What is Wisdom? Part II

Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim

 Reader: In your recent essay you write, "Alexander asked the sages, ‘Who is wise?’ The sages replied, ‘One who anticipates the outcome of his acts’ (Avos 2:9)” (Tamid 32a). I would like to add that Ben Zoma said: "Who is wise? He who learns from all men,” as it is written (Psalm 119:99) “I have gained understanding from all my teachers.” Thus, Maimonides was correct when he said, "the truth is the truth no matter what its source." Thank you for another thought-provoking essay.

Rabbi: I would elaborate that “learning from all men” is not a practicality, as there are certainly some people from whom nothing is to be learned. 

“Learning from all men” refers to the will to learn from anyone. Meaning, one does not follow ego emotions initially discounting another human being from offering knowledge. The praise here is of a person who seeks wisdom, and his ego does not play any role. He can accept criticism and education from anyone. He will become a wise person.