Ecclesiastes 5
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Listen to this chapter in Hebrew:

1  Keep your mouth from being rash, and let not your throat be quick to bring forth speech before Hashem. For Hashem is in heaven and you are on earth; that is why your words should be few.

א  אַל־תְּבַהֵל עַל־פִּיךָ וְלִבְּךָ אַל־יְמַהֵר לְהוֹצִיא דָבָר לִפְנֵי הָאֱלֹהִים כִּי הָאֱלֹהִים בַּשָּׁמַיִם וְאַתָּה עַל־הָאָרֶץ עַל־כֵּן יִהְיוּ דְבָרֶיךָ מְעַטִּים׃

2  Just as dreams come with much brooding, so does foolish utterance come with much speech.

ב  כִּי בָּא הַחֲלוֹם בְּרֹב עִנְיָן וְקוֹל כְּסִיל בְּרֹב דְּבָרִים׃

3  When you make a vow to Hashem, do not delay to fulfill it. For He has no pleasure in fools; what you vow, fulfill.

ג  כַּאֲשֶׁר תִּדֹּר נֶדֶר לֵאלֹהִים אַל־תְּאַחֵר לְשַׁלְּמוֹ כִּי אֵין חֵפֶץ בַּכְּסִילִים אֵת אֲשֶׁר־תִּדֹּר שַׁלֵּם׃

4  It is better not to vow at all than to vow and not fulfill.

ד  טוֹב אֲשֶׁר לֹא־תִדֹּר מִשֶׁתִּדּוֹר וְלֹא תְשַׁלֵּם׃

5  Don’t let your mouth bring you into disfavor, and don’t plead before the messenger that it was an error, but fear Hashem; else Hashem may be angered by your talk and destroy your possessions.

ה  אַל־תִּתֵּן אֶת־פִּיךָ לַחֲטִיא אֶת־בְּשָׂרֶךָ וְאַל־תֹּאמַר לִפְנֵי הַמַּלְאָךְ כִּי שְׁגָגָה הִיא לָמָּה יִקְצֹף הָאֱלֹהִים עַל־קוֹלֶךָ וְחִבֵּל אֶת־מַעֲשֵׂה יָדֶיךָ׃

6  For much dreaming leads to futility and to superfluous talk.

ו  כִּי בְרֹב חֲלֹמוֹת וַהֲבָלִים וּדְבָרִים הַרְבֵּה כִּי אֶת־הָאֱלֹהִים יְרָא׃

7  If you see in a province oppression of the poor and suppression of right and justice, don’t wonder at the fact; for one high official is protected by a higher one, and both of them by still higher ones.

ז  אִם־עֹשֶׁק רָשׁ וְגֵזֶל מִשְׁפָּט וָצֶדֶק תִּרְאֶה בַמְּדִינָה אַל־תִּתְמַהּ עַל־הַחֵפֶץ כִּי גָבֹהַּ מֵעַל גָּבֹהַ שֹׁמֵר וּגְבֹהִים עֲלֵיהֶם׃

8  Thus the greatest advantage in all the land is his: he controls a field that is cultivated.

ח  וְיִתְרוֹן אֶרֶץ בַּכֹּל היא [הוּא] מֶלֶךְ לְשָׂדֶה נֶעֱבָד׃

9  A lover of money never has his fill of money, nor a lover of wealth his fill of income. That too is futile.

o-HAYV KE-sef lo yis-BA KE-sef u-MEE o-HAYV be-ha-MON LO t’-vu-AH gam ZEH HA-vel

ט  אֹהֵב כֶּסֶף לֹא־יִשְׂבַּע כֶּסֶף וּמִי־אֹהֵב בֶּהָמוֹן לֹא תְבוּאָה גַּם־זֶה הָבֶל׃

5:9   That too is futile

The word hevel (הבל), ‘futile,’ appears many times throughout Megillat Kohelet as a description of the pursuit of various physical pleasures.  Although the word is translated as ‘futile,’ it literally means ‘vapor’.  Vapor has the power to distort what a person sees.  For example, the hot air rising from desert sands creates the mirage of an oasis.  In this verse, Kohelet observes that amassing wealth is “hevel.”  More than just futile, the pursuit of wealth is similar to vapor, since it has the power to distort a person’s reality and values.  Kohelet warns not to pursue wealth, because one who does so will never be satisfied.Comment

10  As his substance increases, so do those who consume it; what, then, does the success of its owner amount to but feasting his eyes?

י  בִּרְבוֹת הַטּוֹבָה רַבּוּ אוֹכְלֶיהָ וּמַה־כִּשְׁרוֹן לִבְעָלֶיהָ כִּי אִם־ראית [רְאוּת] עֵינָיו׃

11  A worker’s sleep is sweet, whether he has much or little to eat; but the rich man’s abundance doesn’t let him sleep.

יא  מְתוּקָה שְׁנַת הָעֹבֵד אִם־מְעַט וְאִם־הַרְבֵּה יֹאכֵל וְהַשָּׂבָע לֶעָשִׁיר אֵינֶנּוּ מַנִּיחַ לוֹ לִישׁוֹן׃

12  Here is a grave evil I have observed under the sun: riches hoarded by their owner to his misfortune,

יב  יֵשׁ רָעָה חוֹלָה רָאִיתִי תַּחַת הַשָּׁמֶשׁ עֹשֶׁר שָׁמוּר לִבְעָלָיו לְרָעָתוֹ׃

13  in that those riches are lost in some unlucky venture; and if he begets a son, he has nothing in hand.

יג  וְאָבַד הָעֹשֶׁר הַהוּא בְּעִנְיַן רָע וְהוֹלִיד בֵּן וְאֵין בְּיָדוֹ מְאוּמָה׃

14  Another grave evil is this: He must depart just as he came. As he came out of his mother’s womb, so must he depart at last, naked as he came. He can take nothing of his wealth to carry with him.

יד  כַּאֲשֶׁר יָצָא מִבֶּטֶן אִמּוֹ עָרוֹם יָשׁוּב לָלֶכֶת כְּשֶׁבָּא וּמְאוּמָה לֹא־יִשָּׂא בַעֲמָלוֹ שֶׁיֹּלֵךְ בְּיָדוֹ׃

15  So what is the good of his toiling for the wind?

טו  וְגַם־זֹה רָעָה חוֹלָה כָּל־עֻמַּת שֶׁבָּא כֵּן יֵלֵךְ וּמַה־יִּתְרוֹן לוֹ שֶׁיַּעֲמֹל לָרוּחַ׃

16  Besides, all his days he eats in darkness, with much vexation and grief and anger.

טז  גַּם כָּל־יָמָיו בַּחֹשֶׁךְ יֹאכֵל וְכָעַס הַרְבֵּה וְחָלְיוֹ וָקָצֶף׃

17  Only this, I have found, is a real good: that one should eat and drink and get pleasure with all the gains he makes under the sun, during the numbered days of life that Hashem has given him; for that is his portion.

יז  הִנֵּה אֲשֶׁר־רָאִיתִי אָנִי טוֹב אֲשֶׁר־יָפֶה לֶאֶכוֹל־וְלִשְׁתּוֹת וְלִרְאוֹת טוֹבָה בְּכָל־עֲמָלוֹ שֶׁיַּעֲמֹל תַּחַת־הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ מִסְפַּר יְמֵי־חיו [חַיָּיו] אֲשֶׁר־נָתַן־לוֹ הָאֱלֹהִים כִּי־הוּא חֶלְקוֹ׃

18  Also, whenever a man is given riches and property by Hashem, and is also permitted by Him to enjoy them and to take his portion and get pleasure for his gains—that is a gift of Hashem.

יח  גַּם כָּל־הָאָדָם אֲשֶׁר נָתַן־לוֹ הָאֱלֹהִים עֹשֶׁר וּנְכָסִים וְהִשְׁלִיטוֹ לֶאֱכֹל מִמֶּנּוּ וְלָשֵׂאת אֶת־חֶלְקוֹ וְלִשְׂמֹחַ בַּעֲמָלוֹ זֹה מַתַּת אֱלֹהִים הִיא׃

19  For [such a man] will not brood much over the days of his life, because Hashem keeps him busy enjoying himself.

 

יט  כִּי לֹא הַרְבֵּה יִזְכֹּר אֶת־יְמֵי חַיָּיו כִּי הָאֱלֹהִים מַעֲנֶה בְּשִׂמְחַת לִבּוֹ׃

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Ecclesiastes 4
Ecclesiastes 6

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Ecclesiastes 5

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