְֽכָל־מַעְגְּלֹתָ֥יו מְפַלֵּֽס:
For man’s ways are opposite the Lord’s eyes, and He weighs, etc.: He weighs his ways and knows how many sins and how many merits he has.  
22His iniquities shall trap the wicked man, and he shall be hanged with the ropes of his sin.   כבעַֽווֹנוֹתָ֗יו יִלְכְּדֻנ֥וֹ אֶת־הָרָשָׁ֑ע וּבְחַבְלֵ֥י חַ֜טָּאת֗וֹ יִתָּמֵֽךְ:
His iniquities shall trap: Heb. ילכדנו it. shall trap him, like ילכדוהו  
and he shall be hanged with the ropes of his sin: יתמך, lit. he shall be supported. He shall be hanged, for the one hanged is supported by the ropes with which he is hanged.  
23He shall die without discipline, and he shall err with his exceeding foolishness.   כגה֗וּא יָ֖מוּת בְּאֵ֣ין מוּסָ֑ר וּבְרֹ֖ב אִוַּלְתּ֣וֹ יִשְׁגֶּֽה:
He shall die without discipline: Because he did not accept discipline.  
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