Chapter 15

1A gentle reply turns away wrath, but a distressing word stirs up anger.   אמַֽעֲנֶה־רַ֖ךְ יָשִׁ֣יב חֵמָ֑ה וּדְבַר־עֶ֜֗צֶב יַעֲלֶה־אָֽף:
2The tongue of the wise enhances knowledge, but the mouth of the fools pours out folly.   בלְשׁ֣וֹן חֲ֖כָמִים תֵּיטִ֣יב דָּ֑עַת וּפִ֥י כְ֜סִילִ֗ים יַבִּ֥יעַ אִוֶּֽלֶת:
3The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, viewing the evil and the good.   גבְּֽכָל־מָ֖קוֹם עֵינֵ֣י יְהוָ֑ה צֹ֜פ֗וֹת רָעִ֥ים וְטוֹבִֽים:
4A healing tongue is a tree of life, but if there is perverseness in it, it causes destruction by wind.   דמַרְפֵּ֣א לָ֖שׁוֹן עֵ֣ץ חַיִּ֑ים וְסֶ֥לֶף בָּ֜֗הּ שֶׁ֣בֶר בְּרֽוּחַ:
but if there is perverseness in it, it causes destruction by wind: When one is perverse with his tongue, it will ultimately bring upon him destruction that comes from the east wind, which is prepared to mete out retribution upon the wicked, as it is stated (Ex. 14: 21): “with a strong east wind” ; (Jer. 18: 17): “Like an east wind I will scatter them” ; and (Ps. 48:8): “With an east wind, You break the ships of Tarshish.”  
5A fool despises the discipline of his father, but he who keeps reproof will become cunning.   האֱוִ֗יל יִ֖נְאַץ מוּסַ֣ר אָבִ֑יו וְשֹׁמֵ֖ר תּוֹכַ֣חַת יַעְרִֽם:
6The house of a righteous man possesses great strength, but it becomes ruined with the bringing of the wicked man.   ובֵּ֣ית צַ֖דִּיק חֹ֣סֶן רָ֑ב וּבִתְבוּאַ֖ת רָשָׁ֣ע נֶעְכָּֽרֶת:
The house of a righteous man possesses great strength: The Temple that David the Righteous built is a great strength and a mighty tower for Israel.  
but it becomes ruined with the bringing of the wicked man: But with the bringing of the idols that Manasseh brought into it, it was ruined.  
7The lips of the wise crown knowledge, but the heart of the fools is not so.   זשִׂפְתֵ֣י חֲ֖כָמִים יְזָ֣רוּ דָ֑עַת וְלֵ֖ב כְּסִילִ֣ים לֹא־כֵֽן:
The lips of the wise crown knowledge: יזרו, they crown knowledge, as in (Ex. 25: “a gold crown (זר).”  
is not so: It is not true gold.  
8The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination of the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is His will.   חזֶ֣בַח רְ֖שָׁעִים תּוֹעֲבַ֣ת יְהוָ֑ה וּתְפִלַּ֖ת יְשָׁרִ֣ים רְצוֹנֽוֹ:
The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination of the Lord: Balak and Balaam.  
but the prayer of the upright: This is Moses.  
9The way of a wicked man is an abomination of the Lord, but He loves him who pursues righteousness.   טתּוֹעֲבַ֣ת יְ֖הוָה דֶּ֣רֶךְ רָשָׁ֑ע וּמְרַדֵּ֖ף צְדָקָ֣ה יֶאֱהָֽב:
10Harsh discipline will come to him who forsakes the way; he who hates reproof shall die.   ימוּסָ֣ר רָ֖ע לְעֹזֵ֣ב אֹ֑רַח שׂוֹנֵ֖א תוֹכַ֣חַת יָמֽוּת:
Harsh discipline will come to him who forsakes the way: Harsh suffering is ready for him who transgresses the way of the Holy One, blessed be He.  
11The grave and Destruction are opposite the Lord- surely people's hearts.   יאשְׁא֣וֹל וַ֖אֲבַדּוֹן נֶ֣גֶד יְהוָ֑ה אַ֜֗ף כִּֽי־לִבּ֥וֹת בְּֽנֵי־אָדָֽם:
The grave and Destruction are opposite the Lord: It is revealed to Him all that are therein.  
surely people’s hearts: This is an inference from a major to a minor.  
12A scorner does not like being reproved; he does not go to the wise.   יבלֹ֣א יֶאֱהַב־לֵ֖ץ הוֹכֵ֣חַֽ ל֑וֹ אֶל־חֲ֜כָמִ֗ים לֹ֣א יֵלֵֽךְ:
13A merry heart makes a cheerful face, but by sadness of heart comes a breaking spirit.   יגלֵ֣ב שָׂ֖מֵחַ יֵיטִ֣ב פָּנִ֑ים וּבְעַצְּבַת־לֵ֜ב ר֣וּחַ נְכֵאָֽה:
A merry heart makes a cheerful face: If you cheer up the heart of the Holy One, blessed be He, by following His ways, He will show you a cheerful face to do your will, but if you sadden Him, He will show you a breaking spirit, as it is stated (Gen. 6:6f): “And He became saddened to His heart. And the Lord said, ‘I will erase man, etc.’ ”  
a breaking spirit: (Talant in Old French, explained in Ecc. 1:6) a spirit of fury.  
14The heart of an understanding person seeks knowledge, but the mouth of fools befriends folly.   ידלֵ֣ב נָ֖בוֹן יְבַקֶּשׁ־דָּ֑עַת וּפִ֥ני וּפִ֥י כְ֜סִילִ֗ים יִרְעֶ֥ה אִוֶּֽלֶת:
15All the days of a poor man are wretched, but he who has a cheerful heart always has a feast.   טוכָּל־יְמֵ֣י עָנִ֣י רָעִ֑ים וְטֽוֹב־לֵ֜֗ב מִשְׁתֶּ֥ה תָמִֽיד:
All the days of a poor man are wretched: Even Sabbaths and festivals, as Samuel said. A change of diet is the beginning of intestinal disorders.  
but he who has a cheerful heart: One whose heart is cheerful with his wealth.  
always has a feast: All his years seem to him like days of feasting to teach you that a person should be happy with his lot (Avoth 4:1). And our Sages expounded [on this] in the chapter entitled Chelek (Sanh. 100b, 101a).  
16Better a little with the fear of the Lord, than a great treasury and turmoil with it.   טזטוֹב־מְ֖עַט בְּיִרְאַ֣ת יְהוָ֑ה מֵאוֹצָ֥ר רָ֜֗ב וּמְה֥וּמָה בֽוֹ:
Better a little with the fear of the Lord, than a great treasury and turmoil with it: The voice of people shouting that the treasury was made from robbery and violence, as in (Amos 3:9): “And see great confusions within it and people being oppressed in its midst.”  
17Better a repast of herbs where there is love, than a fattened ox where there is hatred.   יזט֤וֹב אֲרֻחַ֣ת יָ֖רָק וְאַהֲבָה־שָׁ֑ם מִשּׁ֥וֹר אָ֜ב֗וּס וְשִׂנְאָה־בֽוֹ:
Better a repast of herbs: To give a poor man.  
where there is love: To show him a friendly countenance.  
than a fattened ox: To feed him fat meat and to show him an angry countenance.  
than a fattened ox: אבוס. An ox into whose mouth they stuff the food against his will, in order to fatten him. Likewise (I Kings 5: 3): “fatted (אבוסים) fowl.” And it can be explained allegorically as referring to the handful-the little bit offered up by the poor- [being better] than an ox for a sin-offering offered up by a wicked man.  
18A man of wrath stirs up quarrels, but he who is slow to anger abates strife.   יחאִ֣ישׁ חֵ֖מָה יְגָרֶ֣ה מָד֑וֹן וְאֶ֥רֶך אַ֜פַּ֗יִם יַשְׁקִ֥יט רִֽיב:
A man of wrath stirs up quarrel: A man who has no control over his anger, to be slow to anger, stirs up quarrels.  
but he who is slow to anger: Who does not hasten to take revenge and to quarrel.  
abates strife: It ends and abates by itself.  
19The way of a lazy man is like a hedge of thorns, but the path of the upright is even.   יטדֶּ֣רֶךְ עָ֖צֵל כִּמְשֹֻ֣כַת חָ֑דֶק וְאֹ֖רַח יְשָׁרִ֣ים סְלֻלָֽה:
The way of a lazy man is like a hedge of thorns: In his eyes, it appears as though the roads are fenced before him with a fence of thorns.  
like a hedge of: Heb. כמשכת. A fence, as in (Isa. 5:5): “I will remove its hedge (משוכתו).”  
thorns: Heb. חדק, thorns.  
but the path of the upright is even: סללה, trodden and cleared. The Midrash Aggadah (Pesikta d’Rav Kahana 11a) states: The way of Esau is like a thorn entangled in a fleece of wool. If you extract it from here, it catches on here. Likewise, no one can extricate himself from his false accusations without money.  
20A wise son makes his father happy, but a foolish person despises his mother.   כבֵּ֣ן חָ֖כָם יְשַׂמַּח־אָ֑ב וּכְסִ֥יל אָ֜דָ֗ם בּוֹזֶ֥ה אִמּֽוֹ:
A wise son makes his father happy, but a foolish person despises his mother: He causes people to despise his mother.  
21Folly is joy to one devoid of sense, but a man of understanding walks straight.   כאאִוֶּלֶת שִׂמְחָ֣ה לַחֲסַר־לֵ֑ב וְאִ֥ישׁ תְּ֜בוּנָ֗ה יְיַשֶּׁר־לָֽכֶת:
Folly is joy: It is joy for the one devoid of sense.  
22Plans are foiled for lack of counsel, but they are established through many advisers.   כבהָפֵ֣ר מַ֖חֲשָׁבוֹת בְּאֵ֣ין ס֑וֹד וּבְרֹ֖ב יוֹעֲצִ֣ים תָּקֽוּם:
Plans are foiled for lack of counsel: Without counsel, the plan will not be established.  
23A man has joy with the response of his mouth; and how good is a word in time!   כגשִׂמְחָ֣ה לָ֖אִישׁ בְּמַעֲנֵה־פִ֑יו וְדָבָ֖ר בְּעִתּ֣וֹ מַה־טּֽוֹב:
A man has joy with the response of his mouth: According to its apparent meaning: Through a soft answer and gentle speech, people love him. Our Sages expounded it as referring to those who memorize the Torah; if they utter an answer with their mouth, they will remember it and rejoice with it.  
and how good is a word in time!: They ask concerning the laws of Passover and the laws of Sukkoth in their season.  
24The path of life is above the intelligent person, in order that he turn away from the grave below.   כדאֹ֣רַח חַ֖יִּים לְמַ֣עְלָה לְמַשְׂכִּ֑יל לְמַ֥עַן ס֜֗וּר מִשְּׁא֥וֹל מָֽטָּה:
The path of life is above the intelligent person: As in (Isa. 6:2): “Seraphim stood above for Him.” Before the wise man, the path of life is arrayed and prepared.  
25The Lord will uproot the house of the haughty, but He will establish the boundary of the widow.   כהבֵּ֣ית גֵּ֖אִים יִסַּ֥ח יְהוָ֑ה וְ֜יַצֵּ֗ב גְּב֣וּל אַלְמָנָֽה:
26The thoughts of an evil person are an abomination of the Lord, but pleasant words are pure.   כותּוֹעֲבַ֣ת יְ֖הוָה מַחְשְׁב֣וֹת רָ֑ע וּ֜טְהֹרִ֗ים אִמְרֵי־נֹֽעַם:
27He who is greedy of gain troubles his own house, but he who hates gifts will live.   כזעֹכֵ֣ר בֵּ֖יתוֹ בּוֹצֵ֣עַ בָּ֑צַע וְשׂוֹנֵ֖א מַתָּנֹ֣ת יִחְיֶֽה:
troubles his own house: he who is greedy of gain.  
but he who hates gifts will live: Since he hates gifts, he surely hates robbery.  
28The heart of a righteous man thinks to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evils.   כחלֵ֣ב צַ֖דִּיק יֶהְגֶּ֣ה לַעֲנ֑וֹת וּפִ֥י רְ֜שָׁעִ֗ים יַבִּ֥יעַ רָעֽוֹת:
The heart of a righteous man thinks to answer: He will think and understand what to answer before replying.  
29The Lord is far from the wicked, but He listens to the prayer of the righteous.   כטרָח֣וֹק יְ֖הוָה מֵרְשָׁעִ֑ים וּתְפִלַּ֖ת צַדִּיקִ֣ים יִשְׁמָֽע:
30The light of the eyes makes the heart happy; good news fattens the bone.   למְֽאוֹר־עֵ֖ינַיִם יְשַׂמַּֽח־לֵ֑ב שְׁמוּעָ֥ה ט֜וֹבָ֗ה תְּדַשֶּׁן־עָֽצֶם:
The light of the eyes: in Torah.  
makes the heart happy: when they ask him something, and he knows what to answer. According to its simple meaning, it is to be interpreted according to its apparent meaning: A thing that is a delight to the sight of the eyes makes the heart happy and cleanses the sadness of the heart, such as a vegetable garden and flowing rivers.  
31The ear that listens to reproof of life shall lodge among the wise.   לאאֹ֗זֶן שֹׁ֖מַעַת תּוֹכַ֣חַת חַיִּ֑ים בְּקֶ֖רֶב חֲכָמִ֣ים תָּלִֽין:
32He who rejects discipline despises his life, but he who hearkens to reproof acquires sense.   לבפּוֹרֵ֣עַ מ֖וּסָר מוֹאֵ֣ס נַפְשׁ֑וֹ וְשׁוֹמֵ֥עַ תּ֜וֹכַ֗חַת ק֣וֹנֶה לֵּֽב:
33The fear of the Lord is the discipline of wisdom, and before honor there is humility.   לגיִרְאַ֣ת יְ֖הוָה מוּסַ֣ר חָכְמָ֑ה וְלִפְנֵ֖י כָב֣וֹד עֲנָוָֽה:
and before honor there is humility: Humility causes honor to come.