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  • Writer's pictureRuth Schapira

Your Light of Wisdom

Our days are rather filled "up" with day-to-day undertakings, and sometimes we barely get in all the activities we schedule.

So where and how do we make room for study?

How can we be different today if we haven't focused on what that even means?

We always should be learning.

In what ways are we allowing ourselves to be changed by eternal wisdom?

The impetus to study and learn is a deep value in our tradition.

After all, one of the highest compliments we can pay to a Torah scholar is to call that person a "Talmid Chacham"...literally a student of wisdom. So, even at the highest level of scholarship, one is still a student, open to learning and growing.

We always should be learning.

In Ecclesiastes / Kohelet, we are taught: חָכְמַ֤ת אָדָם֙ תָּאִ֣יר פָּנָ֔יו [Chachmat Adam Tair Panav] a person's wisdom illuminates their face.

It's a beautiful concept. Our tradition tells us that when we err, we 'tarnish' the Image of God that is within us. Alternatively, when we are on the right path, when we search for and gain wisdom, that brightens and illuminates us...our inner light shows on our face.

The Jerusalem Talmud relates this story (Shekalim 3:2:19) about Rabbi Abbahu when he came to the school of Rabbi Yohanan in Tiberias:

Rabbi Yoḥanan’s students saw that Rabbi Abbahu’s face was shining. The students said to Rabbi Yoḥanan: Rabbi Abbahu has found a treasure. When Rabbi Abbahu came before Rabbi Yoḥanan, Rabbi Yoḥanan said to him: What new words of Torah did you hear? He said to him: I heard an ancient Tosefta, which was new to me. When Rabbi Yoḥanan heard Rabbi Abbahu’s answer, he applied to him the verse: “A man’s wisdom makes his face shine.”

The message is clear....when we seek to better ourselves, our desire and effort might not be evident or seen by others, but eventually, the wisdom we gain, shows itself to others in visible ways.

What will you learn today? What new course will you take? What text will you decide to begin reading?


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