Chapter 2

1I said to myself, "Come now, I will mix [wine] with joy and experience pleasure"; and behold, this too was vanity.   אאָמַ֤רְתִּי אֲנִי֙ בְּלִבִּ֔י לְכָה־נָּ֛א אֲנַסְּכָ֥ה בְשִׂמְחָ֖ה וּרְאֵ֣ה בְט֑וֹב וְהִנֵּ֥ה גַם־ה֖וּא הָֽבֶל:
I said to myself: since that is so, I will refrain from wisdom, and I will constantly engage in drinking.   אָמַרְתִּי אֲנִי בְּלִבִּי: הוֹאִיל וְכֵן הוּא, אֶחְדַל לִי מִן הַחָכְמָה, וְאֶעֱסֹק בְּמִשְׁתֶּה תָמִיד:
I will mix: Heb. אֲנַסְכָה, an expression of mixing wine to drink, like (Prov. 9:2): “she has mingled (מָסְכָה) her wine,” the mingling of wine with water to improve it or the mingling of spices with wine for conditum (spiced wine).   אַנַסְּכָה: לְשׁוֹן מֶסֶךְ יַיִן לִשְׁתּוֹת, כְּמוֹ, "מָסְכָה יֵינָהּ". עֵרוּב יַיִן בְּמַיִם לְתַקְּנוֹ אוֹ עֵרוּב בְּשָׂמִים בְּיַיִן לְקוֹנְדִיטוֹן:
and experience pleasure: Heb. וּרְאֵה, like בְּטוֹב וּרְאוֹת.   וּרְאֵה בְטוֹב: כְּמוֹ "וּרְאוֹת בְּטוֹב":
and behold, this too was vanity: For I saw through prophecy that many misfortunes come about through laughter. Belshazzar died through a banquet, and the people of the Generation of the Flood were inundated because of the abundant goodness that You lavished upon them.   וְהִנֵּה גַם־הוּא הָבֶל: שֶׁהֲרֵי רָאִיתִי בִנְבוּאָה שֶׁהַרְבֵּה קִלְקוּלִים בָּאִים מִתּוֹךְ שְׂחוֹק. בֵּלְשַׁצַּר מֵת מִתּוֹךְ מִשְׁתֶּה, אַנְשֵׁי דוֹר הַמַּבּוּל נִשְׁטְפוּ מִתּוֹךְ רֹב טוֹבָה שֶׁהִשְׁפַּעְתָּ לָהֶם:
2Of laughter, I said, "[It is] mingled"; and concerning joy, "What does this accomplish?"   בלִשְׂח֖וֹק אָמַ֣רְתִּי מְהוֹלָ֑ל וּלְשִׂמְחָ֖ה מַה־זֹּ֥ה עֹשָֽׂה:
Of laughter, I said, “[It is] mingled”: mixed with weeping and sighs.   לִשְׂחוֹק אָמַרְתִּי מְהוֹלָל: מְעֹרֶבֶת בִּבְכִי וַאֲנָחָה:
and concerning joy, what: good does it accomplish? Behold, its end is grief.   וּלְשִׂמְחָה מַה־זֹה: טוֹבָה עֹשָׂה? הֲרֵי סוֹפָהּ תּוּגָה:
3I searched in my heart to indulge my body with wine, and my heart conducting itself with wisdom and holding onto folly, until I would see which is better for the children of men that they should do under the heavens, the number of the days of their lives.   גתַּ֣רְתִּי בְלִבִּ֔י לִמְשׁ֥וֹךְ בַּיַּ֖יִן אֶת־בְּשָׂרִ֑י וְלִבִּ֞י נֹהֵ֤ג בַּֽחָכְמָה֙ וְלֶֽאֱחֹ֣ז בְּסִכְל֔וּת עַ֣ד אֲשֶׁר־אֶרְאֶ֗ה אֵי־זֶ֨ה ט֜וֹב לִבְנֵ֤י הָֽאָדָם֙ אֲשֶׁ֤ר יַֽעֲשׂוּ֙ תַּ֣חַת הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם מִסְפַּ֖ר יְמֵ֥י חַיֵּיהֶֽם:
I searched in my heart: I returned to search in my heart to maintain all of them: feasting, wisdom, and folly, and to indulge and to pamper my body with wine feasting. Every feast of enjoyment is called מִשְּׁתֶּה because of the wine.   תַּרְתִּי בְלִבִּי: חָזַרְתִּי לָתוּר בְּלִבִּי לְהַחֲזִיק בְּכֻלָּן, בְּמִשְׁתֶּה, בְּחָכְמָה, וּבְסִכְלוּת, וְלִמְשֹׁךְ וּלְעַדֵּן בְּמִשְׁתֵּה הַיַּיִן אֶת־בְּשָׂרִי. כָּל־סְעֻדַּת עֹנֶג קְרוּיָה עַל שֵׁם הַיָּיִן:
conducting itself with wisdom: Even if my body is being indulged with wine, my heart is being conducted with wisdom, to hold onto the Torah.   וְלִבִּי נֹהֵג בַּחָכְמָה: אַף אִם בְּשָׂרִי נִמְשָׁךְ בַּיַּיִן, לִבִּי מִתְגַּלְגַּל בַּחָכְמָה, לְהַחֲזִיק בַּתּוֹרָה:
and holding onto folly: to things that appear to me as folly, concerning which I said, (Prov. 30:1): “God is with me; yea, God is with me, and I will be able,” for example, the wearing of shaatnez and mingled species in a vineyard, which Satan and the nations of the world dispute, and so he says (below 7:18): “It is good that you should take hold of this,” and also, concerning Saul, to whom it appeared folly to slay both man and woman, both infant and suckling, but it was the commandment of the Omnipresent, and he called it folly.   וְלֶאֱחֹז בְּסִכְלוּת: בִּדְבָרִים הַדּוֹמִים לִי לְסִכְלוּת, שֶׁאָמַרְתִּי עֲלֵיהֶם, "לְאִיתִיאֵל וְאֻכָל", וּכְגוֹן לְבִישַׁת שַׁעַטְנֵז וְכִלְאֵי הַכֶּרֶם, שֶׁהַשָּׂטָן וְאֻמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם מְשִׁיבִין עֲלֵיהֶם, וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר, "טוֹב אֲשֶׁר תֶּאֱחֹז בָּזֶה". וְגַם עַל שָׁאוּל שֶׁנִּדְמָה בְעֵינָיו סִכְלוּת לַהֲרוֹג מֵאִישׁ וְעַד אִשָּׁה, מֵעוֹלֵל וְעַד יוֹנֵק, וְהִיא מִצְוַת הַמָּקוֹם, וְקוֹרֵא אוֹתָהּ סִכְלוּת:
4I made myself great works; I built myself houses, and I planted myself vineyards.   דהִגְדַּ֖לְתִּי מַֽעֲשָׂ֑י בָּנִ֤יתִי לִי֙ בָּתִּ֔ים נָטַ֥עְתִּי לִ֖י כְּרָמִֽים:
I made myself great works: in the days of my greatness.   הִגְדַּלְתִּי מַעֲשָׂי: בִּימֵי גְדֻלָּתִי:
5I made myself gardens and orchards, and I planted in them all sorts of fruit trees.   העָשִׂ֣יתִי לִ֔י גַּנּ֖וֹת וּפַרְדֵּסִ֑ים וְנָטַ֥עְתִּי בָהֶ֖ם עֵ֥ץ כָּל־פֶּֽרִי:
all sorts of fruit trees: for Solomon recognized with his wisdom the veins of the earth: which vein leads to Cush, and there he planted peppers; which one goes to a land of carob fruits, and there he planted carob trees. For all the veins of the lands come to Zion, from where the world was founded, as it is said (Ps. 50:2): “From Zion, the all-inclusive beauty.” Therefore, it is said: “all sorts of fruit trees.” Midrash Tanhuma (Kedoshim 10).   עֵץ כָּל־פֶּרִי: שֶׁהָיָה שְׁלֹמֹה מַכִּיר בְּחָכְמָתוֹ אֶת־גִּידֵי הָאָרֶץ, אֵיזֶה גִיד הוֹלֵךְ אֶל כּוּשׁ וְנָטַע בּוֹ פִּלְפֻּלִין, אֵיזֶה הוֹלֵךְ לְאֶרֶץ חֲרוּבִין וְנָטַע בּוֹ חֲרוּבִין, שֶׁכָּל־גִּידֵי הָאֲרָצוֹת בָּאִים לְצִיּוֹן, שֶׁמִּשָּׁם מַשְׁתִּיתוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, "מִצִּיּוֹן מִכְלַל־יֹפִי". לְכַךְ נֶאֱמַר: "עֵץ כָּל־פֶּרִי", בְּמִדְרַשׁ תַּנְחוּמָא:
6I made myself pools of water, to water from them a forest sprouting with trees.   ועָשִׂ֥יתִי לִ֖י בְּרֵכ֣וֹת מָ֑יִם לְהַשְׁק֣וֹת מֵהֶ֔ם יַ֖עַר צוֹמֵ֥חַ עֵצִֽים:
pools of water: Like a sort of vivaria for fish, which they dig in the ground.   בְּרֵכוֹת מָיִם: כְּמִין בִּיבָרִים שֶׁל דָּגִים שֶׁחוֹפְרִין בְּקַרְקַע:
7I acquired male and female slaves, and I had household members; also I had possession of cattle and flocks, more than all who were before me in Jerusalem.   זקָנִ֨יתִי֙ עֲבָדִ֣ים וּשְׁפָח֔וֹת וּבְנֵי־בַ֖יִת הָ֣יָה לִ֑י גַּ֣ם מִקְנֶה֩ בָקָ֨ר וָצֹ֤אן הַרְבֵּה֙ הָ֣יָה לִ֔י מִכֹּ֛ל שֶֽׁהָי֥וּ לְפָנַ֖י בִּירֽוּשָׁלָֽ ִם:
8I accumulated for myself also silver and gold, and the treasures of the kings and the provinces; I acquired for myself various types of musical instruments, the delight of the sons of men, wagons and coaches.   חכָּנַ֤סְתִּי לִי֙ גַּם־כֶּ֣סֶף וְזָהָ֔ב וּסְגֻלַּ֥ת מְלָכִ֖ים וְהַמְּדִינ֑וֹת עָשִׂ֨יתִי לִ֜י שָׁרִ֣ים וְשָׁר֗וֹת וְתַֽעֲנֻג֛וֹת בְּנֵ֥י הָֽאָדָ֖ם שִׁדָּ֥ה וְשִׁדּֽוֹת:
and the treasures of the kings: the treasures of the kings-gold, silver and precious stones, which the kings collect in their treasure houses.   וּסְגֻלַּת מְלָכִים: גִּנְזֵי מְלָכִים, זָהָב וְכֶסֶף וְאֶבֶן יְקָרָה שֶׁהַמְּלָכִים מְסַגְּלִים בְּגִנְזֵיהֶם:
and the provinces: the treasure of all merchants.   וְהַמְּדִינוֹת: סְגֻלַּת כָּל־סוֹחֲרִים:
various types of musical instruments: Heb. שָּׁרִים וְשָּׁרוֹת, various types of musical instruments.   שָׁרִים וְשָׁרוֹת: מִינֵי כְלֵי זֶמֶר:
wagons and coaches: Heb. שִּׁדָה וְשִּׁדוֹת beautiful coaches, covered wagons, and in the Gemara, [we find] a coach (שִּׁדָה), a chest, and a closet.   שִׁדָּה וְשִׁדּוֹת: מַרְכְּבוֹת נוֹי, עֶגְלוֹת צָב, וּבִלְשׁוֹן גְּמָרָא יֵשׁ: שִׁדָּה, תֵּיבָה וּמִגְדָּל:
9So I became great, and I increased more than all who were before me in Jerusalem; also my wisdom remained with me.   טוְגָדַ֣לְתִּי וְהוֹסַ֔פְתִּי מִכֹּ֛ל שֶֽׁהָיָ֥ה לְפָנַ֖י בִּירֽוּשָׁלָ֑ ִם אַ֥ף חָכְמָתִ֖י עָ֥מְדָה לִּֽי:
also my wisdom remained with me: Also, I did not forsake my wisdom because of all these affairs, and it remained with me; I did not forget it. Another explanation: It stood by me to aid me against all these.   אַף חָכְמָתִי: גַּם חָכְמָתִי לֹא הִנַּחְתִּי בִשְׁבִיל כָּל־הַמַּעֲשִׂים הָאֵלֶּה, וְעָמְדָה לִי וְלֹא שְׁכַחְתִּיהָ. דָּבָר אַחֵר: עָמְדָה לִי לְעֶזְרָה מִכָּל־אֵלֶּה:
10And [of] all that my eyes desired I did not deprive them; I did not deprive my heart of any joy, but my heart rejoiced with all my toil, and this was my portion from all my toil.   יוְכֹל֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר שָֽׁאֲל֣וּ עֵינַ֔י לֹ֥א אָצַ֖לְתִּי מֵהֶ֑ם לֹֽא־מָנַ֨עְתִּי אֶת־לִבִּ֜י מִכָּל־שִׂמְחָ֗ה כִּֽי־לִבִּ֤י שָׂמֵ֨חַ֙ מִכָּל־עֲמָלִ֔י וְזֶֽה־הָיָ֥ה חֶלְקִ֖י מִכָּל־עֲמָלִֽי:
I did not deprive: I did not distance them to separate from them, and so (Num. 11:25): “and He held back (וַיָאצֶל) some of the spirit… and placed [it] on… the elders,” like a candelabrum from which many candles are kindled, and its light is not at all diminished.   לֹא אָצַלְתִּי: לֹא רִחַקְתִּי לְהַבְדִּיל מֵהֶם, וְכֵן, "וַיָּאצֶל מִן־הָרוּחַ. . . "וַיִּתֵּן עַל . . . הַזְּקֵנִים", כִּמְנוֹרָה שֶׁמַּדְלִיקִין מִמֶּנָּה נֵרוֹת הַרְבֵּה וְאֵין אוֹרָהּ חָסֵר כְּלוּם:
and this was my portion: And after doing all these, I have nothing [left] of all of them but this. Rav and Shmuel [differ]: One says, his staff, and one says, his cup. קִידוֹ is an earthenware cup, from which [people] drink (Gittin 68b). Others in the Midrash Aggadah (Ecc. Zuta 2:8) interpret the entire section as referring to study halls, students, and synagogues [as follows]:   וְזֶה־הָיָה חֶלְקִי: וְאַחֲרֵי עֲשׂוֹתִי כָל־אֵלֶּה, אֵין לִי מִכֻּלָּם אֶלָּא זֶה. רַב וּשְׁמוּאֵל, חַד אָמַר מַקְלוֹ, וְחַד אָמַר קִידוֹ. מַקֵּידָה שֶׁל חֶרֶס שֶׁשּׁוֹתִין בָּה, וְיֵשׁ פּוֹתְרִים בְּמִדְרַשׁ אַגָּדָה כָּל־הָעִנְיָן בְּבָתֵּי מִדְרָשׁוֹת וְתַלְמִידִים וּבְבָתֵּי כְנֵסִיּוֹת:
[6] a forest sprouting with trees: the ignorant people, for the work of fields and vineyards.   יַעַר צוֹמֵחַ עֵצִים: עַמֵּי הָאָרֶץ לִמְלֶאכֶת שָׂדוֹת וּכְרָמִים:
11Then I turned [to look] at all my deeds that my hands had wrought and upon the toil that I had toiled to do, and behold everything is vanity and frustration, and there is no profit under the sun.   יאוּפָנִ֣יתִֽי אֲנִ֗י בְּכָֽל־מַֽעֲשַׂי֙ שֶֽׁעָשׂ֣וּ יָדַ֔י וּבֶֽעָמָ֖ל שֶֽׁעָמַ֣לְתִּי לַֽעֲשׂ֑וֹת וְהִנֵּ֨ה הַכֹּ֥ל הֶ֨בֶל֙ וּרְע֣וּת ר֔וּחַ וְאֵ֥ין יִתְר֖וֹן תַּ֥חַת הַשָּֽׁמֶשׁ:
Then I turned: now in all my deeds, and I see that there is no profit in them, for from all of them I am lacking.   וּפָנִיתִי: עַתָּה בְּכָל־מַעֲשַׂי, וְרוֹאֶה אֲנִי שֶׁאֵין יִתְרוֹן בָּהֶם, כִּי מִכֻּלָּם אֲנִי חָסֵר:
12And I turned to see wisdom and madness and folly, for what is the man who will come after the king, concerning that which they have already done?   יבוּפָנִ֤יתִֽי אֲנִי֙ לִרְא֣וֹת חָכְמָ֔ה וְהֽוֹלֵל֖וֹת וְסִכְל֑וּת כִּ֣י | מֶ֣ה הָֽאָדָ֗ם שֶׁיָּבוֹא֙ אַֽחֲרֵ֣י הַמֶּ֔לֶךְ אֵ֥ת אֲשֶׁר־כְּבָ֖ר עָשֽׂוּהוּ:
And I turned to see wisdom: I turn from all my affairs to ponder over the Torah and madness and folly, [meaning] the punishment for transgressions.   וּפָנִיתִי אֲנִי לִרְאוֹת חָכְמָה: פּוֹנֶה אֲנִי מִכָּל־עֲסָקַי לְהִתְבּוֹנֵן בַּתּוֹרָה וְהוֹלֵלוֹת וְסִכְלוּת, עֹנֶשׁ עֲבֵרוֹת:
for what is the man who will come after the king: to supplicate him concerning a decree that they decreed upon him, and they already executed the decree. It is better for him to ponder at first upon his deeds, and he will find it unnecessary to beg.   כִּי מֶה הָאָדָם שֶׁיָּבוֹא אַחֲרֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ: לְהִתְחַנֵּן לוֹ עַל גְּזֵרָה שֶׁגָּזְרוּ עָלָיו וּכְבָר עֲשָׂאוּהוּ לְמַעֲשֵׂה הַגְּזֵרָה לְגָזְרָה, טוֹב לוֹ לְהִתְבּוֹנֵן תְּחִלָּה בְמַעֲשָׂיו וְלֹא יִצְטָרֵךְ לְבַקֵּשׁ:
13And I saw that wisdom has an advantage over folly, as the advantage of light over darkness.   יגוְרָאִ֣יתִי אָ֔נִי שֶׁיֵּ֥שׁ יִתְר֛וֹן לַֽחָכְמָ֖ה מִן־הַסִּכְל֑וּת כִּֽיתְר֥וֹן הָא֖וֹר מִן־הַחֹֽשֶׁךְ:
over folly: That is wickedness.   מִן־הַסִּכְלוּת: הוּא הָרֶשַׁע:
14The wise man has eyes in its beginning, but the fool goes in the darkness, and I too know that one event happens to them all.   ידהֶֽחָכָם֙ עֵינָ֣יו בְּרֹאשׁ֔וֹ וְהַכְּסִ֖יל בַּחֹ֣שֶׁךְ הוֹלֵ֑ךְ וְיָדַ֣עְתִּי גַם־אָ֔נִי שֶׁמִּקְרֶ֥ה אֶחָ֖ד יִקְרֶ֥ה אֶת־כֻּלָּֽם:
The wise man has eyes in its beginning: In the beginning of the matter, he observes what will be at its end.   הֶחָכָם עֵינָיו בְּרֹאשׁוֹ: בִּתְחִלַּת הַדָּבָר, מִסְתַּכֵּל מַה־יְהֵא בְסוֹפָהּ:
and I too know: Also, I, who praise the wise man over the fool, know that they both will die.   וְיָדַעְתִּי גַם־אָנִי: גַּם אֲנִי, אֲשֶׁר מְשַׁבֵּחַ אֶת־הֶחָכָם מִן הַכְּסִיל, יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁשְּׁנֵיהֶם יָמוּתוּ:
15And I said to myself, "As it happens to the fool, so will it happen to me too, so why then did I become wiser?" And I said to myself that this too is vanity.   טווְאָמַ֨רְתִּֽי אֲנִ֜י בְּלִבִּ֗י כְּמִקְרֵ֤ה הַכְּסִיל֙ גַּם־אֲנִ֣י יִקְרֵ֔נִי וְלָ֧מָּה חָכַ֛מְתִּי אֲנִ֖י אָ֣ז יֹתֵ֑ר וְדִבַּ֣רְתִּי בְלִבִּ֔י שֶׁגַּם־זֶ֖ה הָֽבֶל:
And I said to myself, etc.: i.e., since they will both die, perhaps I will think in my heart from now on that as it happens to the wicked man, so will it happen to me. So why should I be more righteous?   וְאָמַרְתִּי : . . בְּלִבִּי וְגוֹ'. כְּלוֹמַר: לְפִי שֶׁשְּׁנֵיהֶם מֵתִים, שֶׁמָּא אֲהַרְהֵר בְּלִבִּי מֵעַתָּה, כְּמִקְרֵה הָרָשָׁע גַּם אֲנִי יִקְרֵנֵי, וְלָמָּה אֶהְיֶה צַדִּיק אָז יוֹתֵר?:
And I said to myself: that if I think so, that is vanity, for the remembrances of the wise man and the fool are not equal. After their deaths, both of them will not be remembered together, for this one will be remembered for good, and this one will be remembered for evil.   וְדִבַּרְתִּי בְלִבִּי: שֶׁאִם אֲהַרְהֵר כֵּן, הֶבֶל הוּא, כִּי אֵין זִכְרוֹן הֶחָכָם וְהַכְּסִיל שָׁוִין; אַחֲרֵי מוֹתָן לֹא יִזָּכְרוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם יַחַד, שֶׁזֶּה זִכְרוֹנוֹ לְטוֹבָה, וְזֶה זִכְרוֹנוֹ לְרָעָה:
16For there is no remembrance of the wise man even as of the fool forever, seeing that in the coming days, all is forgotten. And how shall the wise die with the fool?   טזכִּי֩ אֵ֨ין זִכְר֧וֹן לֶֽחָכָ֛ם עִֽם־הַכְּסִ֖יל לְעוֹלָ֑ם בְּשֶׁכְּבָ֞ר הַיָּמִ֤ים הַבָּאִים֙ הַכֹּ֣ל נִשְׁכָּ֔ח וְאֵ֛יךְ יָמ֥וּת הֶֽחָכָ֖ם עִֽם־הַכְּסִֽיל:
for seeing that in the coming days all is forgotten: Because I see the wicked who already lived, and who were very successful, and in the days that came after them, all their heroism and their success were forgotten.   בְּשֶׁכְּבָר הַיָּמִים הַבָּאִים הַכֹּל נִשְׁכָּח: בִּשְׁבִיל אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי רוֹאֶה אֶת־הָרְשָׁעִים אֲשֶׁר הָיוּ כְבָר וְהִצְלִיחוּ מְאֹד, וּבַיָּמִים הַבָּאִים אַחֲרֵיהֶם נִשְׁכְּחָה כָל־גְּבוּרָתָם וְהַצְלָחָתָם:
And how shall the wise die with the fool: I see the righteous prospering in their deaths and availing their children, for example (Lev. 26:42): “And I shall remember My covenant with Jacob, etc.;” (Jer. 2:2): “I remember for you the love of your youth.”   וְאֵיךְ יָמוּת הֶחָכָם עִם־הַכְּסִיל: אֲנִי רוֹאֶה הַצַּדִּיקִים מַצְלִיחִים בְּמִיתָתָם וּמוֹעִילִים לִבְנֵיהֶם, כְּגוֹן, "וְזָכַרְתִּי אֶת־בְּרִיתִי יַעֲקוֹב וְגוֹ'; "זָכַרְתִּי לָךְ חֶסֶד נְעוּרַיִךְ":
17So I hated the living, for the deed that was done under the sun grieved me, for everything is vanity and frustration.   יזוְשָׂנֵ֨אתִי֙ אֶת־הַ֣חַיִּ֔ים כִּ֣י רַ֤ע עָלַי֙ הַֽמַּֽעֲשֶׂ֔ה שֶֽׁנַּֽעֲשָׂ֖ה תַּ֣חַת הַשָּׁ֑מֶשׁ כִּֽי־הַכֹּ֥ל הֶ֖בֶל וּרְע֥וּת רֽוּחַ:
So I hated the living: for he was prophesying about the generation of Rehoboam, who were wicked.   וְשָׂנֵאתִי אֶת־הַחַיִּים: שֶׁהָיָה מִתְנַבֵּא עַל דּוֹרוֹ שֶׁל רְחַבְעָם שֶׁהָיוּ רְשָׁעִים:
18And I hated all my toil that I toil under the sun, that I should leave it to the man who will be after me.   יחוְשָׂנֵ֤אתִֽי אֲנִי֙ אֶת־כָּל־עֲמָלִ֔י שֶֽׁאֲנִ֥י עָמֵ֖ל תַּ֣חַת הַשָּׁ֑מֶשׁ שֶׁ֣אַנִּיחֶ֔נּוּ לָֽאָדָ֖ם שֶׁיִּֽהְיֶ֥ה אַֽחֲרָֽי:
19And who knows whether he will be wise or foolish. And he will rule over all my toil that I have toiled and that I have gained wisdom under the sun; this too is vanity.   יטוּמִ֣י יוֹדֵ֗עַ הֶֽחָכָ֤ם יִֽהְיֶה֙ א֣וֹ סָכָ֔ל וְיִשְׁלַט֙ בְּכָל־עֲמָלִ֔י שֶֽׁעָמַ֥לְתִּי וְשֶֽׁחָכַ֖מְתִּי תַּ֣חַת הַשָּׁ֑מֶשׁ גַּם־זֶ֖ה הָֽבֶל:
This too is vanity: This too is one of the vanities that were created in the world, that the wise man toils, and the fool inherits him.   גַּם־זֶה הָבֶל: גַּם זֶה אֶחָד מִן הַהֲבָלִים שֶׁנִּבְרְאוּ בָעוֹלָם, שֶׁהֶחָכָם יָגֵעַ וְהַכְּסִיל יוֹרְשׁוֹ:
20And I turned about to cause my heart to despair concerning all the toil that I toiled under the sun.   כוְסַבּ֥וֹתִֽי אֲנִ֖י לְיַאֵ֣שׁ אֶת־לִבִּ֑י עַ֚ל כָּל־הֶ֣עָמָ֔ל שֶֽׁעָמַ֖לְתִּי תַּ֥חַת הַשָּֽׁמֶשׁ:
And I turned about to cause my heart to despair: not to toil and labor.   וְסַבּוֹתִי אֲנִי לְיַאֵשׁ: שֶׁלֹּא לִיגַע וְלַעֲמֹל:
21For there is a man whose toil is with wisdom and with knowledge and with honesty and to a man who did not toil for it he will give it as his portion; this too is vanity and a great evil.   כאכִּי־יֵ֣שׁ אָדָ֗ם שֶֽׁעֲמָל֛וֹ בְּחָכְמָ֥ה וּבְדַ֖עַת וּבְכִשְׁר֑וֹן וּלְאָדָ֞ם שֶׁלֹּ֤א עָֽמַל־בּוֹ֙ יִתְּנֶ֣נּוּ חֶלְק֔וֹ גַּם־זֶ֥ה הֶ֖בֶל וְרָעָ֥ה רַבָּֽה:
For there is a man: Its apparent interpretation is according to its simple meaning, but the Midrash Aggadah in Tanhuma (Buber, vol. 1, p. 24) interprets it as an expression referring to the Holy One, blessed be He, concerning Whom it is said (Ezek. 1:26): “and on the likeness of the throne was a likeness like the appearance of a man.”   כִּי־יֵשׁ אָדָם: מַשְׁמָעוֹ כִפְשׁוּטוֹ. וּמִדְרַשׁ אַגָּדָה בְתַנְחוּמָא מְכַנֵּהוּ כְּלַפֵּי הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בּוֹ, "וְעַל־דְּמוּת הַכִּסֵּא דְּמוּת כְּמַרְאֵה אָדָם:
whose toil is with wisdom: as it is said (Prov. 3:19f): “The Lord founded the Earth with wisdom… With His knowledge the depths were split,” and to the creatures who did not toil in it, He gave a share in it.   שֶׁעֲמָלוֹ בְּחָכְמָה: שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, "ה' בְּחָכְמָה יָסַד אָרֶץ . . . בְּדַעְתּוֹ תְּהוֹמוֹת נִבְקָעוּ", וְלַבְּרִיּוֹת שֶׁלֹּא עָמְלוּ בוֹ נָתַן חֵלֶק בּוֹ:
this too is vanity and a great evil: And they became a generation of vanity and the evil of man became great on the Earth in the Generation of the Flood.   גַּם־זֶה הֶבֶל וְרָעָה רַבָּה: וְהֵם נַעֲשׂוּ דוֹר שֶׁל הֶבֶל, וְרַבָּה רָעַת הָאָדָם בָּאָרֶץ בְּדוֹר הַמַּבּוּל:
22For what has a man out of all his toil and the breaking of his heart that he toils under the sun?   כבכִּ֠י מֶֽה־הֹוֶ֤ה לָֽאָדָם֙ בְּכָל־עֲמָל֔וֹ וּבְרַעְי֖וֹן לִבּ֑וֹ שְׁה֥וּא עָמֵ֖ל תַּ֥חַת הַשָּֽׁמֶשׁ:
For what has, etc.: For what profit has a man in all his toil and the breaking of his heart with toil and worry, which he toils, and leaves for others.   כִּי מֶה־הֹוֶה וְגוֹ': כִּי מַה מּוֹתָר הֹוֶה לָאָדָם בְּכָל־עֲמָלוֹ וְשִׁבְרוֹן לִבּוֹ בְעָמָל וּדְאָגָה שֶׁהוּא עָמֵל וּמֵנִיחַ לַאֲחֵרִים:
23For all his days are pains and his occupation is vexation; even at night his heart does not rest; this too is vanity.   כגכִּ֧י כָל־יָמָ֣יו מַכְאֹבִ֗ים וָכַ֨עַס֙ עִנְיָנ֔וֹ גַּם־בַּלַּ֖יְלָה לֹֽא־שָׁכַ֣ב לִבּ֑וֹ גַּם־זֶ֖ה הֶ֥בֶל הֽוּא:
his occupation: Heb. עִנְיָנוֹ, his custom.   עִנְיָנוֹ: מִנְהָגוֹ:
this too: is one of the vanities that prevail in the world.   גַּם־זֶה: אֶחָד מִן הַהֲבָלִים הַנּוֹהֲגִים בָּעוֹלָם:
24Is it not good for a man that he eat and drink and show himself enjoyment in his toil? This too have I seen that it is from the hand of God.   כדאֵֽין־ט֤וֹב בָּֽאָדָם֙ שֶׁיֹּאכַ֣ל וְשָׁתָ֔ה וְהֶרְאָ֧ה אֶת־נַפְשׁ֛וֹ ט֖וֹב בַּֽעֲמָל֑וֹ גַּם־זֹה֙ רָאִ֣יתִי אָ֔נִי כִּ֛י מִיַּ֥ד הָֽאֱלֹהִ֖ים הִֽיא:
Is it not good for a man: This is a question. [Is it not good for a man] that he eat and drink and show himself enjoyment? That is, let him pay heed to performing justice and righteousness with the eating and the drinking, and so it was said to Jehoiakim (Jer. 22:15): “Your father-did he not eat and drink and perform justice and righteousness? Then it was well with him.”   אֵין טוֹב בָּאָדָם: בִּתְמִיהַּ, שֶׁיֹּאכַל וְיִשְׁתֶּה וְיַרְאֶה אֶת־נַפְשׁוֹ טוֹב, כְּלוֹמַר, יִתֵּן לִבּוֹ לַעֲשׂוֹת מִשְׁפָּט וּצְדָקָה עִם הַמַּאֲכָל וְהַמִּשְׁתֶּה, וְכֵן נֶאֱמַר לִיהוֹיָקִים, "אָבִיךָ הֲלוֹא אָכַל וְשָׁתָה וְעָשָׂה מִשְׁפָּט וּצְדָקָה אָז טוֹב לוֹ:
25For who will eat and who will hasten [to swallow it] except me?   כהכִּ֣י מִ֥י יֹאכַ֛ל וּמִ֥י יָח֖וּשׁ ח֥וּץ מִמֶּֽנִּי:
For who will eat, etc.: Why shall I not rejoice with my portion in eating and drinking? Who is fit to eat what I toiled for, and who will hasten to swallow it, except me?   כִּי מִי יֹאכַל וְגוֹ': לָמָּה לֹא אֶשְׂמַח בְּחֶלְקִי, בְּמַאֲכָל וּבְמִשְׁתֶּה? מִי רָאוּי לֶאֱכֹל אֶת־יְגִיעִי, וּמִי יְמַהֵר לְבָלְעָהּ מִבַּלְעָדָי?:
except me: lit. outside of me. This is the trait of the wicked, who gather for others [i.e., they gather wealth that will ultimately go to others.   חוּץ מִמֶּנִּי: מִבַּלְעָדָי. זוּ מִדַּת הָרְשָׁעִים הִיא, שֶׁאוֹסְפִים לְצֹרֶךְ הָאֲחֵרִים:
26For to a man who is good in His sight, He has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner He has given an occupation to gather and to accumulate, to give to him who is good in God's sight; this too is vanity and frustration.   כוכִּ֤י לְאָדָם֙ שֶׁטּ֣וֹב לְפָנָ֔יו נָתַ֛ן חָכְמָ֥ה וְדַ֖עַת וְשִׂמְחָ֑ה וְלַֽחוֹטֶא֩ נָתַ֨ן עִנְיָ֜ן לֶֽאֱסֹ֣ף וְלִכְנ֗וֹס לָתֵת֙ לְטוֹב֙ לִפְנֵ֣י הָֽאֱלֹהִ֔ים גַּם־זֶ֥ה הֶ֖בֶל וּרְע֥וּת רֽוּחַ:
For to a man who is good in His sight: in the sight of God, mentioned above, “that it is from the hand of God.”   כִּי לְאָדָם שֶׁטּוֹב לְפָנָיו: לִפְנֵי הָאֱלֹהִים הַנִּזְכָּר לְמַעְלָה, "כִּי מִיַּד הָאֱלֹהִים הִיא:
He has given wisdom and knowledge and joy: a heart to engage in the Torah and in the commandments and to rejoice in his portion of eating, drinking, and clean clothing.   נָתַן חָכְמָה וְדַעַת וְשִׂמְחָה: לֵב לַעֲסֹק בַּתּוֹרָה וּבְמִצְוֹת וְלִשְׂמֹחַ בְּחֶלְקוֹ, בְּמַאֲכָל וּבְמִשְׁתֶּה וּכְסוּת נְקִיָּה:
but to the sinner He has given an occupation: a habit and a concern to gather and to accumulate, and to give to him who is good in God’s sight, as it is stated (Esther 8:2): “and Esther placed Mordecai in charge of the house of Haman.”   וְלַחוֹטֶא נָתַן עִנְיָן: מִנְהָג וּדְאָגָה לֶאֱסֹף וְלִכְנוֹס וְלָתֵת לְטוֹב לִפְנֵי הָאֱלֹהִים, כְּעִנְיָן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, "וַתָּשֶׂם אֶסְתֵּר אֶת־מָרְדְּכַי עַל־בֵּית הָמָן:
this too: is one of the vanities that were given to the creatures, that they toil, and someone else takes [the fruits].   גַּם־זֶה: אֶחָד מִן הַהֲבָלִים שֶׁנִּתְּנוּ לַבְּרִיּוֹת, שֶׁהֵם עֲמֵלִים וְאַחֵר נוֹטֵל: