In Proverbs 19:21 we have

עֲצַת ה' הִיא תָקוּם

I understand this to be on the topic of division of labor between a man and his wife, in particular which one should wake up early in the morning to do chores. But the exact message depends on how it is read. Either

עֲצַת ה' הִיא - תָקוּם

The advice of G-d is - get up! [Masculine]

so it is the husband, or

עֲצַת ה' - הִיא תָקוּם

The advice of G-d - she will get up.

so it is the wife.

Which one is correct?

This question is Purim Torah and is not intended to be taken completely seriously. See the Purim Torah policy.

  • 3
    Meni, welcome to Mi Yodeya, and congratulations on nailing the Purim Torah Q&A concept on your first try! I hope to see you around, enjoying both our Purim Torah content and our tens of thousands of real Judasim Q&As.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 18:09
  • @IsaacMoses: Thanks! When I saw the Purim Torah questions starting to pop up I knew I had to get in on the action :) Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 18:39
  • I've always heard this as explaining which spouse should get up in the middle of the night to get the crying kid. רבות מחשבות בלב איש - I'm gonna get up, soon I'll get up, 2 more minutes I'll get up, is he quieting down? I guess I should get up soon. Meanwhile, the wife should just get up and help the poor kid. Commented Mar 11, 2016 at 1:55

2 Answers 2


First of all, +1 on this wonderful question, which has been causing great contention between man and wife for generations upon generations.

Fortunately, this is a case for which we can wholeheartedly say "לא אלמן ישראל", for two reasons:

  1. The sages who set down our daily prayers knew that this instruction might become vague as the generations' moral sense decreases, so they explained this instruction by immediately following it with other verses (as shown below).

  2. We're talking about cases where "לא אלמן ישראל", i.e. this question is relevant in cases where there are both a husband and a wife present.

Firstly, notice that in many cases, we interpret the text's meaning based on the tradition of the cantillation. Example:

This Mishnah Berurah OC 51, 17 states that in Shirat HaYam, one should pause between "במים" and "אדירים", and that the word "אדירים" describes the Egyptians, not the water. This is based on the cantillation: צָֽלְלוּ֙ כַּֽעוֹפֶ֔רֶת בְּמַ֖יִם אַדִּירִֽים. Notice that the Tifcha signals a slight pause, which proves the Mishnah Berurah's opinion.

A different example (some say from the Vilna Gaon) where we can see that the cantialltion has wisdom and clues behind it, is in Esther 2, 14: וּבְהַגִּ֡יעַ תֹּר֩ נַעֲרָ֨ה וְנַעֲרָ֜ה לָב֣וֹא ׀ אֶל־הַמֶּ֣לֶךְ אֲחַשְׁוֵר֗וֹשׁ...

When the women were called to the king, they came willingly, as the meaning of the cantillation Kadma Ve'Azla ("came early and advanced") hints. However, when it was Esther's turn:
וּבְהַגִּ֣יעַ תֹּר־אֶסְתֵּ֣ר בַּת־אֲבִיחַ֣יִל דֹּ֣ד מׇרְדֳּכַ֡י. We see four consecutive Munachs, which hint at her unwillingness to go (Munach comes from "נחת", resting, walking slowly).

There are many other enlightening examples, but let's see now what the cantillation say in our case:

וַעֲצַ֥ת יְ֝הֹוָ֗ה הִ֣יא תָקֽוּם

There's a slight pause of the Munach on "היא", which hints at two things:

  1. The Munach is under "היא", which means she should rest (Munach is from the root of resting).
  2. Since there's a pause by the Munach, we must read "היא - תקום" - that the man must get up.

Secondly, let us now open our morning prayer book and see what are the next verses in line (before Ashrey):

רַבּוֹת מַחֲשָׁבוֹת בְּלֶב אִישׁ, וַעֲצַת ה' הִיא תָקוּם
עֲצַת ה' לְעוֹלָם תַּעֲמֹד, מַחְשְׁבוֹת לִבּוֹ לְדֹר וָדֹר
כִּי הוּא אָמַר וַיֶּהִי, הוּא צִוָּה וַיַּעֲמֹד

We can see that they left us no room for doubt. The second verse says "עצת ה' לעולם תעמוד". But still, does "תעמוד" mean the husband should get up (גוף שני), or the woman should (גוף שלישי).

So "בא הכתוב השלישי ומכריע ביניהן", we have the third verse to remove all doubt and solve our problem: "הוא צוה - ויעמוד"! Finally, an explicit command that the husband must get up.

Also note that these problems and tribulations were hinted in this last verse, in a more explicit way than mentioned:

"כי הוא אמר ויהי": When we reach the situation of "ויהי" - Chazal teach us in Megillah 10b:

אמר רבי לוי ואיתימא רבי יונתן דבר זה מסורת בידינו מאנשי כנסת הגדולה כל מקום שנאמר ויהי אינו אלא לשון צער

Said Rabbi Levi, or some say Rabbi Yonatan: We have a tradition from Anshei HaKnesset HaGedolah - anywhere it says "ויהי" - it is a sign of sorrow.

Some explain that "וי" and "הי" are both roots of trouble and weeping ("הי" is the base of "נהי").

So we see that "כי הוא אמר ויהי" - when we have troubles (between the parents) and weeping (of the baby) - "הוא צוה - ויעמוד" - the man must get up and take care of it. ודו"ק.

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    Wow. The understanding of Trop in the post is atrocious. BTW why isn't it Takum with a Dagesh if the previous word is pausal?
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 11, 2016 at 4:53
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    @DoubleAA Why, thanks! Obviously you're right, and it should been with a dagesh, however this case is very delicate, and even though the sages hinted at the right interpretation, they didn't want to emphasize it (lehadgish), for reasons of shelom bayit.
    – Cauthon
    Commented Mar 11, 2016 at 6:16
  • My friend Yisrael the Alman is offended by your lack of sensitivity.
    – user9907
    Commented Mar 16, 2016 at 0:29

There is no question that the woman must rise. The second interpretation is the correct one.

Unfortunately you omitted the beginning of the verse that you cited, so that you can understand how this is deduced. The full verse is:

רַבּ֣וֹת מַחֲשָׁב֣וֹת בְּלֶב־אִ֑ישׁ וַעֲצַ֥ת יְ֝הוָ֗ה הִ֣יא תָקֽוּם׃

There are many thoughts in the heart of a man....

But, man's thoughts are vanity and, essentially worthless as it says:

Psalms 94:11:

יְֽהוָ֗ה יֹ֭דֵעַ מַחְשְׁב֣וֹת אָדָ֑ם כִּי־הֵ֥מָּה הָֽבֶל׃

The LORD knows the thoughts of man, That they are vanity.

If man were to stand, he would probably begin talking soon afterwards and telling people what he thinks. Even, if he sits, he expresses his thoughts. When he's silent, he doesn't verbally express his thoughts, but, as a man, myself, believe me ... he thinks - and others know what he's thinking even before he opens his mouth. And, if you're talking about a man's wife ... she knows what her husband is thinking even before the thought enters her husband's vain brain! He may as well not bother thinking at all!

So, the verse is telling you G-d's advice. Since G-d knows best that man's thoughts are worthless, it's better for a woman to stand first and express her thoughts before you hear it from him.

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