A week ago we began a series of 12 expressions and idioms that is bound to enrich your Hebrew vocabulary, both in physical and spiritual aspects, all involving a common noun that most of us use daily without giving it too much thought. This noun is p’ri, fruit.
Today’s expression, ‘p’ri mach•she•vo•tam,’ has very interesting legal connotations. It looks as though it is about thoughts, but in its Biblical context, it is purely about actions.
The fruit of our thoughts could be the power that unleashes our special gifts in any area of human excellence. Ingenuity, inventiveness, creativity, imagination and innovation, are all fruits of our thoughts.
In the Bible, this expression carries a very negative connotation
“Hear, O earth; behold, I will bring evil upon this people, the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not listened to my words, nor to my Torah, but have rejected it”
Here, the fruit of their thoughts is their evil actions. This leads to the idea that actions are a result of a preceding thought. Furthermore, getting away from God’s guidance makes the actions premeditated and not thoughtless or accidental! For those of you who come from the legal practice, think of this: there is no need to prove malice to convict a person for turning away from God. Malice is assumed and inherent in such deeds because these deeds are assumed to be premeditated, a consequence of prior thoughts!
If you think that the association of ‘thoughts’ with negativity is coincidental, then, biblically speaking, you are wrong!
Most of the 80 times the word ‘thought’ appears in the Bible in relation to mankind is of the negative, God-defying connotation.
“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continual”
This was, of course, before the Flood. But not much has changed afterwards:
“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts”
The prophet ties together human thought with wickedness.
Human thought receives the same treatment throughout the New Testament as well:
“Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, ‘Why do you think evil in your hearts?’”