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Sukkat Shalom B'nei Noach



Develop yourself to the best of your ability

Psalm 119:99 מִכׇּל-מְלַמְּדַ֥י הִשְׂכַּ֑לְתִּי כִּ֥י עֵ֝דְוֺתֶ֗יךָ שִׂ֣יחָה לִֽי׃

I have gained more insight than all my teachers,
for Your decrees are my study.

Can be interpreted in different ways.

  1. I learned more than my secular teachers. They learned science and knowledge from people, but real knowledge and wisdom can only be found in the Torah.

2. But of course, the verse can also speak of teachers who teach Torah. You can learn something from all your teachers. One will specialize more in Ethic, another in Halacha, another in ….We can learn from all these Torah observant teachers, increasing our broad knowledge. David had a wisdom beyond all his teachers because he was not “specialized” in 1 part, but in the whole.

3. Ben Zoma [1] draws this thought even further. Not only can you learn from all your teachers, but you can learn from all people.

A person becomes wise when he or she realizes that everything in his life – and thus his interaction with people- are opportunity’s to learn something. Everyone we know (yes, everyone) can teach us something. Not just learning by what someone says, but by how they walk, how they dress, what they do. So you can learn from the whole person.

A great assignment I took on this week was to write down at the end of the day from some people what I had learned from them.

This was a great assignment[2] because it made me focused on the positive attributes, actions and words of others.

Some good points I want to share here:

  • Approach people with a smile
  • Take time for conversation, even if you’re busy inside
  • Stay calm, what doesn’t get done today will get done tomorrow
  • A problem is often caused by wrong assumptions
  • Persevere, even if you do not know which steps to take for a good result
  • Nature overrides artificiality
  • Modesty radiates strength

May we all learn from all and thus improve our attributes so that they are more and more in accordance with G-d’s will. This will lead to greater understanding of Torah, which in turn will lead to better attributes. In this way, we develop an upward spiral.

By Angelique Sijbolts


[1] Pirkei Avot 4:1
[2] Van Hoofd tot Hart p 34 by Alan Morinis

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