asher63 (asher63) wrote,
asher63
asher63

Proverbs

Just ordered myself two nice commentary editions* of the Book of Proverbs from Eichlers. I've never been able to put my finger on why this book of the Hebrew Scriptures, in particular, fascinates me; but this article from the JPS Study Bible nails it:

Proverbs is a paean to the power of the human mind. Its authors are convinced that everyone who attends to the wisdom of the past and employs his powers of rational thinking has the ability to know what to do and what to avoid. These powers and the knowledge that goes with them are called wisdom. Wisdom - Hebrew hokhmah - is the great virtue that, for Proverbs, entails all others. No divine revelation is necessary, for G-d gave humanity the faculty of wisdom, and people need only listen to her call (ch 8). Thus, there is a certain tension between Proverbs and Torah books, which insist on the significance of revealed law. (Michael V. Fox)

Also I like that the verses of Proverbs, read in Hebrew, have a pleasant rhythmical quality. I find that this makes them excellent mantras for meditation, as is the case with Psalm 119 (the lengthy alphabetical psalm). This seems appropriate because, as the above analysis suggests, the emphasis of Proverbs is less on obedience than on introspection.

*ETA:  Artscroll and Torah Anthology - 2 volumes each!
Tags: hebraica, proverbs
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