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Mishlei: A Fantasy Lecture By King Solomon

Four extraordinary minds joined me in the meeting. Each participant has achieved incredible things in his field. There was a doctor, a scientist, an engineer and an attorney. I learned something new every five minutes as each person spoke about his field. We didn’t have to explain anything to each other; everyone quickly grasped what the other was saying. The conversation with such bright people was energizing, and despite the late hour, none of us wanted to end the meeting even after we completed our agenda.

It was also wonderful to observe and hear how many different types of ‘smarts’ were connecting. The doctor knows a great deal about everything. The scientist has a more inspired wisdom; he can observe a problem that has stumped everyone and will, in a lightning flash, offer a brilliant solution. The engineer will immediately understand how to turn the scientist’s epiphany into a series of practical steps. The attorney sees layers of legal issues that would not have occurred to anyone else.

So much wisdom. In so many forms. So, I began to imagine that a local synagogue offered a course “Achieving Wisdom” to be taught by King Solomon.  When I recently toured Rutgers with my son I was envious and desperate to return to college and take advantage of all the disciplines offered by the university. Nothing I saw could compare to a course in wisdom taught by the wisest of men.

Mishlei – Proverbs is that course. So, let’s picture the outline of the introductory lecture based on the previous essays:

1. Desire:
– What do you desire to know? Think of Moses asking God to “Make Your ways known to me.” (Exodus 33:13)
– Wisdom begins with the desire to understand the mysteries of life. Compare to Nadav and Avihu at Sinai. (Exodus 24:9-11)
– Wisdom develops as an eternal search for a deeper understanding. Consider Isaiah’s quest in Isaiah Chapter 6.

2. A Hearing Heart: (Kings I 3:15)
– Train your heart to beat to the subtleties of life. Moses did as he turned toward the Burning Bush. (Exodus 3:2-3)
– Practice hearing the soft notes underneath the loud noises. Compare to Elijah in the cave. (Kings I 19:11-12)

3. Playing at Life
– We often believe that we are in control, but those with wisdom recognize the Hand of God. Compare Haman in the Book of Esther with King David’s willingness to wait for God’s signal in Samuel II 5:22-25.

4. Part of the Vernacular
– Find wisdom in the common sayings of average people, as in Samuel I 18:7

5. Reflections of Reality
– Appreciate wisdom as deriving from the Creator. (Kings I 5:9-12)

6. Forms of Wisdom

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