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WISE OR FOOLISH?


The opposite of wise is foolish. We use these words frequently to describe people and their behaviour. Yet what do these words really mean. As I drove my kids to school this morning, I asked them this question. After five minutes we arrived at a consensus. A fool is someone who does not have clear sight of the consequences of his or her actions. This thought is in fact clearly expressed by our Sages who ask, “Who is Wise? They respond, “One who sees the future”. In other words it’s not just about being aware of the future, but about “seeing” it too. We go through life constantly having to make decisions. Many of them that are pretty tough and sometimes hugely consequential. In times like this we are desperate for some guidance. In this week’s Torah reading regarding the laws of “Sotah” – an extensive process used to ascertain and hopefully dispel any suspicions of marital infidelity - our sages comment, “No man sins unless overcome by a spirit of folly”. In other words a moment of insanity enters our mind which clouds our ability to see clearly the consequences of our actions. The lesson in our lives is clear. Before we make any decisions in our lives we should ask ourselves two questions: One: Do I have clear sight of the consequences of my actions? Two: Will I live to regret them? Wise? Foolish? The choice is ours.

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