Contact Us
The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary

Kohelet - Ecclesiastes - Chapter 5

Kohelet - Ecclesiastes - Chapter 5

 Email
Rashi's Commentary:
Show content in:

Chapter 5

1Be not rash with your mouth, and let your heart not be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven, and you are on the earth; therefore, let your words be few.   אאַל־תְּבַהֵ֨ל עַל־פִּ֜יךָ וְלִבְּךָ֧ אַל־יְמַהֵ֛ר לְהוֹצִ֥יא דָבָ֖ר לִפְנֵ֣י הָֽאֱלֹהִ֑ים כִּ֣י הָֽאֱלֹהִ֤ים בַּשָּׁמַ֨יִם֙ וְאַתָּ֣ה עַל־הָאָ֔רֶץ עַֽל־כֵּ֛ן יִֽהְי֥וּ דְבָרֶ֖יךָ מְעַטִּֽים:
utter a word before God: to speak harshly against Heaven.  
for God is in heaven, and you are on the earth: And even if a weak one is above, and a mighty one is below, the fear of the weak one is upon the mighty one, and all the more so if a mighty one is above and a weak one is below!  
2For a dream comes with much concern, and the voice of the fool with many words.   בכִּ֛י בָּ֥א הַֽחֲל֖וֹם בְּרֹ֣ב עִנְיָ֑ן וְק֥וֹל כְּסִ֖יל בְּרֹ֥ב דְּבָרִֽים:
For a dream comes with much concern: For it is usual for a dream to come because of the many thoughts upon which a person ponders and thinks during the day, and it is usual for the voice of a fool to come with many words, because by increasing his words, he utters a voice of foolishness from his mouth, for [from talking too much] transgression is inevitable; therefore, I say that your words should be few.  
3When you pronounce a vow to God, do not delay to pay, for He has no pleasure in fools; that which you vow, pay.   גכַּֽאֲשֶׁר֩ תִּדֹּ֨ר נֶ֜דֶר לֵֽאלֹהִ֗ים אַל־תְּאַחֵר֙ לְשַׁלְּמ֔וֹ כִּ֛י אֵ֥ין חֵ֖פֶץ בַּכְּסִילִ֑ים אֵ֥ת אֲשֶׁר־תִּדֹּ֖ר שַׁלֵּֽם:
He has no pleasure in fools: The Holy One, blessed be He, has no pleasure in the wicked who vow and do not pay.  
4It is better that you vow not, than that you vow and do not pay it.   דט֖וֹב אֲשֶׁ֣ר לֹֽא־תִדֹּ֑ר מִשֶּׁתִּדּ֖וֹר וְלֹ֥א תְשַׁלֵּֽם:
5Do not allow your mouth to cause sin to your flesh, and say not before the messenger that it is an error; why should God be wroth with your voice and destroy the work of your hands?   האַל־תִּתֵּ֤ן אֶת־פִּ֨יךָ֙ לַֽחֲטִ֣יא אֶת־בְּשָׂרֶ֔ךָ וְאַל־תֹּאמַר֙ לִפְנֵ֣י הַמַּלְאָ֔ךְ כִּ֥י שְׁגָגָ֖ה הִ֑יא לָ֣מָּה יִקְצֹ֤ף הָֽאֱלֹהִים֙ עַל־קוֹלֶ֔ךָ וְחִבֵּ֖ל אֶת־מַֽעֲשֵׂ֥ה יָדֶֽיךָ:
Do not allow your mouth: with a vow.  
to cause sin to your flesh: that He should visit the iniquity on your children.  
and say not before the messenger: the messenger who comes to demand of you the charity that you pledged in public.  
that it is an error: By error, I pledged it. I thought that I would have the ability to give.  
and destroy the work of your hands: The commandments that were in your hands, that you have already performed, you have lost. It is interpreted in this manner in the Midrash (Ecc. Rabbah).  
with your voice: because of your voice.  
6For despite many dreams and vanities and many words, only fear God.   וכִּ֣י בְרֹ֤ב חֲלֹמוֹת֙ וַֽהֲבָלִ֔ים וּדְבָרִ֖ים הַרְבֵּ֑ה כִּ֥י אֶת־הָֽאֱלֹהִ֖ים יְרָֽא:
For despite many dreams, etc.: for [despite all that,] dreams, false prophets, and many words tell you, to part with the Omnipresent.  
only fear God: כִּי serves as an expression of “but.” Do not obey the dreams, but fear God.  
7If you see oppression of the poor and deprivation of justice and righteousness in the province, wonder not about the matter, for the Highest over the high waits, and there are higher ones over them.   זאִם־עֹ֣שֶׁק רָ֠שׁ וְגֵ֨זֶל מִשְׁפָּ֤ט וָצֶ֨דֶק֙ תִּרְאֶ֣ה בַמְּדִינָ֔ה אַל־תִּתְמַ֖הּ עַל־הַחֵ֑פֶץ כִּ֣י גָבֹ֜הַּ מֵעַ֤ל גָּבֹ֨הַּ֙ שֹׁמֵ֔ר וּגְבֹהִ֖ים עֲלֵיהֶֽם:
If you see oppression of the poor and deprivation of justice and righteousness, etc.: If you see in the province that they oppress the poor and deprive [them of] justice and righteousness.  
wonder not: about the will of the Omnipresent, when He brings evil upon them.  
for the Highest over the high waits: and sees their deeds, and there are higher ones [i.e., angels] over them who perform the agency of the Omnipresent, and they have a strong hand to punish them.  
and deprivation of justice: Heb. וְגֵזֶל מִשְּׁפָּט, deprivation of justice. Since it is in the construct state, it is vowelized גֶזֶל, with a small “pattah” (seggol), for were it not in the construct state, it would be vowelized גָזֵל with a “kamatz.” Another explanation: If you see that they oppress the poor and deprive them of justice, and you see charity coming to the city, that the Holy One, blessed be He, lavishes goodness upon them and does not mete retribution upon them, do not wonder about the will of the Omnipresent, for so is His custom, to be slow to anger.  
for the Highest over the high waits: He waits until their measure is full.  
and… higher ones: He has over them to recompense them when the time of their visitation arrives, like (Job 14:15): “You do not wait (תִשְּׁמוֹר) for my sin” ; (Isa. 26:2): “awaiting (שֹּׁמֵר) the realization” ; (Gen. 37: 11): “awaited (שָּׁמַר) the matter.”  
8And the loftiness of the earth is in everything; even the King is subservient to the field.   חוְיִתְר֥וֹן אֶ֖רֶץ בַּכֹּ֣ל ה֑וּא (כתיב ה֑יּא) מֶ֥לֶךְ לְשָׂדֶ֖ה נֶֽעֱבָֽד:
And the loftiness of the earth is in everything: and the loftiness of the dwellers of the earth, who are haughty and provoke the Omnipresent.  
is in everything: In everything, he performs His agency to recompense them, even through mosquitoes, as He did to Titus.  
even the King is subservient to the field: The Holy One, blessed be He, became subservient to Zion, to demand [the punishment for] their mistreatment from her destroyers and to pay her reward to her builders.  
9Whoever loves silver will not be sated with silver, and he who loves a multitude without increase-this too is vanity.   טאֹהֵ֥ב כֶּ֨סֶף֙ לֹֽא־יִשְׂבַּ֣ע כֶּ֔סֶף וּמִֽי־אֹהֵ֥ב בֶּֽהָמ֖וֹן לֹ֣א תְבוּאָ֑ה גַּם־זֶ֖ה הָֽבֶל:
Whoever loves silver will not be sated with silver: Whoever loves the commandments will not be sated with them.  
and he who loves a multitude: of many commandments.  
without increase: and none of them has a specific and recognizable commandment, such as the building of the Temple or a synagogue, or a beautiful Sepher Torah.  
this too is vanity: So are these two verses expounded upon in the Midrash, and there are other suitable interpretations, but I stated this one first because it is related to the matter of (verse 7): “and there are higher ones over them,” which Scripture juxtaposed to them. Another explanation:  
[8] And the loftiness of the earth is over everything: The reward for tilling the soil is esteemed over everything, for even the king must be subservient to the field; if the earth produced fruits, he will eat, but if not, he dies from hunger.  
[9] Whoever loves silver will not be sated with silver: He will not eat money, and he who loves a multitude-of money…  
without grain: that he does not gather for himself produce-this too is vanity. Another explanation:  
[8] And the loftiness of the land is in everything: The reward of Israel is in all words of Torah, both in Scripture, in Mishnah, and in Gemara.  
the king is subservient to the field: If he is [well-versed] in Scripture and in Mishnah, he must still be subservient to the one well-versed in Gemara, because he arranges before him the practical decisions of prohibition and permissibility, uncleanness and cleanness, and laws of jurisprudence.  
[9] Whoever loves silver: Whoever loves Torah, will not be sated with it.  
and he who loves a multitude: of Torah.  
without grain: [He] who has [knowledge of] Scripture and Mishnah, but has no [knowledge of] Gemara, what use does he have? All these are in Leviticus Rabbah (23:13).  
10With the increase of good, its eaters increase, and what is the advantage to its Master, except seeing [with] His eyes?   יבִּרְבוֹת֙ הַטּוֹבָ֔ה רַבּ֖וּ אֽוֹכְלֶ֑יהָ וּמַה־כִּשְׁרוֹן֙ לִבְעָלֶ֔יהָ כִּ֖י אִם־רְא֥וּת (כתיב רְא֥יּת) עֵינָֽיו:
With the increase of good: when the Israelites improve their deeds.  
its eaters increase: the giving of the reward for the commandments.  
and what is the advantage to its Master: to the Holy One, blessed be He, with all the improvement of their deeds.  
except seeing [with] His eyes: that He sees that they are subservient to Him, and He has satisfaction [from the fact] that He commanded [lit. He said] and His will was done, and so [it is] concerning the sacrifices.  
With the increase of good its eaters increase: When they bring many freewill offerings, the priests who eat it increase.  
and what is the advantage to its Master: to the Holy One, blessed be He.  
except what He sees [with] His eyes: that He commanded, and His will was done.  
11The sleep of the laborer is sweet, whether he eat little or much, but the satiety of the rich does not allow him to sleep.   יאמְתוּקָה֙ שְׁנַ֣ת הָֽעֹבֵ֔ד אִם־מְעַ֥ט וְאִם־הַרְבֵּ֖ה יֹאכֵ֑ל וְהַשָּׂבָע֙ לֶֽעָשִׁ֔יר אֵינֶ֛נּוּ מַנִּ֥יחַֽ ל֖וֹ לִישֽׁוֹן:
The sleep of the laborer is sweet: The one who tills the soil sleeps, and he enjoys his sleep, whether he eats little or whether he eats much, for he is already accustomed to it.  
but the satiety of the rich does not allow him to sleep: But the satiety of belongings of the rich man, who owns much merchandise, does not allow him to sleep; all night he thinks about them. Another explanation: The year of the one who serves God is sweet; whether the days of his years are few or many, he will eat his reward-the one who had few years like the one who had many years. Moses led Israel forty years, and the prophet Samuel led them ten years, yet Scripture equated them, this one like that one, as it is said (Ps. 99.6): “Moses and Aaron among His priests, and Samuel among those who call in His name, etc.” So is it expounded upon in Tanhuma (Ki Thissa 3).  
but the satiety of the rich: the one who has taught many traditions.  
does not allow him to sleep: in the grave, as it is said (Song 7:10): “making the lips of the sleeping speak.” Every Torah scholar, in whose name a traditional law is recited-his lips speak in the grave.  
12There is a grievous evil that I saw under the sun; riches kept by their owner for his harm.   יביֵשׁ רָעָ֣ה חוֹלָ֔ה רָאִ֖יתִי תַּ֣חַת הַשָּׁ֑מֶשׁ עֹ֛שֶׁר שָׁמ֥וּר לִבְעָלָ֖יו לְרָֽעָתֽוֹ:
riches kept by their owner for his harm: like the riches of Korah, because of which he became haughty and descended into the grave.  
13And those riches are lost through an evil design, and he will beget a son who will have nothing in his hand.   יגוְאָבַ֛ד הָעֹ֥שֶׁר הַה֖וּא בְּעִנְיַ֣ן רָ֑ע וְהוֹלִ֣יד בֵּ֔ן וְאֵ֥ין בְּיָד֖ וֹ מְאֽוּמָה:
who will have nothing in his hand: not even the merit of his fathers.  
14As he left his mother's womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and he will carry nothing with his toil, that he will take in his hand.   ידכַּֽאֲשֶׁ֤ר יָצָא֙ מִבֶּ֣טֶן אִמּ֔וֹ עָר֛וֹם יָשׁ֥וּב לָלֶ֖כֶת כְּשֶׁבָּ֑א וּמְא֨וּמָה֙ לֹֽא־יִשָּׂ֣א בַֽעֲמָל֔וֹ שֶׁיֹּלֵ֖ךְ בְּיָדֽוֹ:
and he will carry nothing with his toil: When he dies, he will not take in his hand any merit of charity that he did with his money during his lifetime.  
15And this too is a grievous evil, that just as it came so shall it go, and what advantage does he have that he toil for the wind?   טווְגַם־זֹה֙ רָעָ֣ה חוֹלָ֔ה כָּל־עֻמַּ֥ת שֶׁבָּ֖א כֵּ֣ן יֵלֵ֑ךְ וּמַה־יִּתְר֣וֹן ל֔וֹ שֶֽׁיַּֽעֲמֹ֖ל לָרֽוּחַ:
just as it came: that money, so will it go.  
16Also all his days he eats in the dark, and he has much vexation and sickness and wrath.   טזגַּ֥ם כָּל־יָמָ֖יו בַּחֹ֣שֶׁךְ יֹאכֵ֑ל וְכָעַ֥ס הַרְבֵּ֖ה וְחָלְי֥וֹ וָקָֽצֶף:
and sickness: Heb. וְחָלְיוֹ, like וְחֹלִי, and the “vav” is superfluous, like the “vav” of (Ps. 104:20): “beast (חֳיְתוֹ) of the forest.”  
17Behold what I saw; it is good, yea, it is beautiful, to eat and drink and to experience goodness with all his toil that he toils under the sun, the number of the days of his life that God gave him, for that is his portion.   יזהִנֵּ֞ה אֲשֶׁר־רָאִ֣יתִי אָ֗נִי ט֣וֹב אֲשֶׁר־יָפֶ֣ה לֶֽאֱכ֣וֹל־וְ֠לִשְׁתּ֠וֹת וְלִרְא֨וֹת טוֹבָ֜ה בְּכָל־עֲמָל֣וֹ | שֶׁיַּֽעֲמֹ֣ל תַּֽחַת־הַשֶּׁ֗מֶשׁ מִסְפַּ֧ר יְמֵֽי־חַיָּ֛ו אֲשֶׁר־נָֽתַן־ל֥וֹ הָֽאֱלֹהִ֖ים כִּי־ה֥וּא חֶלְקֽוֹ:
to eat and drink and to experience goodness: to engage in the Torah, which is a good doctrine; and he should not accumulate much wealth, but he should rejoice with the portion given him, for that is his portion.  
18Also every man whom God has given riches and property and has given him power to eat thereof and to take his portion and to rejoice with his toil; that is a gift of God.   יחגַּ֣ם כָּֽל־הָֽאָדָ֡ם אֲשֶׁ֣ר נָֽתַן־ל֣וֹ הָֽאֱלֹהִים֩ עֹ֨שֶׁר וּנְכָסִ֜ים וְהִשְׁלִיט֨וֹ לֶֽאֱכֹ֤ל מִמֶּ֨נּ וּ֙ וְלָשֵׂ֣את אֶת־חֶלְק֔וֹ וְלִשְׂמֹ֖חַ בַּֽעֲמָל֑וֹ זֹ֕ה מַתַּ֥ת אֱלֹהִ֖ים הִֽיא:
and has given him power to eat thereof: during his lifetime.  
and to take his portion: in his death, that He should enable him to engage in the Torah and in the commandments during his lifetime, so that he should receive reward.  
19For let him remember that the days of his life are not many, for God is testimony of the joy of his heart.   יטכִּי לֹ֣א הַרְבֵּ֔ה יִזְכֹּ֖ר אֶת־יְמֵ֣י חַיָּ֑יו כִּ֧י הָֽאֱלֹהִ֛ים מַֽעֲנֶ֖ה בְּשִׂמְחַ֥ת לִבּֽוֹ:
are not many: for there is no longevity in this world.  
For let him remember that the days of his life: for they are few and not many; so why should he toil to accumulate wealth? Let him toil in his lifetime with a thing that endures for him in the World to Come.  
for God is testimony, etc.: The Holy One, blessed be He, [testifies] a constant testimony about this forever.  
of the joy of his heart: that he rejoiced to do good in his lifetime, and I saw in the Midrash (Ecc. Rabbah): This refers to Elkanah, who led Israel up to Shiloh on the festivals, and on the way that he brought them up on one year he did not bring them up the foll owing year, in order to publicize the matter and to accustom them [to perform the pilgrimage]. Therefore, Scripture praises him (I Sam. 1:3): “And that man was wont to go up from his city, etc.” I believe [lit., I say] that this Midrash is [based on] the end of the verse: “for God is testimony of the joy of his heart.” This is Elkanah, whom the Holy One, blessed be He, established in the Scriptures, and testified about him: “And that man was wont to go up from his city.”  
testimony: Heb. מַעֲנֶה. This is vowelized with a “pattah kattan” (seggol). Therefore, I explain it as a noun, like (Job 32:5): “for there was no answer (מַעֲנֶה) in the mouth of the three men.”  
of the joy of his heart: that he was happy on the festival.  
 Email
The text on this page contains sacred literature. Please do not deface or discard.