Torah reading: Exodus 25:1-27:19
Haftorah reading: I Kings 5:26 – 6:13
This week’s haftorah reading opens with these words: The LORD had given Solomon wisdom, as He had promised him. I Kings 5:26
Solomon has long been associated with wisdom for it is written of him that ‘God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore. Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt.’ I Kings 4:29-30.
So profound was his wisdom that we read four verses later: Men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom. I Kings 4:34
Wisdom is the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight. As a virtue, it is a habit or disposition to perform the action with the highest degree of adequacy under any given circumstance with the limitation of error in any given action. This implies a possession of or the seeking of knowledge to apply to the given circumstance. (Wikipedia)
Wisdom involves an understanding of people, objects, events, situations, and the willingness as well as the ability to apply perception, judgment and action for the optimal course of action. It often requires control of one’s emotional reactions as well so that reason prevails to determine one’s action. In summary, wisdom is the ability to find the truth coupled with the right judgment as to what actions should be taken.
Solomon is about to commence building the Temple, one of the greatest construction projects of all time. His wisdom dictated every phase of the building process so that in the end, the Temple of God in Jerusalem was known to the world of that day as a most magnificent and stunning edifice.
The temple is called the house of the Lord, because it was directed and modeled by Him, and was to be employed in his service. Far beyond all its visible beauty, however, it was adorned with the beauty of holiness for it was unique, the earthly Temple of the God of Israel.
There is a very interesting aspect to this construction project: no iron tool was allowed to be used in the construction process. The Temple was built in an atmosphere of quietness and silence. Imagine being able to witness such a project yourself. Construction sites are usually so noisy but not this one. It had to have been amazing.
But beyond that, there is a message we dare not miss. All our service to God should be done with as much wisdom and attention to detail as Solomon employed in building the physical Temple. God’s work should also be done ‘quietly’ by those who serve Him. By ‘quietly’ I mean, that our service to the LORD should be carried out in a humble spirit that does not draw attention to ourselves but to Him.
During his presidency, Ronald Reagan is reported to have kept on his desk a plaque that said, There is no limit to what a man can accomplish if he doesn’t care who gets the credit. An accurate and succinct description of what it means to fulfill our duties ‘quietly’; in other words, not requiring attention and approval at every turn.
The book of Proverbs, written by Solomon, has much to say about wisdom. Here are just a few of its descriptions:
Proverbs 2:2 Make your ear attentive to wisdom,incline your heart to understanding.
Proverbs 3:13. How blessed is the man who finds wisdom and the man who gains understanding.
Proverbs 8:11. For wisdom is better than jewels; and all desirable things cannot compare with her.
Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
Proverbs 11:2. When pride comes, then comes dishonor, but with the humble is wisdom.
Proverbs 16:16. How much better it is to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen above silver.
Proverbs 19:18. He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; He who keeps understanding will find good.
In Tune with Torah this week = like Solomon, we are enjoined to ask God for wisdom for He gives it willingly to those who ask. And not just once – we may ask for wisdom continually for throughout life we meet all sorts of challenges and situation. Wisdom is indeed necessary in all of our affairs and relationships.
May He grant it in full measure to all who ask.