July 23, 2024 ~ Sh PINEHAS. M SABA.

 Proverb of the Week - פתגם משלי השבוע

In Memory of Rabbi Amnon Haramati A"H

Tanakh Chairman at the Yeshivah of Flatbush High School

The following are Proverbs accompanied by a brief explanation.

Returning the Good

§ מֵשִׁ֣יב רָ֭עָה תַּ֣חַת טוֹבָ֑ה לֹא־תמיש [תָמ֥וּשׁ] רָ֝עָ֗ה מִבֵּיתֽוֹ׃

Proverbs 17:13 translates "For one who repays bad in place of good, bad will not depart from their household." In this verse, Proverbs is referring to someone who received a favor from another, but instead of repaying them back with a favor, that person repays them back by harming them. This scenario is so troublesome that Proverbs says that they will not get away with such a crime and that evil will never leave their household. The Malbim comments that God runs the world using the principle called "Mida Keneged Mida," meaning, "measure for measure." For someone to return evil in place of good, by definition, goes against the outcome that God wants to occur. That is why the punishment is so severe. In Exodus 1, we read of the Egyptians who enslave and torment the Israelites. What is so baffling about this is that the Egyptians subjugate the same group of people whose leader, Joseph, saved them from a devastating famine only one generation earlier. For the Egyptians to repay bad in place of the good that they owed the Israelites is offensive to God's principle of "measure for measure" and is what causes them to merit punishment. Beth Torah Bulletin, January 9, 2021.

A Good Name

§ זֵ֣כֶר צַ֭דִּיק לִבְרָכָ֑ה וְשֵׁ֖ם רְשָׁעִ֣ים יִרְקָֽב׃

Proverbs 10:7 translates: "The memory of the righteous will be as a blessing, but the name of the wicked will rot." Throughout life, the most important thing is for one to maintain their good name. If one has a good name, then once they die, others will feel blessed every time that the name of the deceased is mentioned. The blessing that one feels will cause them to emulate and incorporate their good deeds into their own lives. This is the reason why we eulogize the deceased and recall their good deeds at their funeral. In contrast, at the death of a wicked person, they leave such a bad taste that society would rather forget them. People won't want to even think about them, because even the thoughts of them causes an unpleasant feeling. The Mesudat David commentary explains that when it comes to a righteous person, other people are likely to constantly bring nice stories about them, and this will cause those people to bless the deceased. In contrary, when it comes to the wicked, others will not bring up stories about them, causing their name to be forgotten. Once a name has no one mentioning it, it falls to rot and is erased from the collective memory of society. Beth Torah Bulletin, January 2, 2021.

Do Not Rejoice

§ בִּנְפֹ֣ל אויביך [אֽ֭וֹיִבְךָ] אַל־תִּשְׂמָ֑ח וּ֝בִכָּשְׁל֗וֹ אַל־יָגֵ֥ל לִבֶּֽךָ׃

Proverbs 24:17 translates "At the downfall of your enemy, do not rejoice; in his stumble, do not be glad in your heart." On this verse, the Ibn Ezra explains that one should never be happy on any evil decree of God (Gezera), such as an illness, even if it falls on one's enemy. According to the Malbim, there is a difference between the happiness in the word "Simha" (in the first half of the verse) and "Gila" (in the second half of the verse). "Simha" refers to a permanent state of happiness, whereas "Gila" refers to a fleeting state of happiness. Regardless, both forms of happiness are not appropriate for this scenario. According to Pirqe Abot (Abot 4:19), this verse was brought to fame by the Mishnaic sage, Shemuel HaQatan, who was well-known to constantly be repeating this verse due to its relevant message. The lesson here is that one should only be happy from ones own positive achievements or accomplishments, and never from another's misfortune or downfall. Beth Torah Bulletin, October 3, 2020.


§ לְאָדָ֥ם מַֽעַרְכֵי־לֵ֑ב וּ֝מֵיְהוָ֗ה מַעֲנֵ֥ה לָשֽׁוֹן׃

Proverbs 16:1 translation: "A man arranges the thoughts of his heart, but from God comes the tongue's response" When it comes to successful relationships, the ability to articulate one's thoughts is of paramount importance. When conscious, all people are filled with countless thoughts on a regular basis. The part that takes real talent, though, is the ability to articulate those many thoughts into coherent words that make sense and that are "acceptable" to other people. It is a gift from God for one to have the ability to articulate their thoughts so clearly that other people are drawn to what they have to say. This verse is well-known, because it is used at the end of the solemn hymn "Ohila La'el" at the cornerstone of the High Holiday services immediately prior to the repetition of the Musaf Amida; the most high-stakes portion of the prayers. This verse is used as a prayer to allow us to organize clearly articulated words in order for our prayers to be acceptable to God. Beth Torah Bulletin, September 26, 2020.

Dignity of a King

§ בְּרָב־עָ֥ם הַדְרַת־מֶ֑לֶךְ וּבְאֶ֥פֶס לְ֝אֹ֗ם מְחִתַּ֥ת רָזֽוֹן׃

During a lesson at a synagogue in Boston, a discussion came up about the importance of reading the Qeriat Shema of Shaharit at its proper time. For example, it must be recited no later than three "hours" after sunrise. On weekdays, our minyan started at 7 AM, so this posed no risk for missing the Shema. However, on Shabbat, the minyan starts at 8:30 AM, and in the summer, when sunrise is about 5 AM, the time for Shema can easily be missed. When I asked Rabbi Hamaoui why we don't change Shabbat services to 7 AM in the summer, he responded "BeRov 'Am Hadarat Melekh." This expression is from Proverbs 14:28, and the entire verse translates "In the multitude of followers is the dignity of a king, but with zero subjects, a prince is doomed." In context, if we were to start each Shabbat morning at 7 AM, we would be losing many congregants who would stop coming. If God is visualized as our king, there is much more dignity for Him if we had a minyan filled with 100 people rather than a tiny minyan of only 10. In the summer, in order to avoid missing the time of Qeriat Shema, they remind the people on Friday evening to recite it prior to arriving to services. Beth Torah Bulletin, September 12, 2020.

Their Road

§ חֲנֹ֣ךְ לַ֭נַּעַר עַל־פִּ֣י דַרְכּ֑וֹ גַּ֥ם כִּֽי־יַ֝זְקִ֗ין לֹֽא־יָס֥וּר מִמֶּֽנָּה׃

Proverbs 22:6 translates: "Train a youth in their road; for even when they are aged, they will not swerve from it." The imagery of this verse is that of a young person walking on the road to a specific destination. The role of the adult is not to swerve that young person to a different road, but rather help them on the road that they are already on to reach their destination. In a lesson on the most effective way of teaching a young person, this verse highlights the uniqueness and individuality of each person; saying that each young person, by nature, has a different road in life. The role of a good parent or teacher is to custom-design each child's education according to what they are more likely to succeed in (based on their abilities and talents); not solely based on society's expectations. The second part of the verse emphasizes that if you train an individual in this format, then the knowledge imparted to them is likely to remain with them for life and they will never forget it. Beth Torah Bulletin, September 5, 2020.


§ מְכַסֶּ֣ה פְ֭שָׁעָיו לֹ֣א יַצְלִ֑יחַ וּמוֹדֶ֖ה וְעֹזֵ֣ב יְרֻחָֽם׃

Proverbs 28:13 translates "Those who cover their faults, will not succeed, but those who admit and leave them, will find mercy." These powerful words are recited in the Syrian Jewish liturgy prior to the recitation of the Confessions (Vidoui) in the Selihot throughout the month of Elul until Yom Kippur. In this tradition, this verse precedes the reading of all the commandment violations that one may commit in alphabetical order ("Ashamnu... Bagadnu... Gazalnu..."). What this verse is teaching is that we all have faults that we need to correct. However, in order to move forward in life and fix these faults, one has to be brave enough to speak openly about them, leave them in the past, and then move on. Those who are cowardly will find themselves in a pitiful situation of constantly covering up their problems and their lies. This type of lifestyle, says Proverbs, is destined for failure, and this person will never find comfort. This verse is said prior to the Confessions ceremony, because it explains why it is important to admit ones problems as the first step of repentance. Beth Torah Bulletin, August 29, 2020.


§ דְּאָגָ֣ה בְלֶב־אִ֣ישׁ יַשְׁחֶ֑נָּה וְדָבָ֖ר ט֣וֹב יְשַׂמְּחֶֽנָּה׃

Proverbs 12:25 translates "Anxiety in man's heart depresses him, but a good thing cheers him." An alternate translation, based on Rabbinic sources (i.e. Minhat Shai), is "If there is anxiety in one's heart, it should be discussed and the good words will cheer him." Here, the Rabbis see the word ישחנה (to depress) and turn it to ישיחנה (to discuss); derived from the word שיחה (discussion). Using this translation, one learns that the best way to deal with anxieties is to discuss it and this will lead them to see things more clearly and have a more optimistic outlook. This week, I lost a dear friend of mine named Jack Terzi. Not to long ago, I, too, was an individual filled with many anxieties about my future. Each week for some time, I would see Jack Terzi in the synagogue and we would discuss many life issues. It wasn't like he had expert advice to give me (talking mostly about my dating situation), but he made it clear that just talking about these problems is productive and would help me come up with a solution. I will always remember that when I had fears about my life, I had a good friend like Jack Terzi who I was able to talk to and these discussions would always cheer me up. Beth Torah Bulletin, August 22, 2020.

Your Own Water

§ שְׁתֵה־מַ֥יִם מִבּוֹרֶ֑ךָ וְ֝נֹזְלִ֗ים מִתּ֥וֹךְ בְּאֵרֶֽךָ׃

Proverbs 5:15 translates "Drink water from your own cistern; streaming water from your own well." This verse can be understood in many ways. On a simple level, if one has a choice between their own drink or their friend's, they should choose their own. This simple approach can be extended further since water can be viewed as a metaphor to mean anything that sustains life. Water can also be taken to mean knowledge or wisdom. Using this interpretation, Proverbs instructs that it is better to tap into one's own traditional knowledge-base (i.e. the Torah) in order to serve as a guide, rather than to tap into unusual 'modern' sources of knowledge (foreign philosophies) in order to find answers. Another interpretation is that this verse refers to choosing a proper mate. In selecting a proper mate, if one were given the choice between a plain woman ('water') of Israelite origin ('your well') or a more exotic woman of foreign (non-Israelite) origin, one would be making a wiser and safer decision if he chooses the first option ('drink water from your own cistern') and avoids getting entangled with an option that he may regret later on. Beth Torah Bulletin, August 15, 2020.

The Pursuit of Wisdom

§ אַ֥שְֽׁרֵי אָדָם֮ שֹׁמֵ֪עַֽ֫ לִ֥י לִשְׁקֹ֣ד עַל־דַּ֭לְתֹתַי י֤וֹם ׀ י֑וֹם לִ֝שְׁמֹ֗ר מְזוּזֹ֥ת פְּתָחָֽי׃

Proverbs 8:34 translates: "Happy is the man who listens to me, to wait by my doors day after day, to watch the posts of my portals." In the Mahzor Aram Soba (1527 and 1560), this is one of the "Ashre" verses recited daily prior to reading Psalms 145-150 in the Zemirot. In this tradition, Psalm 145 is preceded by a total of five verses that begin with the word "Ashre" (אשרי). The word "Ashre" means 'happy,' and in the context of the verse, the speaker, Wisdom (represented here as a woman), is suggesting that it will make a man happy if he were to pursue wisdom in a similar way that an eager man pursues his love interest (i.e. constantly going to her house every day; just waiting there for any glimpse of her that he can get). When it comes to the pursuit of wisdom and knowledge, one should be just as extreme. One ought to treat this pursuit so seriously that they never get involved in any other activity other than the pursuit of wisdom and knowledge. Beth Torah Bulletin, August 8, 2020.

Praiseworthy Traits

§ שֶׁ֣קֶר הַ֭חֵן וְהֶ֣בֶל הַיֹּ֑פִי אִשָּׁ֥ה יִרְאַת־יְ֝הוָ֗ה הִ֣יא תִתְהַלָּֽל׃

Proverbs 31:30 translates as: "Grace is deceptive, and beauty is vain; but a woman who fears God, she shall be praised." When it comes to describing the ideal woman, natural beauty and a charming personality will always make it to the top of the list. Proverbs 31, however, comes to dispel this error in thought and goes on to list the traits in a woman that should be emulated. Among these traits is a mother who works hard to provide for her children, a wife who helps her husband succeed in business, a citizen who is involved in giving charity to the needy, or a teacher who speaks words of wisdom to her pupils. Beauty and charm in personality, although perceived as pleasant traits, are superficial and deceptive, and will have absolutely no bearing on whether a woman deserves praise or respect from society. Ultimately, it is a woman's quality of being God-fearing that will earn her respect by those around her; her husband, her children, and her community. Beth Torah Bulletin, August 1, 2020.

Our Crown and Glory

§ עֲטֶ֣רֶת זְ֭קֵנִים בְּנֵ֣י בָנִ֑ים וְתִפְאֶ֖רֶת בָּנִ֣ים אֲבוֹתָֽם׃

Proverbs 17:6 translates "The crown of the elders is their grandchildren, and the glory of the children is their fathers." What the above verse is saying is fairly obvious, but the idea is all too often forgotten due to the constant distractions of every day life. What it is saying is that for a person, their highest amount of admiration should be focused on their parents and grandparents (and all ancestors), and for an elder, their highest amount of pride is for them to see their grandchildren (and all descendants). This special verse became familiar to me as the one posted on top of the Syrian Rabbi plaque distributed by the Sephardic Heritage Museum to all the community's synagogues. On this plaque, there are 158 rabbis from Syria from the 19th and 20th century. We, members of the Syrian community, have the high honor of being their lineage, and ultimately, their successors. With this role, comes great responsibility, and it is important not to forget that. Beth Torah Bulletin, July 25, 2020.

Shiqra vs Sedaqa

§ לֹא־יוֹעִ֣יל ה֭וֹן בְּי֣וֹם עֶבְרָ֑ה וּ֝צְדָקָ֗ה תַּצִּ֥יל מִמָּֽוֶת׃

Proverbs 11:4 commonly translates as "No avail is wealth on a day of wrath, but charity rescues from death." This, however, does not take into account the nuances of each word. The Aramaic Targum translates the word "Hon," not as riches, but as "Shiqra," or falsehoods (lies and deceit). Meaning, one will not be able to fake, or talk, their way out of a scenario when revenge is destined to take place. Acts of 'Sedaqa', the opposite of 'Shiqra', will be what rescues one from that fate. In our days, the word "Sedaqa" has shifted to only mean "charity," but in reality, "Sedaqa" can be translated in the following other ways: justice, righteousness, good deed, piety, fairness, merit, mercy, alms (gifts), or bounty. From this, one can understand that God looks favorably and removes any harsh decrees on those who are involved in any act of righteousness, not limited to charity, but any actions that one can take to improve the world by correcting injustices or by helping those in need. Beth Torah Bulletin, July 18, 2020.

Cold Waters

§ מַ֣יִם קָ֭רִים עַל־נֶ֣פֶשׁ עֲיֵפָ֑ה וּשְׁמוּעָ֥ה ט֝וֹבָ֗ה מֵאֶ֥רֶץ מֶרְחָֽק׃

Proverbs 25:25 translates: "Cold waters on a tired soul is good news from a far land." This verse is known to me, because it is the verse that my father, Matouk (מעתוק), reads before ending each Amida prayer (as per tradition of chanting a verse that starts with the first letter and ends with the last letter of one's name). In the past, with no phones for communication, one would have no way of knowing the whereabouts of loved ones separated across seas in far-away lands. There would be a constant uneasy feeling and distress in ones soul of not knowing how that family member is and whether or not they are safe on their journey. This verse captures the great feeling one gets when good news about a loved one abroad is relayed to them. Receiving good news is like the feeling of drinking refreshing cool water on a parched throat that is thirsty. In short, there is no better feeling for one's soul than to receive good news about loved ones and rest reassured that they are safe and successful. Beth Torah Bulletin, July 11, 2020.

A Good Life

§ כִּי־בִ֭י יִרְבּ֣וּ יָמֶ֑יךָ וְיוֹסִ֥יפוּ לְּ֝ךָ֗ שְׁנ֣וֹת חַיִּֽים׃

Proverbs 9:11 translates: "For through me, you will multiply your days; and you will add for you years of life". The words "through me" refers to wisdom. Meaning, those who pursue wisdom (more specifically, the wisdom of the Torah), they will have an extended life. According to Rashi, "life" refers to a good life; filled with earning and wealth, and not just a "long life" with no livelihood. The Messudat David explains that constantly engaging in the holy activities of the Torah, should allow for themselves more time to engage in good deeds, and this should lead to one having a better, more rewarding and fulfilling life. This verse is considered an extraordinary blessing, and we have a tradition of singing this to honor an individual when they finish an Aliyah to the Torah. We do not sing this to just anyone; only for distinguished individuals or those who are celebrating happy occasions. In my life, this verse was only sung to me once; when I finished my Aliyah after I got engaged. Beth Torah Bulletin, July 4, 2020.

A Close Friend or Neighbor

§ רֵֽעֲךָ֨ ורעה [וְרֵ֪עַ] אָבִ֡יךָ אַֽל־תַּעֲזֹ֗ב וּבֵ֥ית אָחִ֗יךָ אַל־תָּ֭בוֹא בְּי֣וֹם אֵידֶ֑ךָ ט֥וֹב שָׁכֵ֥ן קָ֝ר֗וֹב מֵאָ֥ח רָחֽוֹק׃

Proverbs 27:10 translates: "Do not desert your friend and your father’s friend; Do not enter your brother’s house in your time of misfortune; A close neighbor is better than a distant brother." A friend is someone whom you choose based on shared interests or experiences. A neighbor is someone who is close to you geographically and as a result may actually care for you. A good friend or neighbor is so important for an individual, that, at times, it is even more important than family members. Ideally, ones family members are close that they are also considered to be "friends." If that is not the case, however, then it is better to solicit help from a close friend during a time of misfortune rather than a "distant brother." This is because a friend is more likely to empathize with you and offer genuine support. This is opposed to approaching a distant family member who will be put into the awkward situation of not wanting to help you. Beth Torah Bulletin, June 27, 2020.

Smooth Paths

§ בְּכָל־דְּרָכֶ֥יךָ דָעֵ֑הוּ וְ֝ה֗וּא יְיַשֵּׁ֥ר אֹֽרְחֹתֶֽיךָ׃

Bar Kappara, the third century sage, asks "which is a brief passage upon which all fundamentals of the Torah are dependent?" His response is from Proverbs 3:6, "In all your ways you should know Him (God), and He will smooth your paths." Bar Kappara says that one must apply this principle of adhering to God in all their activities, and if one does so, then they will refrain from sin (TB Berakhot 63a). Ibn Ezra comments that one must put the effort to implement their knowledge of God into all their dealings; be it business affairs, scholarly pursuits, or personal interactions. If one makes this effort, then God will make their lives easier and remove the obstacles on their roads. One may view this verse as being a promise of making ones life easier as a reward for acknowledging Him. Another way to understand this is that having knowledge of God in all areas of life will cause one to have less doubt and less stress, and as a result, their paths, by default, will be smoother. Beth Torah Bulletin, June 20, 2020.

The Pause

§ מֵשִׁ֣יב דָּ֭בָר בְּטֶ֣רֶם יִשְׁמָ֑ע אִוֶּ֥לֶת הִיא־ל֝֗וֹ וּכְלִמָּֽה׃

At a press conference last week, the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, was asked a question on a very sensitive topic. People started to feel uncomfortable when they saw that he paused for 21 seconds prior to answering the question. However, it seems like he used this long pause to contemplate an answer that was thoughtful and articulate and sensitive to all the parties involved. This is a good example of one who exhibits wisdom. Proverbs 18:13 says "To respond to something before hearing makes him look foolish and disgraceful." This verse, contrasting the scenario above, is critical of one who is so eager to answer that they don't even think before they speak. One who is quick to respond even prior to hearing the full question is one that is prone to making errors in speech and is prone to say something incorrect, insensitive, or in the words of the proverb, "foolish." One should always remember the power of words, and should pause before responding to a question. Beth Torah Bulletin, June 13, 2020.


§ חוֹשֵׂ֣ךְ שִׁ֭בְטוֹ שׂוֹנֵ֣א בְנ֑וֹ וְ֝אֹהֲב֗וֹ שִֽׁחֲר֥וֹ מוּסָֽר׃

Proverbs 13:24 translates: “To spare your rod is to hate your son; and to love him is to discipline early.” When it comes to the upbringing of children, a parent might be inclined to try and “be nice” to the children and to let them do whatever they want in order to win their approval. This is a trap, and according to the Proverb, is the wrong approach. A parent has to realize that their role is not to be the “friend” of the child. Proverbs 13:24 says that a parent who doesn’t punish or rebuke a child when they do something wrong is a parent who, in effect, "hates their child." To the contrary, a parent who disciplines their child early and often may appear to hate the child, but in effect actually loves them. Although the terminology of “sparing your rod,” is a form of abuse that is no longer appropriate in our days, the overall message still applies. These days, disciplining children should only be done through reprimanding and punishing and never through acts of physical abuse. Beth Torah Bulletin, June 6, 2020.

Complete Weights

§ מֹאזְנֵ֣י מִ֭רְמָה תּוֹעֲבַ֣ת יְהוָ֑ה וְאֶ֖בֶן שְׁלֵמָ֣ה רְצוֹנֽוֹ׃

Proverbs 11:1 translates: "Deceptive scales are an abomination of God; but a complete weight pleases Him." This verse is about conducting monetary affairs with a fellow person in good faith, transparency, and honesty. In the past, trade was conducted by putting weights on a scale in order to measure the weight of the product that one intends to purchase. For those who were dishonest, false scales or incomplete weights could have been used in order to deceive the buyer and give them less than entitled to. In these days, however, when scales and weights are less often used, this verse serves as a general reminder of the importance of conducting business honestly. It is also a reminder that God monitors all of ones actions. For even if one manages to fool a fellow person by acting In trickery, God knows the truth and is repulsed by such behavior. God is only pleased with "complete weights" and business transactions that are conducted fairly. Beth Torah Bulletin, May 30, 2020.

Gaining Knowledge

§ קְֽנֹה־חָכְמָ֗ה מַה־טּ֥וֹב מֵחָר֑וּץ וּקְנ֥וֹת בִּ֝ינָ֗ה נִבְחָ֥ר מִכָּֽסֶף׃

Proverbs 16:16 translates: "Acquiring wisdom is better than gold, and acquiring discernment is preferred to silver." When I was in college and was confronted with how to spend my free time, my father would advise me to shadow my role models in their places of work (for no money). This is opposed to working in a place where I would earn some pocket money but gain no knowledge. The most important thing, he says, is to gain knowledge for the future. I am grateful that individuals like Dr Eddie Sutton and Dr Gary Franco would allow me to shadow them in their dental offices during those formative years. Relating that to this verse, the pursuit of wisdom through life experiences is more valuable than the pursuit of money. This is because the wisdom, as opposed to money, will always be with you, and will help you further yourself in the future. While working in a job that doesn't teach you anything may temporarily sustain you, it will not advance you in the long term. Beth Torah Bulletin, May 23, 2020.

Dinner Plans

§ ט֤וֹב אֲרֻחַ֣ת יָ֭רָק וְאַהֲבָה־שָׁ֑ם מִשּׁ֥וֹר אָ֝ב֗וּס וְשִׂנְאָה־בֽוֹ׃

Proverbs 15:17 translation: "Better a meal of vegetables where there is love, than a fattened ox where there is hate." Each week when I was in college, I had to find a place to eat for a Shabbat or holiday meal. During these years, I had the opportunity to interact with many different types of families. For the most part, each family was special in their own way and extremely hospitable. However, the Proverb above, provides a hypothetical scenario of two polarized types of dinner meals. One is a meal with peaceful and loving people, but consists of only of vegetables, and the other is a meal with belligerent and hateful people but consists of a fancy steak dinner. For this scenario, Proverbs suggests that one chooses wisely and spends time with loving people that are at peace with one another rather than spend time with belligerent people that are constantly fighting with one another. In summary, good company is more important than good food. Beth Torah Bulletin, May 16, 2020.

The Ant

§ לֵֽךְ־אֶל־נְמָלָ֥ה עָצֵ֑ל רְאֵ֖ה דְרָכֶ֣יהָ וַחֲכָֽם׃

Proverbs 6:6 translation: "Go to an ant, you lazy, see it's ways and wisen." The Malbim says that it is important to look at the traits of animals to see what can be learned from them. For if God never gave the Torah to us, our next option would be to look for examples of good traits from different animals. Regarding the ant, it is very small in size, yet very diligent in its task of collecting food. It often carries food that is much bigger and heavier than itself; a trait to emulate. In addition, it wisely prepares itself for the future by collecting food during the harvest season (summer), when food is plentiful, in order to store it for the winter season, when food is scarce. Verses 7-8 continue to say that although ants have no leaders, policemen, or rulers amongst themselves, they still continue to do their tasks of collecting food on their own and without coercion. They know their responsibilities and don't need to be reminded to take care of them. Beth Torah Bulletin, May 9, 2020.