Whenever I think about a magic wand or wishing my favorite wish or imagining having whatever I truly value, I always think about wanting more knowledge than I already have. Those who know me will not be surprised at this wish – I am always reading and absorbing as much as I can. And fundamentally, the reason I write books is to secure the data necessary to write a complete and trustworthy piece of literature.
How much knowledge is enough? From my standpoint, there is no such thing. For as long as I have the ability to read and learn, I will continue to do so. I am always amused by my students who are surprised at my ability to answer most of their questions. Some of that may be because they do not consider me a true teacher. Some may simply be that they are impressed by any accumulation of knowledge.
But it just occurred to me to question the true definition of wisdom. For one, wisdom is derived from paying attention to the world around us and the lessons that we learn along the way. More importantly, wisdom is not an accumulation of facts or other information. It is simply having the skills necessary to get the answers to any questions that we may have.
This is a tremendously powerful observation. With the thousands of hours that I have spent in libraries and online, I have become competent at finding any information that I can possibly want. If I need to know something about the state of Hungary in the early 1940s, it’s simply a matter of looking that up online. And if I want to view all of the world’s oceans, all I need to do is consult my globe. Although that treasured object is an antique, the oceans haven’t changed size very much during the last hundred years, making the globe a reliable source of data. As a result of this observation, I have one more lesson for myself and the students that I teach. A wise person doesn’t have the answers to all of the questions – he or she is wise by knowing how to find those answers. Shalom. ﬧ ﬣﬥ