Friday, December 31, 2010

Knowledge v. Wisdom

Congratulations to our friend Eric Swergold who is going solo as of January 1, 2011 in a new venture called Firestorm Capital. There's nothing harder, nor more rewarding, than "hanging out your shingle". More on this topic next week.

This week, an anecdote, 2 questions, and a story.

The anecdote:

One reader of last week's blog complained that the question, "Is this weekly Table Talk worth a nickel?" wouldn't really go over well at their Friday night dinner table, as not everyone there reads it.

I pointed out that they should consider last week like pledge week on NPR - you know, diminished content in order to remind you to send in your nickel.

Well, thank you to everyone who contributed a nickel (or more) to our non-profit mission, which is described here. Total Table Talk contributions for the end-of-the-year have reached nearly $2,000. Your generosity is quite literally making this and other programs possible.

Look at these two emails we received recently, the first is from someone less connected:

The Art of Amazement has resonated very well with me as its contents are directed at a number of principles I have already sought to incorporate into my life, and by citing Judaism as one of the greatest ways of achieving these goals it does a great deal to ease my hesitation in becoming a more connected Jew.

The second comes from someone who describes herself as "religious":

My friend and I were searching for a meaningful book on prayer. Your book "The Art of Kavanah" opened our eyes to the spiritual potential of our Judaism - the very spiritually that had pulled us into the fold, but gotten lost on ritual and rote.

Thank you for your publishing and your work in this area, your books have forever changed our relationship with Hashem.

(If you still want to put your nickel in the pushkeh (that's Yiddish for collection box), click here.)

Also, thank you to everyone who completed the 2-minute annual Table Talk reader survey, which is extremely helpful to us in creating this and other services. You can still find it here.

This reader's question (above) prompted me to wonder about the following question...

Question 1What's the difference between knowledge and wisdom?

Try asking that at the table, and see what people say.

It seems to me that knowledge is information and wisdom is the ability to process information and make decisions.

What's interesting is that most people are willing to pay for knowledge but fewer seem willing to pay for wisdom.

For example, people will pay a lot of money to learn how to make money. But every year I find that only a minority will contribute a nickel a week to learn how to live a meaningful life.

This observation leads to...

Question 2 - Why is that?

(I have two theories, but would like to hear yours.)

Shabbat Shalom

...with blessings for a happy, healthy and fruitful 2011!

PS... we are now putting an amazing-video-of-the-week on our homepage - you'll love this one!

PPS - I'm sure I mentioned my new iphone/ipod/ipad app, right?

The goal of this blog is to give you a conversation-starter for your Friday night dinner table. Please print and share.

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