Ode for the Aging
1So remember your Creator in the days of your youth: before the days of misery come, and years draw near when you will say: “I have no pleasure in them”—
2before the sun and light and moon and the stars grow dark, and the clouds dissipate after the rain,
3in the day the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men stoop, when grinders stop because they are few, and those peering out windows grow dim,
4when doors are shut in the street and the sound of the mill fades, when one arises at the chirp of a bird and all their songs grow faint,
5when they also are afraid of heights and of dangers on the road, when the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along, and the caper berry fails to excite— for a man is going to his eternal home, and mourners go about in the street—
6before the silver cord is snapped, or the golden bowl is crushed, or the jug at the cistern is shattered, or the wheel at the well is broken.
7Then the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
8“Evanescent vapors,” says Kohelet. All is futility.
Conclusion: Fear God
9Furthermore, Kohelet was not only wise but he also taught the people knowledge. He pondered, sought out, and set in order many proverbs.
10Kohelet searched to find delightful words and truthful, accurate sayings.
11The words of the wise are like goads, their collective sayings are like firmly affixed nails. They have been given by one Shepherd.
12Be warned my son of anything in addition to them: There is no end to the making of many books, and excessive study wearies the flesh.
13A final word, when all has been heard: Fear God and keep His mitzvot! For this applies to all mankind.
14God will bring every deed into judgment, including everything that is hidden, whether it is good or evil.