Proverbs – Chapter 6

...Or A Lender Be

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Solomon says that if you have co-signed a loan, you have placed yourself in a sticky situation. The only way out is to just suck it up and pay the guy. Do not rest until you have taken care of this obligation. (The loan is a metaphor for the giving of the Torah at Sinai, where the generation of the Exodus used their descendants as a guarantee. The only option is to pay G-d what we “owe” him.)

Don’t be lazy about fulfilling your obligations – look to the lowly but industrious ant and take a lesson! She has no boss looking over her shoulder, but look how hard she works! You think YOU should lay around? While you lay there thinking, “Just a few more minutes,” everything falls apart.

An immoral person speaks twisted words. He says one thing and means another, planning things that drive people away from G-d. The plans of such a person will be discovered when he least expects and then his downfall will arrive.

There are six things that G-d hates and a seventh thing that He absolutely will not tolerate. They are: (1) arrogance; (2) lying; (3) acts of violence; (4) plotting violence; (5) rushing to eagerly commit acts of evil; (6) falsely accusing others and; (7) inciting arguments among people.

As in previous chapters, Solomon urges the reader to keep the Torah, which was transmitted to us by previous generations. We should metaphorically bind it to our hearts and have it before us at all times. Solomon uses the imagery of walking, retiring for the night, and getting up in the morning, similar to the way the Torah does in the paragraphs we recite twice daily as part of Shema. However, in Solomon’s metaphor, the Torah guards and protects us in all of these activities.

Solomon says that Torah is light and that when G-d punishes us, it is to nudge us back onto the path of life. We are meant to be protected from the temptations of heretical beliefs (compared again to the foreign woman). Don’t let her lure you away because such “women” ruin people.

If you play with fire, you’re going to get burned, so stay away from other men’s wives. A hungry person who steals to eat will not be hated for it because he did it to survive. He’ll just pay his fines and go. Even if it means depleting all his assets, his action can be set right. Not so the adulterer. First of all, he doesn’t have the justification of survival to mitigate his actions. Even if his motivation is to satisfy his lusts, this is fallacious, as all he does is exacerbate them. His punishments will not be erased and they will be remembered. Unlike the hungry thief, no amount of money can make this go away.

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