Old Testament Summary Lesson 31: “Happy Is The Man That Findeth Wisdom”
- The Wonder of the Word: In Judaism, it is completely irreverent to place any kind of writing on the floor or the ground. Scriptures are kept in special cabinets (reminiscent of the Ark in Temple times) If a book falls to the floor, it is the habit to pick it up, render a kiss and return it to its place. Since Biblical Hebrew (the Old Testament) was written with fewer than nine thousand root words, the value of the words as they created illustrations and images was important. Ancient scripture writers used imagery that extended into related meanings.
- Wisdom Often Connected with Respect for the Aged: “Respect for the aged is always a mitzvah: ‘You shall rise before gray hairs, and show respect to the old man’ (Leviticus 19:32) . . . speaks of disrespect for the aged as a sign of a corrupt generation (3:5).” “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” is the recurring motto of the Book of Proverbs, and a good and satisfying life is the reward promised if one cultivates wisdom.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
- Wisdom Learned, Wisdom Earned: In a rabbinic discussion, scholars are enjoined to be amiable to each other and to respect one another in their halakhic discussions for ‘if a sage becomes angry, his wisdom departs from him.'” “. . . not considered to be just intellectual ability or capacity; true wisdom had to be based on the fear of God and on a moral way of life.” “. . . wisdom ultimately remained a divine gift rewarding those who desired it enough to submit to its discipline.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
- Tower of Babel–Pride: “The building became such an obsession that, according to the Midrash, when a builder fell off the tower to his death, the other builders paid no attention, but when a brick fell, they would cry: “When shall another come in its place?” According to this interpretation, every generation has its own Tower of Babel, when it begins to idolize its technology.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.) The moral of the story is applicable today.
- Time to Update Your Will: “In the Middle Ages it was quite common for great rabbis or thinkers to leave a document – to be read after death – for their children in which they pointed out the correct way the children should live and even giving instructions with regard to specific ethical or religious behavior.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)