Ecclesiastes 11
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INTRO 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Listen to this chapter in Hebrew:

1  Send your bread forth upon the waters; for after many days you will find it.

א  שַׁלַּח לַחְמְךָ עַל־פְּנֵי הַמָּיִם כִּי־בְרֹב הַיָּמִים תִּמְצָאֶנּוּ׃

2  Distribute portions to seven or even to eight, for you cannot know what misfortune may occur on earth.

ב  תֶּן־חֵלֶק לְשִׁבְעָה וְגַם לִשְׁמוֹנָה כִּי לֹא תֵדַע מַה־יִּהְיֶה רָעָה עַל־הָאָרֶץ׃

3  If the clouds are filled, they will pour down rain on the earth; and if a tree falls to the south or to the north, the tree will stay where it falls.

ג  אִם־יִמָּלְאוּ הֶעָבִים גֶּשֶׁם עַל־הָאָרֶץ יָרִיקוּ וְאִם־יִפּוֹל עֵץ בַּדָּרוֹם וְאִם בַּצָּפוֹן מְקוֹם שֶׁיִּפּוֹל הָעֵץ שָׁם יְהוּא׃

4  If one watches the wind, he will never sow; and if one observes the clouds, he will never reap.

ד  שֹׁמֵר רוּחַ לֹא יִזְרָע וְרֹאֶה בֶעָבִים לֹא יִקְצוֹר׃

5  Just as you do not know how the lifebreath passes into the limbs within the womb of the pregnant woman, so you cannot foresee the actions of Hashem, who causes all things to happen.

ה  כַּאֲשֶׁר אֵינְךָ יוֹדֵעַ מַה־דֶּרֶךְ הָרוּחַ כַּעֲצָמִים בְּבֶטֶן הַמְּלֵאָה כָּכָה לֹא תֵדַע אֶת־מַעֲשֵׂה הָאֱלֹהִים אֲשֶׁר יַעֲשֶׂה אֶת־הַכֹּל׃

6  Sow your seed in the morning, and don’t hold back your hand in the evening, since you don’t know which is going to succeed, the one or the other, or if both are equally good.

ו  בַּבֹּקֶר זְרַע אֶת־זַרְעֶךָ וְלָעֶרֶב אַל־תַּנַּח יָדֶךָ כִּי אֵינְךָ יוֹדֵע אֵי זֶה יִכְשָׁר הֲזֶה אוֹ־זֶה וְאִם־שְׁנֵיהֶם כְּאֶחָד טוֹבִים׃

7  How sweet is the light, what a delight for the eyes to behold the sun!

ז  וּמָתוֹק הָאוֹר וְטוֹב לַעֵינַיִם לִרְאוֹת אֶת־הַשָּׁמֶשׁ׃

8  Even if a man lives many years, let him enjoy himself in all of them, remembering how many the days of darkness are going to be. The only future is nothingness!

ח  כִּי אִם־שָׁנִים הַרְבֵּה יִחְיֶה הָאָדָם בְּכֻלָּם יִשְׂמָח וְיִזְכֹּר אֶת־יְמֵי הַחֹשֶׁךְ כִּי־הַרְבֵּה יִהְיוּ כָּל־שֶׁבָּא הָבֶל׃

9  O youth, enjoy yourself while you are young! Let your heart lead you to enjoyment in the days of your youth. Follow the desires of your heart and the glances of your eyes—but know well that Hashem will call you to account for all such things—

s’-MAKH ba-KHUR b’-yal-du-TE-kha vee-tee-v’-KHA li-b’-KHA bee-MAY v’-khu-ro-TE-kha v’-ha-LAYKH b’-dar-KHAY li-b’-KHA uv-mar-AY ay-NE-kha v’-DA KEE al kol AY-leh y’-vee-a-KHA ha-e-lo-HEEM ba-mish-PAT

ט  שְׂמַח בָּחוּר בְּיַלְדוּתֶיךָ וִיטִיבְךָ לִבְּךָ בִּימֵי בְחוּרוֹתֶךָ וְהַלֵּךְ בְּדַרְכֵי לִבְּךָ וּבְמַרְאֵי עֵינֶיךָ וְדָע כִּי עַל־כָּל־אֵלֶּה יְבִיאֲךָ הָאֱלֹהִים בַּמִּשְׁפָּט׃

11:9   O youth, enjoy yourself while you are young!

The Hebrew word for ‘youth’ is bachur (בחור), related to the word bachar (בחר) which means to ‘chose.’ The years of one’s youth, from adolescence to early adulthood, are specifically a time of life-impacting choices. The young adult observes the world critically, and makes decisions that can impact the rest of his or her life regarding where to live, who to marry and what to do professionally. The young person mentioned here is encouraged to “follow the desires of your heart and the glances of your eyes,” but is cautioned not to be led astray by desires, and is reminded that there will be accountability for these choices.

 Comment

10  and banish care from your mind, and pluck sorrow out of your flesh! For youth and black hair are fleeting.

 

י  וְהָסֵר כַּעַס מִלִּבֶּךָ וְהַעֲבֵר רָעָה מִבְּשָׂרֶךָ כִּי־הַיַּלְדוּת וְהַשַּׁחֲרוּת הָבֶל׃

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Ecclesiastes 10
Ecclesiastes 12

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Ecclesiastes 11

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