June 21, 2011
“The fool says what he knows; the wise man knows what he says.” Rabbi Sincha Bunim of Pshiskha 18th-19th century
Facebook and blogs aside, I’m known by most as a rather private person. You won’t find me in the middle of a cadre surrounded by onlookers waiting with bated breath for the next account of my latest weekend revelries, or spreading the details about or sharing my opinion of the latest headline or workplace drama of the day. Likewise, my husband’s modus operandi has always been to take in much more information than he gives out. That enigma factor was one of the traits that initially attracted me to him. The wisdom exhibited in him keeping back a little of himself for later discovery, is the same wisdom which he exhibits in his daily life when he consistently checks his facts, stays ahead of the curve in his career, and speaks only with total evidence supported confidence regarding whatever he happens to be speaking about.
I remember a conversation I had years ago with someone regarding beautiful bodies, booming personalities, and vacuous minds, about people who say a whole lot of nothing as opposed to people who may seem reticent but who actually mean what they say and whose words have authentic meaning.
The fool blurts it out, without considering. The wise man/woman considers first and then may or may not share immediately or ever. After all, knowledge/information is power. Those who are in the know, have the power. The fool loses at quick response games with the same frequency with which they win. The wise man/woman trods more slowly and surely, but excels in the end.
Do the Rabbi’s words impart the same meaning today that they did 200 years ago? I would say yes. Like every human since the beginning of time, we are advised to think before we speak, and consider whether our vocalization will simply fill a void or be an illumination, a positive fire-starter, or have some other kind of positive effect on those within earshot.
Peace, Love, and Wisdom