V 1: Only by employing the wisdom of Torah in one's life can one build a structure that will endure to eternity.

V 2: One who truly reveres God behaves correctly. Going crookedly is an affront to God.

V 3: The fool hits out at everyone with his stick of arrogance.

V 4: "Without oxen the crib is clean [i.e. the owner's house is empty of produce] but an abundance of produce comes through the strength of the ox" - "That is to say, in a place where there are no Torah sages, the teachings available are not in accord with the halachah" (Rashi).

V 6: "A scoffer seeks wisdom but it is not there." - "When he needs it, he does not find it in his heart" (Rashi).

V 7: Keep your distance from fools.

V 9: "Amends pleads for fools, but among the upright there is good will" - "The fools are the sinners: only by making amends and paying the penalty can they conciliate God. His will is to the upright" (Rashi).

V 10: "The heart knows its own bitterness, and with its joy no stranger can meddle" - "Each person knows the toil and effort with which he labors in the Torah, and therefore no stranger will have a share when he receives his future reward" (Rashi).

V 12: "There is a way that seems right to a man but its end are the ways of death" - The pathos of our condition in this benighted world is that we cannot see what the consequences of our choices will be, particularly in the very long term. This is why we require the guidance of God's Torah, since He sees to the end of everything.

V 13: The laughter of this world cannot last for ever.

V 17: He that is soon angry acts foolishly." One of the most important virtues of the upright is patience and long-suffering, which can save us from much trouble.

V 19: "The evil bow before the good" - "At the end. in time to come" (Rashi).

V 20: "Even by his own neighbor, the poor man is hated, but many are the friends of the rich man" - "The 'poor man' is someone who is ignorant of Torah, who does not know how to act in the proper way, and he is hated even by his close friends" (Rashi).

V 23: "In all labor there is profit, but the talk of the lips leads only to deficiency" - Work and action, not mere words!!!


V 24: The true "wealth" of the sages is their understanding of the Torah (Rashi).

V 26: Not only does one's fear of God give personal security; it also protects one's very children.

V 27: The reason why fear of God is the source of life is because it warns the person to avoid the snares of death - sins and transgressions (Metzudas David).

V 28: "In the multitude of the people is the king's glory." - When many people carry out a mitzvah together, this brings God great glory (Talmud Yoma 70a).

V 29: More in praise of patience and forbearing, which save us from folly.

V 30: "A tranquil heart is the life of the flesh; but envy is the rottenness of the bones" - This verse is one of the foundations of the psychosomatic wisdom of the Torah, teaching that good, positive attitudes are conducive to physical health.

V 31: To oppress the weak is an insult to their Maker.

V 32: ".the upright has hope even in his death" - "When he dies he is assured that he will come to the Garden of Eden" (Rashi).

"Charity elevates a nation (= Israel , Rashi) but the kindness of the peoples is a sin" - "because they take from one to give to another" (Rashi).


V 1: "A soft answer turns away wrath." This is a lesson to imbibe.

V 3: God is watching everything; there is no escape.

V 4: "A soothing tongue is a tree of life." The way we speak can have a decisive effect on our own health and that of those around us.

V 6: "In the HOUSE of the righteous is much treasure but in the REVENUES of the wicked is trouble." Rashi's comment on this verse illustrates the level of REMEZ, "allusion", in the text. On the first half, Rashi writes: "The Temple [=the House] that was built by David, the righteous Tzaddik, is a great treasure and a tower of strength". On the second half, darshening the Hebrew word rendered as "revenues" - TEVOUAH from the root "to BRING IN", Rashi writes: ".but through the BRINGING IN of the idol that King Menasheh brought into the Temple , it was spoiled".

V 8: "The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to God" - God does not want perfunctory outward expressions of service, He wants the devotion of the heart.

V 11: If everything in hell and destruction are revealed to God, how much more is it certain that He knows what is in people's hearts (Rashi).

V 13: "A joyous heart makes the face cheerful" - Again, the soul and the mind influence the health of the body.

Vv 15-17: True happiness in life depends not on material prosperity or the lack of it, but on people's ATTITUDES.

V 22: "For want of counsel purposes are frustrated; but in the multitude of counselors they are established" - the true counsel that all need is that of the Torah.

V 24: "The path of life (ORAH HAYIM) goes upward for the wise." The authors of the Arba Turim / Shulhan Aruch chose the phrase ORAH HAYIM for the title of the first of the four sections of these foundational codes of Torah law as it applies in our times. ORAH HAYIM deals with the laws of the prayers and blessings of daily life and the laws of Shabbos and the festivals. Numerous other phrases from Proverbs were also chosen as the titles of famous Torah classics. Thus in the present chapter, verse 7, SIFTHEY HACHAMIM, "the lips of the wise", is the title of the most important super-commentary on Rashi, and verse 30, ME'OR EYNAYIM, "the light of the eyes" is the title of an important Chassidic work by R. Menachem Nachum of Tchernoble.

V 25: "HaShem will pluck up the house of the proud; but He will establish the border of the widow " . If a person sees an idolatrous temple, he should recite the first phrase of this verse; if one sees the houses of Israel in a state of habitation, he should recite the second part of the verse (Talmud Berachos 58b).

V 27: Unjust gains sully a person's house. One who hates free gifts and wants only what he works for shall live.

V 30: "The light of the eyes rejoices the heart; and a good report makes the bones fat." More on the mind-body connection!



By Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
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