An Understanding Heart
Last week’s Haftorah painfully reminds me of the problems we face on a daily basis.
King David had just died, and his young son, Solomon, is sitting on the throne, ruling a large and diverse Jewish nation. In a dream, God appears to Solomon and offers to grant him one wish (1 Kings 3).
Most young rulers might ask for a long life, fame, or power. Solomon was concerned that he might not be equipped to judge and guide the people properly at his young age. He asked for wisdom:
וְנָתַתָּ֨ לְעַבְדְּךָ֜ לֵ֤ב שֹׁמֵ֙עַ֙ לִשְׁפֹּ֣ט אֶֽת־עַמְּךָ֔ לְהָבִ֖ין בֵּֽין־ט֣וֹב לְרָ֑ע כִּ֣י מִ֤י יוּכַל֙ לִשְׁפֹּ֔ט אֶת־עַמְּךָ֥ הַכָּבֵ֖ד הַזֶּֽה׃
“Grant Your servant an understanding heart to be able to judge Your people, to distinguish between good and bad; for who can judge this vast people of Yours?”
God was impressed by Solomon’s request and blessed him with the most remarkable insight ever given to a human. Solomon’s wisdom was renowned; people and leaders worldwide would come to him to suckle from his brilliance.
We could use a Solomon nowadays! Our problems are so daunting.
How are we to handle the impasse with the hostages and the growing crisis in Gaza?
How do we deal with the rising tide of antisemitism?
How should America judge what happened on January 6, 2021, and what repercussions should there be?
How can we make our government more functional and our country more united?
How can we save our world from becoming overheated?
We could use a Solomon nowadays.
Nonetheless, I’m sure God’s offer applies to all of us. If we ask for an understanding heart to meet our daily challenges, we’ll surely receive insights we never imagined. We just need to ask with a purity of heart.
Hope springs eternal. Let’s ask that we, and our leaders and judges, receive that insight and guidance to lead our world in the best direction.