Inner Wisdom

Yael Eckstein  |  January 19, 2024

Man with wedding ring praying with his hands to his mouth

Then he taught me, and he said to me, 
  “Take hold of my words with all your heart; 
keep my commands, and you will live.” — Proverbs 4:4

We continue with devotional thoughts from the Book of Proverbs every Friday. One of the 11 books in the Torah known as the Ketuvim, Hebrew for “writings,” Proverbs is part of the “wisdom tradition,” which also includes Job and Ecclesiastes.

If you touch the place right between your nose and your upper lip, you might notice that the slight indentation there is the size of a fingertip. According to Jewish tradition, that is no coincidence. This is the place where an angel touched you right before you were born. 

We read in Proverbs, “Then he taught me, and he said to me,‘Take hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands, and you will live.’” According to the Talmud, this verse refers to the Jewish belief that when a fetus is inside the womb, an angel comes and gives that unborn child wisdom for a lifetime—including everything about God, life, and the entire Bible. Then, just before a baby is born, the angel places one finger over the baby’s lip and everything is forgotten.  

So what is the point of giving the unborn child all this wisdom if it is all forgotten? Just because something is forgotten, it is not gone. Just as the angel’s finger leaves a lasting indentation, the angel’s lessons leave a lasting impression. We are born with inner wisdom that will last for a lifetime.

Inner Wisdom

Think about it this way. When you forget where you put your car keys, eventually you will remember where you placed them because the information is still inside you. But it is impossible to remember where someone else put the keys because that you never had that information in the first place. Or, perhaps you’ve had the experience of forgetting how to get to a place you have been before, but you know that when you see the right roads, you will remember where you need to go.

Not all that is forgotten is meaningless. The angel’s teachings are a gift from God that can guide us throughout our lives. At times, we are able to connect with our inner wisdom and that valuable insight can inform our decisions.

At other times, we are able to recognize truth when we see it, because we have seen it once before. And at all times, we have all the answers we’ll ever need inside of us; we need only to connect with our inner wisdom.

Your Turn:

Start the New Year off right by helping you and your family learn how to set priorities. Download a sample lesson from my family-friendly guide, the Generation to Generation Workbook, the companion piece to my book, Generation to Generation: Passing on a Legacy of Faith to Our Children.