Proverbs – Chapter 9

You Are Cordially Invited

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Solomon says that the wisdom of Torah was used by G-d to establish the world, comparing the initial week of Creation to seven pillars. The table of the world was set with food and drink (the land and seas) and maidens were dispatched to invite the guests. (Rashi offers two explanations for the metaphor of the inviting maidens: Adam and Eve, or Moses and Aaron.) The wisdom of Torah invites all the simple people to come partake of her banquet and to become wise.

A person who attempts to rebuke a scoffer is just going to embarrass himself, so it’s better to just stay away from such people altogether. Scoffers will hate you for attempting to correct their behavior, but wise people will love you for it. Wise and righteous people are receptive and they use what they hear to become wiser and more righteous. As we have said before, the first step in becoming wise is being in proper awe of G-d; getting to know His holy ones leads to understanding. Becoming wise leads to great things; blowing off what others have to say because you don’t want to hear it will lead to suffering alone.

The “foolish woman” (representing one’s desires) likewise beckons people, but she doesn’t know anything at all. She invites people lacking sense to enjoy “stolen waters” under the guise that ill-gotten gains are more enjoyable. Therefore, these senseless people eat their bread in secret, where they won’t be found out. Those who follow this path don’t even know that they are headed straight for their own destruction.

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