Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 

Proverbs (Mishlei)

Proverbs, we are told by our Rabbis, was the second of three books written by King Solomon (Shlomo). King Solomon was the son of King David. In his youth, he wrote the eternally optimistic (and deeply symbolic) "Song of Songs". In mid life, he penned this book, filled with invaluable practical advise. In his declining years, perhaps a bit cynical about life, Solomon wrote "Ecclesiastes".

A superficial reading of Proverbs might leave someone scratching his head "What's the big deal? Just some guy telling me to stay away from suspicious women and not to worship idols... nothing I'm so interested in anyway!" It might become boring too, because of the repetition. It's chapter after chapter of the same stuff.

That is why it's not a good idea to read this book superficially. As a matter of fact, it is not a good idea to read any part of the Torah superficially. The books of the Tanach (Bible) are infinitely deep. They were written to be meaningful to many different types of people in many generations. Therefore, the meaning isn't always going to be as clear and one-dimensional as an article in the sports pages of the local newspaper. If this is expected, the book will recieve a lot more respect.

We should also remember who wrote this book. Solomon was the man G-d Himself called the "wisest of all men" (see I Kings). Would it be expected to have as easy a time reading a research paper by Albert Einstein as it would the comics? Knowing that G-d never said about Einstein that he was the "wisest of all men", logic tells us that it's worth putting some effort into Proverbs (not to mention the Talmud and all other works of wise men).

And now we come to the point of asking, "So, what's Proverbs really about?" We could say that Proverbs is a credit course in common sense. Much can be learned about the human mind by thinking about why two particular ideas were placed next to each other; why this verse would have been just like the last one... except for that small, almost insignificant difference and what the words actually mean. One can learn how to decide logically between two choices, how to make use of experience to avoid repeating mistakes and from what to stay away while chasing after a goal (especially the goal of Torah-observance).

This course in common sense also has wonderful teachers available to help us along. We are in good hands if we use commentaries like those of the Vilna Gaon and the Malbim (the latter has been translated to English, under the title "The Malbim on Mishlei" - Feldheim Publ.).


Rabbi Boruch Clinton teaches at the Ottawa Torah Institute yeshiva high school and Machon Sarah high school for girls (both in Ottawa, Canada). You may reach him with comments and questions at bclinton@torah.org.

You can now read some of Rabbi Clinton's essays on Torah life at http://www.ncf.ca/~es625/essays

You can also buy his collection of essays on the Book of Shmuel (Samuel) in printed form at www.lulu.com/marbitzmedia

Copyright 2000 by Rabbi Boruch Clinton and Project Genesis, Inc.

 
Sell Chometz Online







ARTICLES ON KEDOSHIM AND THE OMER:

View Complete List

Becoming Holy
Shlomo Katz - 5772

In Hillel's Footsteps
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5760

Naturally! (Not)
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5766

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Reason The Torah Prohibits Marrying Two Sisters
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5770

Fun vs. Pleasure
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5773

Role of Spouse in Loving One's Neighbor
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5763

> "What Does God Say?"
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770

Encouraging His Children to Climb
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

After Death - Life!
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5762

ArtScroll

Do it Because I am Holy
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5758

Different Strokes for Different Folks
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5772

Prisms of Light - Reflections of Shattered Glass
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5772

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The "Second" Pesach
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Orlah - No Shortcuts?
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5765

Accepting Time
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5766

A Count of Anticipation
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information