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Getting a Heart of Wisdom...
Vine and Branches

Levav Chokmah

Wisdom for the Journey...

by John J. Parsons

Psalm 90:12 Hebrew Text

"Teach us to number our days that
we may get a heart of wisdom"
- Psalm 90:12

Since everything is under God's Supervision, it is forbidden to regard actions and outcomes as the result of accident, chance, "luck," or happenstance... Those are all pagan ideas, based in ignorance and superstition. Faith in the LORD God Almighty is grounded in unqualified trust that He is also Adonai Ro'i, the LORD your Shepherd, the One who restores your soul, and that conviction provides the framework for apprehending the truth of Torah. A lost faith regards the events of life as random, based on "fortune," and blind chance; it no longer sees God's hand in the affairs of daily life, but consigns the Divine Presence to a place of functional exile. For this the "like for like" judgment is given: as you regard your life as the product of random forces, so you will be unable to discern God's hand in your daily life.

We trust that "all things work together for good" (Rom. 8:28) and therefore we bless God for perceived evil as well as for perceived good, since all circumstances of life come from the hand of the LORD our God. We believe in an all-powerful, supreme LORD who has not abandoned the world, but who actively sustains and upholds it with benevolent intent. When difficult things happen to the righteous, we trust in God's personal care for their ultimate good, despite their present troubles. "Though he slay me, I will trust in Him" (Job 13:15). What's perhaps most heroic about Job is that he never turned away from hope, despite the crucifixion of his world. As Kierkegaard said, "The moment the LORD took everything away, he did not say, 'The LORD took away,' but first of all he said, 'The LORD gave..." (Upbuilding Discourses).  This is the heart behind the Kaddish, the mourner's prayer, that expresses acceptance of God's world, despite the pain, sorrow, loss, and so on.

Therefore may God "teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom" (Psalm 90:12). The sages say on the day of death, one considers one's life as if it had been a single day... Life goes by so quickly, and we never know when our personal "Rosh Hashanah" will come. "No one knows the day or hour..." That's why it is so vital to be healed and to turn to God while there is still time. So turn to him today and bacharta ba'chayim – "choose life!" "For this commandment (of turning to God in faith) is not hidden from you, and it is not far away. It is not in heaven... nor across the sea.... Rather, the matter is very near you – in your mouth and your heart – to do it" (Deut. 30:11-14; Rom. 10:8-13).

Hebrew-English Transliteration:

Hebrew Transliteration

linot yameinu yameinu ken hoda ve'navi levav chokhmah

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