Proverbs – Chapter 3

Healthy, Wealthy and Wise

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Now, Solomon, again speaking for G-d, urges the student to remember the lesson and to keep the commandments. The Torah is a source of life and peace; those who adhere to it will also embrace the traits of kindness and truth, causing them to be dear to both G-d and man. Trust G-d – get yourself a teacher to learn His ways, rather than relying on your own understanding of Torah. Get to know G-d in all that you do and He will show you the straight path in all your endeavors.

Don’t consider yourself so smart – if you do, you’re likely not to defer to G-d’s instructions when they go counter to your own thoughts. (Solomon knows this first-hand, as we saw in the Book of Kings.) If you subordinate yourself to G-d, then your wisdom will be a source of healing for you. Honor G-d with whatever talents He has given you and He will reward you with abundance. Don’t hate it when G-d disciplines you, because it is a sign of His love, as a Father to a son.

You know who’s fortunate? The one who has acquired wisdom to the extent that he can now impart it to others. This is an even better trade than the commodities market. Wisdom goes hand in hand with longevity and material success. (Healthy, wealthy and wise – see?) This wisdom – Torah – is a tree of life to those who grasp it and its ways are peaceful and pleasant. (These last two verses are recited when the Torah is returned to the Ark, although in Proverbs they appear in the reverse order from the way they are said in the liturgy.)

G-d founded the world with this wisdom – meaning that He used Torah as the “blueprint” for the universe. He used this guideline when He placed everything from the Heavens to the deep. Therefore, never let this wisdom out of your sight because it is precious. If you possess it, you will travel securely and go to bed without any fear. Do not be afraid of sudden terror because G-d will “have your back.”

Do not refrain from doing good for others if you have the ability to do so – don’t even delay doing so! Keep away from arguments and evil schemes against the innocent. Don’t envy the apparent success of evil people and certainly don’t copy their ways! G-d will ultimately cause the wicked to stumble, while He will bless the righteous. If you join those who mock, then you’ll mock with them – end of story. But if you join the humble, you’ll ultimately be elevated in people’s eyes. G-d will honor the wise, who choose His ways, and He will disgrace the foolish, who turn away from Him.

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