The definition of wisdom

The Lord G-D hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.

Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 50:4

As I read yesterday in Yeshayahu 50, this verse caught my attention. According to the Mirriam-Webster Dictionary, wisdom may be defined as follows:

  • 1a : accumulated philosophic or scientific learning : knowledge b : ability to discern inner qualities and relationships : insight c : good sense : judgment d : generally accepted belief
  • 2: a wise attitude, belief, or course of action
  • 3: the teachings of the ancient wise men

When Yeshayahu, however, writes that G-d has made him learned, he clearly does not have any of these definitions in mind. The definition with which Yeshayahu provides may be put in vernacular terms thus:

The knowledge, intuition, tact, and discernment to say the right thing at the right time to the right person, especially with regards to those in need of comfort.

This isn’t about being “street smart” or an “egg head.” Wisdom is about having an awareness of one’s surroundings that allows one to be consciously in harmony with one’s fellow man.

May we all strive for such wisdom.

This post is in memory of Eli–a truly wise man.

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