Proverbs – Chapter 7

Ooh, Ooh, Witchy Woman

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Solomon advises the reader to keep the Torah close to his heart and it will cause him to live. He should protect his Torah learning as he guards his eyes from injury. We should always keep the mitzvos at our fingertips and metaphorically inscribe them on our hearts. We should love wisdom like a sister and understanding like a relative. They will guard us from that strange woman, representative of heretical ideas, as in previous chapters.

Solomon says that he looked out his window and saw foolish people enticed by that temptress. Young people in particular rush to her house, though they may wait until it starts to get dark so that no one can see them. The brazen woman approaches and beckons. Her room is done up with the fanciest Egyptian linens and the sweetest incense. She’s ready to make love with the visitor because her husband is away on business. (Remember that this is all a metaphor. In this metaphor, the heretical ideas seduce people by saying that G-d has removed His Presence from Israel and placed His goodness among the nations – see Talmud Sanhedrin 96b.) The husband has taken his money (representing the righteous in our metaphor) and he’s not expected back for some time.

And so, the seductress catches her prey and the young man follows willingly, to his doom. He will not understand his folly until he suffers the consequences of his actions.

Solomon asks the reader to listen and not stray from the proper path to follow the woman of our metaphor. Many have done so and paid the ultimate price. To go to the house of this “woman” is to go to the grave.

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