SHEMA: A Listening Heart

Give your servant, therefore, a listening heart to judge your people and to distinguish between good and evil. For who is able to give judgment for this vast people of yours?”

1 Kings 3:9

The Wisdom of Solomon has become something of legend. While it’s easy to get lost in the lore surrounding the Wise King I feel it’s important to highlight where his reign begins. He didn’t set out to build a great empire or become an archetype for future Magi to study. The first thing Solomon did was ask God for a listening heart capable of leading his people.

Listening to God has become a cornerstone of Judaism. The fact that Solomon begins his reign by asking God for a willingness to hear God cannot be overemphasized.

The Shema Prayer may be one of the most recognizable prayers we know of today. The declaration of Deuteronomy 6:4: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God; the Lord is one.” has become such an integral part of Jewish dedication that it’s one of the first things taught to children. The Shema is less prayer and more of an affirmation that God is the only thing there is in existence. It’s recited morning and night the world over to this day. We’re talking 3,000 plus years of emphasis on listening to God and observing God is the All.

A lot has been said in regards to the Unity of God up to this point but I want to turn your attention to the opening lines of Shema. Hear O’ Israel.” To hear God is to obey God and to obey God is to hear God. Solomon understood that to truly lead his people was to listen, understand, and judge from a lev shome’a- a listening heart. The heart being the seat of Divine Wisdom.

Right understanding relates to our human intellect being in line with the deeper Wisdom of the Divine. When we speak on humankind being created in the image and likeness of God we’re connecting Logos- logic and reason to Sophia- sound wisdom emanating from the Divine. It’s the oscillation of the Macrocosm on a microcosmic scale. We are the manifestation of Divine Union coming into being to experience life. It’s the wise who hear Christs instructions and take action that are building said manifestation on solid ground. No one builds their house on the rock of wisdom without the understanding of a listening heart.

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