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Chapter 6

Translation and Transliteration of 

1There is an evil I have observed under the sun, and a grave one it is for man:

YAYSH ra-AH a-SHER ra-EE-TEE TA-khat ha-SHA-mesh v'-RA-bah HEE al ha-a-DAM

איֵ֣שׁ רָעָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר רָאִ֖יתִי תַּ֣חַת הַשָּׁ֑מֶשׁ וְרַבָּ֥ה הִ֖יא עַל־הָאָדָֽם׃

2that Hashem sometimes grants a man riches, property, and wealth, so that he does not want for anything his appetite may crave, but Hashem does not permit him to enjoy it; instead, a stranger will enjoy it. That is futility and a grievous ill.

EESH a-SHER yi-ten LO ha-e-lo-HEEM O-sher un-kha-SEEM v'-kha-VOD v'-ay-NE-nu kha-SAYR l'-naf-SHO mi-KOL a-sher yit-a-VEH v'-LO yash-lee-TE-nu ha-e-lo-HEEM le-e-KHOL mi-ME-nu KEE EESH nokh-REE yo-kh'-LE-nu ZEH HE-vel va-kho-LEE RA HU

באִ֣ישׁ אֲשֶׁ֣ר יִתֶּן־ל֣וֹ הָאֱלֹהִ֡ים עֹ֩שֶׁר֩ וּנְכָסִ֨ים וְכָב֜וֹד וְֽאֵינֶ֨נּוּ חָסֵ֥ר לְנַפְשׁ֣וֹ ׀ מִכֹּ֣ל אֲשֶׁר־יִתְאַוֶּ֗ה וְלֹֽא־יַשְׁלִיטֶ֤נּוּ הָֽאֱלֹהִים֙ לֶאֱכֹ֣ל מִמֶּ֔נּוּ כִּ֛י אִ֥ישׁ נׇכְרִ֖י יֹֽאכְלֶ֑נּוּ זֶ֥ה הֶ֛בֶל וׇחֳלִ֥י רָ֖ע הֽוּא׃

 6:2   Hashem sometimes grants a man riches

The Hebrew word for ‘riches’ is osher, spelled with the letter ayin (עושר). The Hebrew word for ‘happiness’ is also osher, but spelled with the letter alef (אושר). While the two words are homophones, they are not synonymous. Some people mistakenly believe that wealth leads to happiness. The Sages (“Ethics of the Fathers” 4:1), however, teach the exact opposite. “Who is wealthy? One who is happy with his lot.” Only when a person is happy and satisfied with the material possessions that he has, no matter their value, can he be considered truly wealthy.

3Even if a man should beget a hundred children and live many years—no matter how many the days of his years may come to, if his gullet is not sated through his wealth, I say: The stillbirth, though it was not even accorded a burial, is more fortunate than he.

im-yo-LEED eesh me-AH v'-sha-NEEM ra-BOT yi-KHE-yeh v'-RAV shee-y'-HU y'-MEI sha-NAV v'-NAF-sho lo-tis-BA min ha-TO-va v'-GAM-k'-vu-RAH lo-ha-Y'-ta LO a-MAR-tee TOV mi-ME-nu ha-NA-fel

גאִם־יוֹלִ֣יד אִ֣ישׁ מֵאָ֡ה וְשָׁנִים֩ רַבּ֨וֹת יִֽחְיֶ֜ה וְרַ֣ב ׀ שֶׁיִּהְי֣וּ יְמֵֽי־שָׁנָ֗יו וְנַפְשׁוֹ֙ לֹא־תִשְׂבַּ֣ע מִן־הַטּוֹבָ֔ה וְגַם־קְבוּרָ֖ה לֹא־הָ֣יְתָה לּ֑וֹ אָמַ֕רְתִּי ט֥וֹב מִמֶּ֖נּוּ הַנָּֽפֶל׃

4Though it comes into futility and departs into darkness, and its very name is covered with darkness,

ki-va-HE-vel BA u-va-KHO-shekh ye-LEKH u-va-KHO-shekh SHE-mo ye-ku-SEH

דכִּֽי־בַהֶ֥בֶל בָּ֖א וּבַחֹ֣שֶׁךְ יֵלֵ֑ךְ וּבַחֹ֖שֶׁךְ שְׁמ֥וֹ יְכֻסֶּֽה׃

5though it has never seen or experienced the sun, it is better off than he—

gam-SHE-mesh lo-ra-AH v'-lo ya-DAH NA-khat la-ZEH mi-ZEH

הגַּם־שֶׁ֥מֶשׁ לֹא־רָאָ֖ה וְלֹ֣א יָדָ֑ע נַ֥חַת לָזֶ֖ה מִזֶּֽה׃

6yes, even if the other lived a thousand years twice over but never had his fill of enjoyment! For are not both of them bound for the same place?

v'-i-LU kha-YAH e-LEF sha-NEEM pa-a-MA-yim v'-to-VAH lo ra-AH ha-LO el-ma-KOM e-KHAD ha-KOL ho-LEKH

ווְאִלּ֣וּ חָיָ֗ה אֶ֤לֶף שָׁנִים֙ פַּעֲמַ֔יִם וְטוֹבָ֖ה לֹ֣א רָאָ֑ה הֲלֹ֛א אֶל־מָק֥וֹם אֶחָ֖ד הַכֹּ֥ל הוֹלֵֽךְ׃

7All of man's earning is for the sake of his mouth, yet his gullet is not sated.

KOL-a-MAL ha-a-DAM le-fi-HU, v'-GAM-ha-NE-fesh lo ti-MA-le.

זכׇּל־עֲמַ֥ל הָאָדָ֖ם לְפִ֑יהוּ וְגַם־הַנֶּ֖פֶשׁ לֹ֥א תִמָּלֵֽא׃

8What advantage then has the wise man over the fool, what advantage has the pauper who knows how to get on in life?

kee mah-YO-ter le-KHA-kham min ha-ke-SEEL, mah le-a-NEE yo-DAY-a la-ha-LOKH NE-ged ha-kha-YEEM

חכִּ֛י מַה־יּוֹתֵ֥ר לֶחָכָ֖ם מִֽן־הַכְּסִ֑יל מַה־לֶּעָנִ֣י יוֹדֵ֔עַ לַהֲלֹ֖ךְ נֶ֥גֶד הַחַיִּֽים׃

9Is the feasting of the eyes more important than the pursuit of desire? That, too, is futility and pursuit of wind.

TOV mar-EH a-YA-im me-ha-LOKH na-FESH gam-ZEH he-VEL u-re-UT ru-AKH.

טט֛וֹב מַרְאֵ֥ה עֵינַ֖יִם מֵֽהֲלׇךְ־נָ֑פֶשׁ גַּם־זֶ֥ה הֶ֖בֶל וּרְע֥וּת רֽוּחַ׃

10Whatever happens, it was designated long ago and it was known that it would happen; as for man, he cannot contend with what is stronger than he.

mah-she-ha-YAH k'-VAR nik-RA sh'-MO v'-no-DA a-SHER-hu a-DAM v'-lo-yu-KHAL la-DEEN im (she-hi-ta-KEEF) [she-ta-KEEF] mi-ME-nu

ימַה־שֶּֽׁהָיָ֗ה כְּבָר֙ נִקְרָ֣א שְׁמ֔וֹ וְנוֹדָ֖ע אֲשֶׁר־ה֣וּא אָדָ֑ם וְלֹא־יוּכַ֣ל לָדִ֔ין עִ֥ם (שהתקיף) [שֶׁתַּקִּ֖יף] מִמֶּֽנּוּ׃

11Often, much talk means much futility. How does it benefit a man?

ki YESH-d'-va-REEM har-BAY mar-BEEM ha-VEL, ma YO-ter la-a-DAM

יאכִּ֛י יֵשׁ־דְּבָרִ֥ים הַרְבֵּ֖ה מַרְבִּ֣ים הָ֑בֶל מַה־יֹּתֵ֖ר לָאָדָֽם׃

12Who can possibly know what is best for a man to do in life—the few days of his fleeting life? For who can tell him what the future holds for him under the sun?

KI mi-YO-de-a MAH-tov la-a-DAM ba-cha-YIM mis-PAR ye-MAY cha-YAY hev-LO v'-ya-a-SEM ka-TZEYL a-SHER MI ya-GID la-a-DAM MAH yi-HE-yeh a-cha-RAV TA-chat ha-SHA-mesh

יבכִּ֣י מִֽי־יוֹדֵ֩עַ֩ מַה־טּ֨וֹב לָֽאָדָ֜ם בַּֽחַיִּ֗ים מִסְפַּ֛ר יְמֵי־חַיֵּ֥י הֶבְל֖וֹ וְיַעֲשֵׂ֣ם כַּצֵּ֑ל אֲשֶׁר֙ מִֽי־יַגִּ֣יד לָֽאָדָ֔ם מַה־יִּהְיֶ֥ה אַחֲרָ֖יו תַּ֥חַת הַשָּֽׁמֶשׁ׃