Chapter 6

1There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, and it is prevalent among men.   איֵ֣שׁ רָעָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר רָאִ֖יתִי תַּ֣חַת הַשָּׁ֑מֶשׁ וְרַבָּ֥ה הִ֖יא עַל־הָֽאָדָֽם:
and it is prevalent among men: It affects many men.   וְרַבָּה הִיא עַל־הָאָדָם: בְּהַרְבֵּה בְּנֵי אָדָם הִיא נוֹהֶגֶת:
2A man whom God gives riches and property and honor, and his soul lacks nothing of all he desires, and God gives him no power to eat of it, but a strange man eats it; this is vanity and a grievous sickness.   באִ֣ישׁ אֲשֶׁ֣ר יִתֶּן־ל֣וֹ הָֽאֱלֹהִ֡ים עֹ֩שֶׁר֩ וּנְכָסִ֨ים וְכָב֜וֹד וְֽאֵינֶ֨נּוּ חָסֵ֥ר לְנַפְשׁ֣וֹ | מִכֹּ֣ל אֲשֶׁר־יִתְאַוֶּ֗ה וְלֹֽא־יַשְׁלִיטֶ֤נּוּ הָֽאֱלֹהִים֙ לֶֽאֱכֹ֣ל מִמֶּ֔נּוּ כִּ֛י אִ֥ישׁ נָכְרִ֖י יֹֽאכְלֶ֑נּוּ זֶ֥ה הֶ֛בֶל וָֽחֳלִ֥י רָ֖ע הֽוּא:
riches and property: According to its simple explanation, it should be interpreted as its apparent meaning.   עשֶׁר וּנְכָסִים: לְפִי פְשׁוּטוֹ, כְּמַשְׁמָעוֹ:
and God gives him no power to eat of it: that he should rejoice in his portion to find satisfaction in his riches, for he strives to oppress and to accumulate much wealth, as it is said (Hab. 2:5): “and he is like death and shall never be sated,” and God will also not give him power to perform charity, to eat therefrom in the future, but a strange man will take that money and perform charity with it and derive benefit therefrom. The Midrash Aggadah (Ecc. Rabbah, Yerushalmi Horayoth 3:5) [explains it as referring] to words of Torah.   וְלֹא יַשְׁלִיטֶנּוּ הָאֱלֹהִים לֶאֱכֹל מִמֶּנּוּ: שֶׁיְּהֵא שָׂמֵחַ בְּחֶלְקוֹ, לִמְצֹא קוֹרַת רוּחַ בְעָשְׁרוֹ, כִּי שׁוֹאֵף לַעֲשֹׁק וּלְהַרְבּוֹת הוֹן, כְּעִנְיָן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, "וְהוּא כַמָּוֶת וְלֹא יִשְׂבָּע", וְגַם לֹא יַשְׁלִיטֶנּוּ לַעֲשׂוֹת צְדָקָה לֶאֱכֹל הֵימֶנָּה לְעָתִיד, וְאִישׁ נָכְרִי יִטֹּל אוֹתוֹ מָמוֹן וְיַעֲשֶׂה בוֹ צְדָקָה וְיֵהָנֶה מִמֶּנּוּ. וּמִדְרַשׁ אַגָּדָה בְּדִבְרֵי תוֹרָה.
riches and property and honor: Bible, Mishnah, and Aggadah.   עשֶׁר וּנְכָסִים וְכָבוֹד: מִקְרָא, מִשְׁנָה וְאַגָּדָה.
gives him no power: Since he did not achieve [knowledge of] Gemara, he consequently has no benefit therefrom in any practical instruction.   וְלֹא יַשְׁלִיטֶנּוּ: שֶׁלֹּא זָכָה לִגְמָרָא, וּמִתּוֹךְ כַּךְ, אֵין הֲנָאָה מִמֶּנּוּ בְּשׁוּם דְּבַר הוֹרָאָה.
but a strange man eats it: This is the one versed in Gemara.   כִּי אִישׁ נָכְרִי יֹאכְלֶנּוּ: זֶה בַּעַל הַגְּמָרָא:
3Should a man beget one hundred [children] and live many years, and he will have much throughout the days of his years, but his soul will not be sated from all the good, neither did he have burial. I said that the stillborn is better than he.   גאִם־יוֹלִ֣יד אִ֣ישׁ מֵאָ֡ה וְשָׁנִים֩ רַבּ֨וֹת יִֽחְיֶ֜ה וְרַ֣ב | שֶׁיִּֽהְי֣וּ יְמֵֽי־שָׁנָ֗י ו וְנַפְשׁוֹ֙ לֹֽא־תִשְׂבַּ֣ע מִן־הַטּוֹבָ֔ה וְגַם־קְבוּרָ֖ה לֹא־הָ֣יְתָה לּ֑וֹ אָמַ֕רְתִּי ט֥וֹב מִמֶּ֖נּוּ הַנָּֽפֶל:
Should a man beget one hundred: children.   אִם יוֹלִיד אִישׁ מֵאָה: בָּנִים:
and he will have much throughout the days of his years: (and much property and all goodness the days of his life). וְרַב is an expression of sufficiency, a sufficient degree of all goodness.   וְרַב שֶׁיִּהְיוּ יְמֵי שָׁנָיו: (וְרַב הוֹן וְכָל־טוּב יְמֵי שָׁנָיו) שֶׁלּוֹ. "וְרַב" לְשׁוֹן דַּי. דַּי לְכָל־טוֹבָה:
and his soul will not be sated: from that good, for he is not happy with his portion, to be satisfied with what is in his hand.   וְנַפְשׁוֹ לֹא תִשְׂבַּע: מֵאוֹתָהּ הַטּוֹבָה, שֶׁאֵינוֹ שָׂמֵחַ בְּחֶלְקוֹ לְהִתְקָרֵר רוּחוֹ בַּמֶּה שֶׁבְּיָדוֹ:
neither did he have burial: Sometimes he is slain, and dogs consume him. Now all these things were found in Ahab: he begot many sons, and he had much property, but he coveted the property of others and did not find satisfaction with his money, and dogs devoured him.   וְגַם קְבוּרָה לֹא הָיְתָה לּוֹ: פְּעָמִים שֶׁנֶהֱרָג, וּכְלָבִים אוֹכְלִים אוֹתוֹ. וְכָל־הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלּוּ נִמְצְאוּ בְאַחְאָב, שֶׁהוֹלִיד בָּנִים הַרְבֵּה, וּמָמוֹנוֹ הִרְבָּה, וְהָיָה חוֹמֵד שֶׁל אֲחֵרִים, וְלֹא מָצָא קוֹרַת רוּחַ בְּמָמוֹנוֹ, וּכְלָבִים אֲכָלוּהוּ:
the stillborn is better than he: [The stillborn] of a woman, for the stillborn comes in vanity and goes; he did not see good and did not desire it; so he need not be distressed.   טוֹב מִמֶּנּוּ הַנָּפֶל: שֶׁל אִשָּׁה, כִּי הַנֶּפֶל בַּהֶבֶל בָּא וְהָלַךְ, וְלֹא רָאָה טוֹבָה וְלֹא נִתְאַוָּה לָהּ, וְאֵין לוֹ לְהִצְטַעֵר:
4For he comes in vanity and goes in darkness, and in darkness his name is covered.   דכִּֽי־בַהֶ֥בֶל בָּ֖א וּבַחֹשֶׁךְ יֵלֵ֑ךְ וּבַחֹ֖שֶׁךְ שְׁמ֥וֹ יְכֻסֶּֽה:
5Moreover, he did not see the sun nor did he know [it]; this one has more gratification than that one.   הגַּם־שֶׁ֥מֶשׁ לֹֽא־רָאָ֖ה וְלֹ֣א יָדָ֑ע נַ֥חַת לָזֶ֖ה מִזֶּֽה:
6And if he had lived a thousand years twice and experienced no pleasure, do not all go to one place?   ווְאִלּ֣וּ חָיָ֗ה אֶ֤לֶף שָׁנִים֙ פַּֽעֲמַ֔יִם וְטוֹבָ֖ה לֹ֣א רָאָ֑ה הֲלֹ֛א אֶל־מָק֥וֹם אֶחָ֖ד הַכֹּ֥ל הוֹלֵֽךְ:
And if he had lived: And if he had lived two thousand years, what advantage would he have, since he did not experience any pleasure? Will he not ultimately return to the dust like all the poor people?   וְאִלּוּ חָיָה: וְאִם חָיָה אַלְפַּיִם שָׁנָה, מַה יִתְרוֹן לוֹ, הוֹאִיל וְטוֹבָה לֹא רָאָה? הֲלֹא סוֹפוֹ לָשׁוּב אֶל הֶעָפָר כִּשְׁאָר הָעֲנִיִּים?:
7All of a person's toil is for his mouth, and is the appetite not yet sated?   זכָּל־עֲמַ֥ל הָֽאָדָ֖ם לְפִ֑יה וּ וְגַם־הַנֶּ֖פֶשׁ לֹ֥א תִמָּלֵֽא:
All of a person’s toil: is for his mouth, that he should derive benefit and eat in this world and in the next, but this one derived no benefit in his lifetime.   כָּל־עֲמַל הָאָדָם: בִּשְׁבִיל פִּיהוּ הוּא, שֶׁיֵּהָנֶה וְיֹּאכַל בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה וְהַבָּא, וְזֶה לֹא נֶהֱנָה בְחַיָּיו:
and is the appetite not yet sated: This is a question. But this one-did he not even gratify his desire with a small pleasure? [This is] like (Exod. 15:9): “My lust shall be satisfied upon them (תִּמְלָאֵמוֹ נַפְשִׁי),” an expression of attaining a desire, and since this is so.   וְגַם־הַנֶּפֶשׁ לֹא תִמָּלֵא: בִּתְמִיהָּ כְּלוֹמַר, וְזֶה אֲפִלּוּ תַאֲוָתוֹ לֹא מִלֵּא בַהֲנָאָה מֻעֶטֶת, כְּמוֹ, "תִּמְלָאֵמוֹ נַפְשִׁי", לְשׁוֹן הַשָּׂגַת תַּאֲוָה. וַאַחֲרֵי שֶׁכֵּן הוּא:
8For what is the advantage of the wise over the fool? What [less] has the poor man who knows how to go along with the living?   חכִּ֛י מַה־יּוֹתֵ֥ר לֶֽחָכָ֖ם מִֽן־הַכְּסִ֑יל מַה־לֶּֽעָנִ֣י יוֹדֵ֔עַ לַֽהֲלֹ֖ךְ נֶ֥גֶד הַֽחַיִּֽים:
For what is the advantage: [i.e., what advantage] did he have with his wisdom, more than if he were a fool?   מַה־יוֹתֵר: לוֹ בְחַכְמָתוֹ מִשֶּׁאִם הָיָה כְסִיל:
What has the poor man: a disadvantage over the rich man who has no satisfaction? He too knows how to go along with the living. Another explanation:   מַה־לֶּעָנִי: חִסָּרוֹן מִן הֶעָשִׁיר שֶׁאֵין לוֹ קוֹרַת רוּחַ? גַּם הוּא יוֹדֵעַ לַהֲלֹךְ בָּאָרֶץ אֵצֶל הַחַיִּים. דָּבָר אַחֵר:
[7] yet the appetite is not sated: for the World to Come, for he did not perform good deeds in his lifetime.   וְגַם הַנֶּפֶשׁ לֹא תִמָּלֵא: לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא, שֶׁהֲרֵי לֹא עָשָׂה מַעֲשִׂים טוֹבִים בְּחַיָּיו:
9Better is what he sees with his eyes than that which goes to sate his appetite; this too is vanity and frustration.   טט֛וֹב מַרְאֵ֥ה עֵינַ֖יִם מֵֽהֲלָךְ־נָ֑פֶשׁ גַּם־זֶ֥ה הֶ֖בֶל וּרְע֥וּת רֽוּחַ:
Better is what he sees with his eyes than that which goes to sate his appetite: It would have been better and more proper for this person to see his riches with the vision of his eyes, than food and drink, which go into his body. Another explanation: עֵינַיִם מֵהֲלָךְ נָפֶשׁ טוֹב מַרְאֵה This person prefers and it seems better and more proper for him to follow his eyes, to rob and to oppress, rather than the course of his soul, that he did not put his mind [to realize] where his soul will go when he dies.   טוֹב מַרְאֵה עֵינַיִם מֵהֲלָךְ־נָפֶשׁ: טוֹב הָיָה וְהֻכְשַׁר לָזֶה לִרְאוֹת עָשְׁרוֹ לְמַרְאֵה עֵינָיו מִמַּאֲכָל וּמִשְׁתֶּה הַהוֹלֵךְ בְּנָפֶשׁ טוֹב מַרְאֵה עֵינַיִם מֵהֲלָךְ־נָפֶשׁ טוֹב הָיָה לָזֶה וְהֻכְשַׁר לָלֶכֶת אַחַר עֵינָיו לִגְזֹל וְלַעֲשֹׁק מֵהִלּוּךְ נַפְשׁוֹ, שֶׁלֹּא נָתַן לֵב הֵיכָן נַפְשׁוֹ תֵלֵךְ כְּשֶׁיָּמוּת.
this too is vanity: It is what is given to the wicked.   גַּם־זֶה הֶבֶל: הוּא הַנִיתָּן לָרְשָׁעִים:
10What was, its name was already called, and it is known that he is a man, and he will not be able to strive with him who is stronger than he.   ימַה־שֶּֽׁהָיָ֗ה כְּבָר֙ נִקְרָ֣א שְׁמ֔וֹ וְנוֹדָ֖ע אֲשֶׁר־ה֣וּא אָדָ֑ם וְלֹֽא־יוּכַ֣ל לָדִ֔ין עִם שֶׁתַּקִּ֖יף (כתיב שהתקיף) מִמֶּֽנּוּ:
What was, its name was already called: the esteem and greatness that he had during his lifetime. Its name was already called, i.e., it already was and passed. He already had a name in his office, and now it has passed, and it was made known that he was a man and not God, and his end was that he died, and he will not be able to strive with the angel of death, who is stronger than he.   מַה־שֶּׁהָיָה כְּבָר נִקְרָא שְׁמוֹ: חֲשִׁיבוֹת וּגְדֻלָּה שֶׁהָיְתָה לוֹ בְחַיָּיו, "כְּבָר נִקְרָא שְׁמוֹ", כְּלוֹמַר, כְּבָר הָיָה וְעָבַר יָצָא לוֹ שֵׁם בִּשְׂרָרָה, וְעַתָּה חָלַף, וְנוֹדָע שֶׁהוּא אָדָם וְלֹא אֵל, וְסוֹפוֹ שֶׁמֵּת, וְלֹא יוּכַל לָדוּן עִם מַלְאָךְ הַמָּוֶת שֶׁהוּא תַּקִּיף מִמֶּנּוּ:
11For there are many things that increase vanity; what will remain for a man?   יאכִּ֛י יֵֽשׁ־דְּבָרִ֥ים הַרְבֵּ֖ה מַרְבִּ֣ים הָ֑בֶל מַה־יֹּתֵ֖ר לָֽאָדָֽם:
For there are many things: with which he occupied himself during his lifetime, such as the games of the kings: monkeys, elephants and lions. They increased vanity for him, and what will remain for him after he dies?   כִּי יֵשׁ־דְּבָרִים הַרְבֵּה: שֶׁנִּתְעַסֵּק בָּהֶן בְּחַיָּיו, כִּשְׂחוֹק הַמְּלָכִים, קֻפִּים וּפִילִים וַאֲרָיוֹת, הַכֹּל הִרְבָּה לוֹ וּמַה־יִוָתֵר לוֹ מִשֶּׁמֵת?:
12For who knows what is good for man in his lifetime, the number of the days of his life of vanity, that he do them like a shadow, for who will tell man what will be after him under the sun?   יבכִּ֣י מִֽי־יוֹדֵ֩עַ֩ מַה־טּ֨וֹב לָֽאָדָ֜ם בַּֽחַיִּ֗ים מִסְפַּ֛ר יְמֵֽי־חַיֵּ֥י הֶבְל֖ וֹ וְיַֽעֲשֵׂ֣ם כַּצֵּ֑ל אֲשֶׁר֙ מִֽי־יַגִּ֣יד לָֽאָדָ֔ם מַה־יִּֽהְיֶ֥ה אַֽחֲרָ֖יו תַּ֥חַת הַשָּֽׁמֶשׁ:
For who knows: For who knows good deeds and what man should do during his life, so that it should be good for him in the everlasting world?   כִּי מִי־יוֹדֵעַ: כִּי מִי אֲשֶׁר יוֹדֵעַ מַעֲשִׂים טוֹבִים, וּמַה לָּאָדָם לַעֲשׂוֹת בְּחַיָּיו, שֶׁיִּהְיוּ טוֹבִים לוֹ לָעוֹלָם הָאָרֹךְ:
the number of the days of his life of vanity: which are few in number.   מִסְפַּר יְמֵי־חַיֵּי הֶבְלוֹ: שֶׁהֵם מְעַט מִסְפָּר:
that he do them: those deeds, in the short time that he lives, for this time is as short as the shadow of a passing bird, and although Solomon said, “like a shadow,” in general, and did not specify whether the shadow of a palm tree, or the shadow of a wall, which are permanent, his father David had already specified (Ps. 144:4): “his days are as a fleeting shadow.” This is the shadow of a flying bird. It is interpreted in this manner in the Midrash (Ecc. Rabbah).   וְיַעֲשֵׂם: לְאוֹתָם מַעֲשִׂים בְּשָׁעָה מֻעֶטֶת שֶׁהוּא חַי, שֶׁהִיא זְמַן קָצֵר כְּצֵל עוֹף הָעוֹבֵר, וְאַף־עַל־פִּי שֶׁאָמַר שְׁלֹמֹה, "כַּצֵּל" סְתָם, וְלֹא פֵרַשׁ אִם צֵל דֶּקֶל אִם צֵל כּוֹתֶל, שֶׁהֵם קְבוּעִים, כְּבָר פֵּרְשׁוֹ דָוִד אָבִיו, "יָמָיו כְּצֵל עוֹבֵר", זֶהוּ צִלּוֹ שֶׁל עוֹף הַפּוֹרֵחַ, כַּךְ נִדְרָשׁ בַּמִּדְרָשׁ:
for who will tell man: how the wealth that he gathered from oppression will remain for his sons after him under the sun?   אֲשֶׁר מִי־יַגִיד לָאָדָם: בַּמֶּה יִתְקַיֵּם הוֹן שֶׁקָּבַץ מֵעשֶׁק לְבָנָיו אַחֲרָיו תַּחַת הַשָּׁמֶשׁ: