Thursday, December 15, 2005

A Mixed Blessing, A Brilliant Insight

The material covered by one of my classes' Tanakh final this just-ended semester includes that section of Melakhim part 1 that discusses the reign of Shelomo, King of the United Kingdom [of Israel, duh, not that other 'United Kingdom'!].

One of the choices for a short essay question on the final was:
Was שלמה actually the wisest man who ever lived?


One of my students (pseudonym: Norachuga) wrote an essay that I really liked a lot. It was informative and creative, and brought a new viewpoint to the issue which I hadn't encountered before.
(all emphasis is editorial)

King Solomon did many wise and good things. He was visited by God twice, he built God a house on Earth, and he (with the help of some people) brought up the Ark of the covenant of the Lord. He also built a royal palace and could even claim that he had been given the gift of wisdom from God. Solomon, however, did not get the characteristic of foolishness taken away and a person can be both very very wise, but not wise enough to make grave mistakes.

On the surface, Solomon seems almost perfect, when the woman [Queen of Shebha’] came to question him and see for herself all that she had heard about his knowledge, she was impressed but no one expected him to force labor upon his people and to love foreign women. His wisdom must have fooled everyone because no one expected him to begin worshipping idols either. Solomon reigned for 40 years, so he must have been pretty good, but he was most definitely not the wisest man who ever lived because the wisest man would not have made some of the choices that he did.

What a brilliant idea! Just because Shelomo was blessed with wisdom, it doesn't mean that his foolishness was taken away! We see this a lot in the world, otherwise genious people making seemingly simple mistakes, and I think "Norachuga" has a great way to look at such situations.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems to me that, in the least favorite of the haftarot that I chant, Terumah (I can't check my Chumash, since I'm not at home), Shlomo practically makes slaves of his own people, subjecting them to involuntary labor in the contruction of the Bet HaMikdash. .) Talk about unfair labor practices . . .

Steg, this is your weekly Radio Reminder: Don't forget to listen to Fudge on WYUR.org tonight at 7 PM.

Ms. At-The-Office

12/15/2005 5:25 PM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

Stegosaurus (AKA "Thesaurus"), do your students know that you are putting their essays online?

12/15/2005 5:31 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Ms. At-The-Office:

thanks for the reminder!

Also, notice that Yarov‘am ben Nevat, even before he gets picked by Ahhiya Hashiloni to lead the Secession of the North, rebels against the Davidic Dynasty when he is put in charge of the exploitation of his own Northern brethren (the tribe of Yehuda is not taxed...).

Mar Gabirol:

Not online specificly, but i asked "Norachuga" if she minded whether i showed her essay to other people or not. She said it'd be fine.

12/15/2005 6:03 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

...And Fudge's radio show is canceled. But they only inform us after 20 minutes of random music waiting to hear her radio-y voice. Bleah.
Hopefully everything's alright by her.

12/15/2005 7:23 PM  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Bummer. The response I got on the IM was "perel didn't come in tonight." I'm hoping it's only for this week, and that it's only the slippery sidewalks that kept her downtown.

12/15/2005 8:29 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

It turns out she had a gig!

See the comments here

12/15/2005 8:33 PM  
Blogger GoldaLeah said...

Remind me what age group you're teaching...?

12/16/2005 5:22 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

high school

12/17/2005 7:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sharp kid

12/28/2005 12:29 PM  
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