Chapter 28

1For silver has a mine, and gold has a place where it is refined.   אכִּ֚י יֵ֣שׁ לַכֶּ֣סֶף מוֹצָ֑א וּ֜מָק֗וֹם לַזָּהָ֥ב יָזֹֽקּוּ:
For silver has a mine: This, too, is another reason for his first statement that he said (27:6), “I have maintained my righteousness,” for why should I be wicked? If for silver or gold, each one has a source and an end, but from where does wisdom come? This is the end of the chapter; that is the most precious of all. Therefore, all my life, I set my heart on studying it.  
and… a place: Gold has [a place] whence they refine and smelt it.  
2Iron is taken from earth and copper is smelted from stone.   בבַּרְזֶל מֵֽעָפָ֣ר יֻקָּ֑ח וְ֜אֶ֗בֶן יָצ֥וּק נְחוּשָֽׁה:
and copper is smelted from stone: From the mountain the smith smelts the copper. Hence, everything has a beginning and an end, for the whole world will end with all that is therein.  
3He made an end to darkness, and every end He fathoms-a stone of darkness and the shadow of death.   גקֵ֚ץ | שָׁ֚ם לַח֗שֶׁךְ וּֽלְכָל־תַּ֖כְלִית ה֣וּא חוֹקֵ֑ר אֶ֖בֶן אֹ֣פֶל וְצַלְמָֽוֶת:
He made an end: The Omnipresent [made an end] when there will be darkness, for the heavens shall vanish and the earth shall rot away, and He fathoms the end of everything.  
a stone: A stone whence darkness and the shadow of death emanate. A stone is the place of the source of trouble. For this reason, a place of trouble is called a stone, like a man who dashes his foot against a stone, who suffers pain. So I heard. This is like (Isa. 34:11), “a line of waste and stones of destruction” ; (Dan. 2:45), “that from the mountain a stone was cut.”  
4A stream burst forth from the place of its flow; those who cause the foot to be forgotten are removed, yea, from man they are lifted up.   דפָּ֚רַץ נַ֨חַל | מֵֽעִם־גָּ֗ר הַנִּשְׁכָּחִ֥ים מִנִּי־רָ֑גֶל דַּ֖לּוּ מֵֽאֱנ֣וֹשׁ נָֽעוּ:
A stream burst forth: on Sodom and Gemorrah, streams of fire and brimstone.  
from the place of its flow: Heb. מעם גר, from the place from which it gushes and flows (נוגר).  
those who cause the foot to be forgotten: These are the people of Sodom, who caused the feet of wayfarers to be forgotten from their land, for they would lay the wayfarer in a bed. If he was too long, they would cut off his feet, and if he was too short, they would stretch him. In this manner it is explained in the Aggadah.  
they are lifted up: through the bursting forth of the stream, and they are moved away from man.  
5A land from which bread emerged, and its place was as though turned into fire.   האֶ֗רֶץ מִמֶּ֥נָּה יֵֽצֵא־לָ֑חֶם וְ֜תַחְתֶּ֗יהָ נֶהְפַּ֥ךְ כְּמוֹ־אֵֽשׁ:
A land-that from [it] bread emerged: its place was as though turned into fire.  
6Its stones [were] a place of sapphire, and it had gold dust.   ומְקֽוֹם־סַפִּ֥יר אֲבָנֶ֑יהָ וְעַפְרֹ֖ת זָהָ֣ב לֽוֹ:
a place of sapphire: its stones were.  
7A path unknown to brigands and which the eye of a vulture did not see.   זנָתִיב לֹֽא־יְדָ֣עוֹ עָ֑יִט וְלֹ֥א שְׁ֜זָפַ֗תּוּ עֵ֣ין אַיָּֽה:
A path unknown to brigands: Heb. עיט. A band of robbers never passed by them.  
and which the eye of a vulture did not see: Since it sees more than other birds, and is therefore called רָאָה, because it stands in Babylon and sees a carcass in Eretz Israel. That is how it is explained in the Aggadah of Hullin (632); i.e., spies never discerned it.  
8Proud beasts did not tread it, neither did a lion pass by it.   חלֹֽא־הִדְרִיכ֥וּהוּ בְנֵי־שָׁ֑חַץ לֹֽא־עָדָ֖ה עָלָ֣יו שָֽׁחַל:
neither did… pass by it: Heb. עדה, passed, as we translate (Gen. 15 17), “which passed between these parts,” דִּעֲדָה.  
Proud beasts: Heb. (שַחַץ) and lion (שַחַל) are some of the seven names of the lion (Sanh. 95a: The lion has seven names.) Now what did the Holy One, blessed be He, do?…  
9He stretched His hand upon the flinty rock; He turned it over from the root of the mountains.   טבַּֽחַלָּמִישׁ שָׁלַ֣ח יָד֑וֹ הָפַ֖ךְ מִשֹּׁ֣רֶשׁ הָרִֽים:
upon the flinty rock: and turned over the roots of the mountains from top to bottom.  
10In the rocks, He split rivers, and His eye saw all precious things.   יבַּצּוּרוֹת יְאֹרִ֣ים בִּקֵּ֑עַ וְכָל־יְ֜קָ֗ר רָֽאֲתָ֥ה עֵינֽוֹ:
In the rocks, He split rivers: He refers back to the beginning of his topic, that he said that everything has a source. He split the rocks for the source of the rivers, and so, “His eye saw every precious thing,” whence it would emerge for the creatures, [as He did for Israel; He struck a rock and its water flowed.]  
11He bound up the depths of the rivers, and [from] Taalumah He brings out light.   יאמִבְּכִי נְהָר֣וֹת חִבֵּ֑שׁ וְ֜תַֽעֲלֻמָ֗הּ יֹ֣צִא אֽוֹר:
He bound up the depths of the rivers: Heb. מבכי. In the Creation of the world, when the lower waters wept (בכו).  
the depths: Heb. מבכי, like (below 38: 16), “the depths of (נבכי) the sea.”  
bound up: Heb. חבש, like (Gen. 22:3), “and saddled (ויחבש) his donkey.” I did not hear this. [Other editions:  
Because of the weeping etc.: Because of the weeping of Israel, who were weeping, saying, “What will we drink,” He bound up and fixed for them water from the rock. (Lev. 8:13), “ And he fixed hats (ויחבש) for them,” is translated into Aramaic as ואתקין.]  
and [from] Taalumah He brings out light: There is a window in the firmament, named Taalumah, from which the sun develops in its orbit [in Pirke d’Rabbi Eliezer] (ch. 6). That is to say that everything has a source and an end; only wisdom has no source except from His mouth, and never an end.  
12But wisdom-whence will it be found, and where is the place of understanding?   יבוְהַֽחָכְמָה מֵאַ֣יִן תִּמָּצֵ֑א וְאֵ֥י זֶ֜ה מְק֣וֹם בִּינָֽה:
But wisdom: i.e., Torah.  
13No mortal knows its value, and it will not be found in the land of the living.   יגלֹֽא־יָדַ֣ע אֱנ֣וֹשׁ עֶרְכָּ֑הּ וְלֹ֥א תִ֜מָּצֵ֗א בְּאֶ֣רֶץ הַֽחַיִּֽים:
and it will not be found in the land of the living: with one who enlivens himself, but with one who “puts himself to death” with toil and hunger.  
14The deep says, "It is not in me," and the sea says, "It is not with me."   ידתְּה֣וֹם אָ֖מַר לֹ֣א בִי־הִ֑יא וְיָ֥ם אָ֜מַ֗ר אֵ֣ין עִמָּדִֽי:
The deep says, “It is not in me,”: If you ask those who dive into the deep, who deal with pearls, with the source of pearls and with gold and silver mines from the place of the depths of the earth, they will tell you, “It is not in me.” I am not well-versed in halachic instruction.  
and the sea says: And those who go down to the sea for business will say to you, “Wisdom is not with me.” Why? Because they cannot purchase it like other merchandise, to give of their wealth for its price. And in the Aggadah (see Shabbath 89a), it is stated that at the time of the giving of the Torah, Satan came before the Holy One, blessed be He, and said to Him, “Where is the Torah?” He replied, “With the son of Amram.” He came to Moses, and said to him, “Where is the Torah?” “With the sea.” He came to the sea and asked it, “Where is the Torah?” “It is not in me. Go to the son of Amram.” He came to the son of Amram and said to him, “Where is the Torah?” “With the deep.” He came to the deep and asked, “Where is the Torah?” It replied, “It is not with me. Go to the son of Amram.” He came to the son of Amram and asked, “Where is the Torah?” “With the Holy One, blessed be He.” This is what the deep says, “It is not in me,” and the sea says, “It is not with me.”  
15Fine gold cannot be given in its place, neither can silver be weighed out as its price.   טולֹֽא־יֻתַּ֣ן סְג֣וֹר תַּחְתֶּ֑יהָ וְלֹ֥א יִ֜שָּׁקֵ֗ל כֶּ֣סֶף מְחִירָֽהּ:
Fine gold cannot be given: Heb. סְגוּר. This is synonymous with זהב סגוּר, lit. closed gold. This is fine gold, for when it is open, all gold establishments close.  
16It cannot be praised with jewelry of Ophir, with precious onyx and sapphire.   טזלֹ֣א תְ֖סֻלֶּה בְּכֶ֣תֶם אוֹפִ֑יר בְּשֹׁ֖הַם יָקָ֣ר וְסַפִּֽיר:
It cannot be praised: Heb. תסלה, an expression of (Ps. 68:5), “Extol Him (סלו) Who rides in Aravoth.” He who praises it saying, “It is as esteemed as the gold of Ophir and as precious onyx,” -this is no praise for it. Similar to this is (Lam. 4: 2), “praised (המסלאים) with fine gold.”  
17Neither gold nor glass can equal it, nor is a pure golden vessel its exchange.   יזלֹא־יַעַרְכֶ֣נָּה זָ֖הָב וּזְכוּכִ֑ית וּתְמ֖וּרָתָ֣הּ כְּלִי־פָֽז:
gold: Pure gold that shines like pearls.  
its exchange: is not a pure golden vessel.  
18Coral and crystal cannot be mentioned, and the striving for wisdom [is more precious] than pearls.   יחרָאמ֣וֹת וְ֖גָבִישׁ לֹ֣א יִזָּכֵ֑ר וּמֶ֥שֶׁךְ חָ֜כְמָ֗ה מִפְּנִינִֽים:
Coral and crystal: They are names of precious stones in the sea.  
cannot be mentioned: in comparison to it.  
19The topaz of Kush cannot equal it; it cannot be praised with jewelry of pure gold.   יטלֹא־יַֽ֖עַרְכֶנָּה פִּטְדַת־כּ֑וּשׁ בְּכֶ֥תֶם טָ֜ה֗וֹר לֹ֣א תְסֻלֶּֽה:
The topaz of Kush: It is a precious stone, as in (Exod. 28:17), “ruby, topaz (פטדה).”  
with… jewelry: Heb. בכתם. That is a collection of jewelry for women’s adornments, and this collection is called כֶּתֶם in Hebrew, and “al halls” in Arabic. That is (Prov. 25:12) “Like a golden earring and jewelry of the finest gold (וחלי כתם) ,” and similarly (Hosea 2:15), “and adorned herself with her earrings and her jewelry (וחליתה).” Others interpret כֶּתֶם like כֶּתֶר, a crown, but it is incorrect because we do not find a verb with this root, as we find with כֶּתֶר. מַכְתִּיר, to crown or surround, כותרות capitals.  
20Now whence does wisdom come, and where is the place of understanding?   כוְהַֽחָכְמָה מֵאַ֣יִן תָּב֑וֹא וְאֵ֥י זֶ֜֗ה מְק֣וֹם בִּינָֽה:
21It is hidden from the eyes of all living, and it is concealed from the winged creatures of the heavens.   כאוְֽנֶעֶלְמָה מֵֽעֵינֵ֣י כָל־חָ֑י וּמֵע֖וֹף הַשָּׁמַ֣יִם נִסְתָּֽרָה:
and from the winged creatures of the heavens: The angels who fly.  
22Destruction and death said, "With our ears we heard its report."   כבאֲבַדּ֣וֹן וָ֖מָוֶת אָֽמְר֑וּ בְּ֜אָזְנֵ֗ינוּ שָׁמַ֥עְנוּ שִׁמְעָֽהּ:
Destruction and death said: Those who destroy themselves and kill themselves over it said, “With our ears we heard its report that if one toils with it, it endures with him.” And others say as in the Aggadah that I explained above, that Satan came before the Omnipresent and asked Him, “Where is the Torah?” He said to him etc. That is what is written, “Destruction and death said, ‘With our ears we heard its report that it was given to Israel.’ But…”  
23God understood its way, and He knew its place.   כגאֱלֹהִים הֵבִ֣ין דַּרְכָּ֑הּ וְ֜ה֗וּא יָדַ֥ע אֶת־מְקוֹמָֽהּ:
God understood its way, and He knew its place: For He knows where it is situated, and they will also praise it and say of it that God understood its way; He looked at it and created the world with its letters in their order and according to their weight. He created all creatures as it is written in the secret of Sefer Yetzirah.  
24For He looks to the ends of the earth, and He sees under all the heavens.   כדכִּי־ה֖וּא לִקְצֽוֹת־הָאָ֣רֶץ יַבִּ֑יט תַּ֖חַת כָּל־הַשָּׁמַ֣יִם יִרְאֶֽה:
For He looks to the ends of the earth: how He should build them and create them, and under all the heavens He saw in it the needs of their creation.  
25To make a weight for the wind, and He meted out the water with a measure,   כהלַֽעֲשׂ֣וֹת לָר֣וּחַ מִשְׁקָ֑ל וּמַ֜֗יִם תִּכֵּ֥ן בְּמִדָּֽה:
To make: with it a weight for the wind, for each land according to its strength, and so the water according to its measure, according to what each land required to water it. There is an arid land which requires much rain, and there is a land that does not require so much.  
26when He made a decree for the rain and a way for the clouds [and] the thunders.   כובַּֽעֲשׂת֣וֹ לַמָּטָ֣ר חֹ֑ק וְ֜דֶ֗רֶךְ לַֽחֲזִ֥יז קֹלֽוֹת:
a decree: A set decree according to all the lands, and a spring and rivulet to water each land by His making a way for all the clouds, so that two thunders do not emerge through one hole, lest it destroy the world.  
27Then He saw and counted it, prepared it, yea, searched it out.   כזאָ֣ז רָ֖אָהּ וַיְסַפְּרָ֑הּ הֱ֜כִינָ֗הּ וְגַם־חֲקָרָֽהּ:
Then He saw: He saw it, looked at it, and with its counsel made everything.  
and counted it: He counted its letters, the double ones [such as בּב] and the simple ones, the first one (א), middle one (מ), and the final one (ת). אֶמֶת, is the seal of the Holy One, blessed be He. And so with the remaining orders He created everything with these letters. Everything is explained in the secret of Sefer Yetzirah.  
prepared it: He prepared it [wisdom] for the Creation.  
28And He said to man, 'Behold, the fear of the Lord is wisdom and shunning evil is understanding.' "   כחוַיֹּ֚אמֶר | לָֽאָדָ֗ם הֵ֚ן יִרְאַ֣ת אֲ֖דֹנָי הִ֣יא חָכְמָ֑ה וְס֖וּר מֵרַ֣ע בִּינָֽה:
Behold, the fear of the Lord is wisdom: One requires the other, and wisdom is unseemly without [the] fear [of the Lord].