Proverbs – Chapter 12

Don't Worry, Be Happy

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

A person who is receptive to criticism is one who loves wisdom. Those who bristle at it will retain their negative traits. The actions of good people please G-d and bring blessings to the world; the actions of evil people have the opposite effect. A legacy can only endure if it is based on righteousness, not on evil. A woman of good integrity is like a crown of pride to her husband, but a wife whose acts shame her husband is like a degenerative disease to him.

A person is well-regarded (or the opposite) based upon the intelligence and judgment he displays. If one pursues a foolish course of action, he will not be respected for it. It is better to work at a job you consider beneath you and be able to eat than to stand on your own perceived self-importance and starve. Righteous people care not only for the welfare of people, but also that of animals. Even the so-called “mercy” of the wicked, however, is a display of their inherent cruelty. Evil people profit by preying on others, while righteous people bring appropriate things into existence.

Words of Torah study cause a person to enjoy good things from G-d. The foolish person pursues a path that he perceives to be straight, but it isn’t. A wise person listens to advice. A fool wears his heart on his sleeve and shows his anger to the world, but a wise man keeps it to himself because he is not eager to get involved in controversy. A person’s words can be used as a weapon to harm others or they can be used to heal. The truthful words of the righteous endure, while the lies of the wicked fade away.

A person who is clever will keep his knowledge to himself until the appropriate time; a fool will just blurt out his foolishness. Those who deal diligently and honestly will prosper, while the deceitful will have to pay. If your heart is full of worry, forget about it; the study of Torah will cheer your soul. Righteous people are generous in their dealings with others and they will not be tempted by the wicked. Being charitable leads to life and there is no detour on that path that leads to death.

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