TORAH
FIVE BOOKS OF MOSES
NEVI'IM
PROPHETS
KETUVIM
WRITINGS

Proverbs 26

1Like snow in summer and rain at harvest-time, So honor is not fitting for a dullard.

אכַּשֶּׁלֶג בַּקַּיִץ וְכַמָּטָר בַּקָּצִיר כֵּן לֹא־נָאוֶה לִכְסִיל כָּבוֹד׃

2As a sparrow must flit and a swallow fly, So a gratuitous curse must backfire.

בכַּצִּפּוֹר לָנוּד כַּדְּרוֹר לָעוּף כֵּן קִלְלַת חִנָּם לא [לוֹ] תָבֹא׃

3A whip for a horse and a bridle for a donkey, And a rod for the back of dullards.

גשׁוֹט לַסּוּס מֶתֶג לַחֲמוֹר וְשֵׁבֶט לְגֵו כְּסִילִים׃

4Do not answer a dullard in accord with his folly, Else you will become like him.

דאַל־תַּעַן כְּסִיל כְּאִוַּלְתּוֹ פֶּן־תִּשְׁוֶה־לּוֹ גַם־אָתָּה׃

5Answer a dullard in accord with his folly, Else he will think himself wise.

העֲנֵה כְסִיל כְּאִוַּלְתּוֹ פֶּן־יִהְיֶה חָכָם בְּעֵינָיו׃

6He who sends a message by a dullard Will wear out legs and must put up with lawlessness.

ומְקַצֶּה רַגְלַיִם חָמָס שֹׁתֶה שֹׁלֵחַ דְּבָרִים בְּיַד־כְּסִיל׃

7As legs hang limp on a cripple, So is a proverb in the mouth of dullards.

זדַּלְיוּ שֹׁקַיִם מִפִּסֵּחַ וּמָשָׁל בְּפִי כְסִילִים׃

8Like a pebble in a sling, So is paying honor to a dullard.

חכִּצְרוֹר אֶבֶן בְּמַרְגֵּמָה כֵּן־נוֹתֵן לִכְסִיל כָּבוֹד׃

9As a thorn comes to the hand of a drunkard, So a proverb to the mouth of a dullard.

טחוֹחַ עָלָה בְיַד־שִׁכּוֹר וּמָשָׁל בְּפִי כְסִילִים׃

10A master can produce anything, But he who hires a dullard is as one who hires transients.

ירַב מְחוֹלֵל־כֹּל וְשֹׂכֵר כְּסִיל וְשֹׂכֵר עֹבְרִים׃

11As a dog returns to his vomit, So a dullard repeats his folly.

יאכְּכֶלֶב שָׁב עַל־קֵאוֹ כְּסִיל שׁוֹנֶה בְאִוַּלְתּוֹ׃

12If you see a man who thinks himself wise, There is more hope for a dullard than for him.

יברָאִיתָ אִישׁ חָכָם בְּעֵינָיו תִּקְוָה לִכְסִיל מִמֶּנּוּ׃

13A lazy man says, “There's a cub on the road, a lion in the squares.”

יגאָמַר עָצֵל שַׁחַל בַּדָּרֶךְ אֲרִי בֵּין הָרְחֹבוֹת׃

14The door turns on its hinge, And the lazy man on his bed.

ידהַדֶּלֶת תִּסּוֹב עַל־צִירָהּ וְעָצֵל עַל־מִטָּתוֹ׃

15The lazy man buries his hand in the bowl; He will not even bring it to his mouth.

טוטָמַן עָצֵל יָדוֹ בַּצַּלָּחַת נִלְאָה לַהֲשִׁיבָהּ אֶל־פִּיו׃

16The lazy man thinks himself wiser Than seven men who give good advice.

טזחָכָם עָצֵל בְּעֵינָיו מִשִּׁבְעָה מְשִׁיבֵי טָעַם׃

17A passerby who gets embroiled in someone else's quarrel Is like one who seizes a dog by its ears.

יזמַחֲזִיק בְּאָזְנֵי־כָלֶב עֹבֵר מִתְעַבֵּר עַל־רִיב לֹּא־לוֹ׃

18Like a madman scattering deadly firebrands, arrows,

יחכְּמִתְלַהְלֵהַּ הַיֹּרֶה זִקִּים חִצִּים וָמָוֶת׃

19Is one who cheats his fellow and says, “I was only joking.”

יטכֵּן־אִישׁ רִמָּה אֶת־רֵעֵהוּ וְאָמַר הֲ‍לֹא־מְשַׂחֵק אָנִי׃

20For lack of wood a fire goes out, And without a querulous man contention is stilled.

b'-E-fes ay-TZEEM tikh-beh AYSH uv-AYN nir-GAN yish-TOK ma-DON

כבְּאֶפֶס עֵצִים תִּכְבֶּה־אֵשׁ וּבְאֵין נִרְגָּן יִשְׁתֹּק מָדוֹן׃

 26:20   And without a querulous man contention is stilled

Rumors and slander add fuel to the fire of human contention. Just as a fire will burn itself out when it runs out of wood, so too, a disagreement will end naturally if the parties involved are not continually provoked by gossip. The Torah warns against speaking ill about others. The verse in Sefer Vayikra (19:16), “Do not deal basely with your countrymen,” is usually translated as “thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people.” Speech is so powerful and potentially dangerous that, according to the Sages (Erchin 15a), the tongue had to be hidden behind two protective barriers, the lips and the teeth, in order to protect it from being used for slander. Indeed, it was the slander of the spies, who spoke evil about the Land of Israel, which delayed entry into the Holy Land and caused the Nation of Israel to wander in the desert for forty years.

21Charcoal for embers and wood for a fire And a contentious man for kindling strife.

כאפֶּחָם לְגֶחָלִים וְעֵצִים לְאֵשׁ וְאִישׁ מדונים [מִדְיָנִים] לְחַרְחַר־רִיב׃

22The words of a querulous man are bruising; They penetrate one's inmost parts.

כבדִּבְרֵי נִרְגָּן כְּמִתְלַהֲמִים וְהֵם יָרְדוּ חַדְרֵי־בָטֶן׃

23Base silver laid over earthenware Are ardent lips with an evil mind.

כגכֶּסֶף סִיגִים מְצֻפֶּה עַל־חָרֶשׂ שְׂפָתַיִם דֹּלְקִים וְלֶב־רָע׃

24An enemy dissembles with his speech, Inwardly he harbors deceit.

כדבשפתו [בִּשְׂפָתָיו] יִנָּכֵר שׂוֹנֵא וּבְקִרְבּוֹ יָשִׁית מִרְמָה׃

25Though he be fair-spoken do not trust him, For seven abominations are in his mind.

כהכִּי־יְחַנֵּן קוֹלוֹ אַל־תַּאֲמֶן־בּוֹ כִּי שֶׁבַע תּוֹעֵבוֹת בְּלִבּוֹ׃

26His hatred may be concealed by dissimulation, But his evil will be exposed to public view.

כותִּכַּסֶּה שִׂנְאָה בְּמַשָּׁאוֹן תִּגָּלֶה רָעָתוֹ בְקָהָל׃

27He who digs a pit will fall in it, And whoever rolls a stone, it will roll back on him.

כזכֹּרֶה־שַּׁחַת בָּהּ יִפֹּל וְגֹלֵל אֶבֶן אֵלָיו תָּשׁוּב׃

28A lying tongue hates those crushed by it; Smooth speech throws one down.

כחלְשׁוֹן־שֶׁקֶר יִשְׂנָא דַכָּיו וּפֶה חָלָק יַעֲשֶׂה מִדְחֶה׃