I am taking advantage of the first Mishlei column of the new year to review some of the important steps in The (Fantasy) Lecture by King Solomon on Acquiring True Wisdom:
Even the “Wisest of all Men” can be overwhelmed by the problems of leading a large nation. (To Be Like Moses) This is especially true when the leader, above and beyond his practical and physical obligations to the nation, is responsible for the spiritual life of each individual. Solomon desired the necessary wisdom to nurture each of his subjects.
Introduction: Statement of Goals:
The Basic Approach
He understood that each person would have a different desire for, and response to wisdom. King Solomon therefore, presents his curriculum on multiple levels: “Playing At Life,” “Part of the Vernacular,” (Allegory & Application) and as “Reflections of Reality.”
The actual course begins with a definition of basic terms, “The Tools of Intelligence”: Chochmah, Binah, Da’at, Sechel, and Mussar. Shlomo familiarizes us with different wisdom tools so that each of us can begin by using the type of wisdom with which he is most familiar. He wants us to emotionally connect with the Wisdom process so that can begin by “Personalizing Wisdom.”
In “The Wisdom to Accept,” Shlomo pointed out that wisdom is necessary to accept discipline, much as a child must understand the “why” of a rebuke for it to be effective as a teaching tool and not just fear or intimidation.
Only a person who has the Wisdom to Accept will be able to use wisdom to offer “Life Training” wisdom to his children.
Once a person has learned how to share his wisdom as training, he will possess the “Wisdom to Use Wisdom,” and be able to practically apply all he learns.
The king who wants to be “As Moses,” the teacher of his people, not just a ruler, reminds us that we can find practical applications of everything we learn.
The most basic application of wisdom is to use it for “Strategies” as we strive to become better human beings.
While we can easily apply some of the Torah’s wisdom, there is much that seems too complex, esoteric, and deep for those of us not as wise as Solomon. In “Applying Acquired Wisdom,” the wise king promises us that we can use his Wisdom Course to develop the necessary skills to understand the deepest secrets of wisdom.
Levels of Wisdom
The Wisdom Course now “As A Parent To A Child” presents levels of wisdom: “The Wisdom of Awe,” the first and final goal of wisdom, “The Wisdom to Listen,” Wisdom as “Adornment and Necklace,” which empowers us to unify all we learn, and the wisdom to recognize “Seductive Conversations,” and to carry on and listen into “Conversations With Myself.”
Only after we have trained ourselves in “The Wisdom To Hear,” will we sufficiently “Treasure Wisdom” to be able to achieve “Insight and Application,” a highly personal and powerful experience of Wisdom. We can then go “From Application To Awe, To Higher Knowledge.”
Once a person is committed to integrating Solomon’s course, will he be able to “Find My Place in Torah,” meaning, to define the area of Torah that resonates in the deepest part of his soul, which is the only path to Awe of God.
Shlomo HaMelech now takes us to “Wisdom, Knowledge and Understanding,” in which he explains the most important use of wisdom; working on one’s personal attributes not with a system of rules, ‘anger is bad,” but through deeper understanding.
Shlomo teaches us that at this point, and ONLY at this point, can we access the wisdom of Above to Below, and Below to Above. (“Wisdom, Knowledge and Understanding II”)
We can now protect our “Natural Yashrut,” or innocence, even as the world and life constantly challenge all we have learned.
Our Wisdom Course will now take us to a spectacular level of wisdom, with which we can experience Torah on an entirely new level.