Wisdom in an Age of Distraction

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein  |  October 3, 2018

Person in a white robe looking at a mountain.

Dear Friend of Israel,

We live in an age of noise and distraction. Our TVs, computers, and smartphones pull our attention in a thousand directions at once. We’re bombarded daily with stories and images that seek – that seem to demand – our immediate attention, whether or not they are worthy of attention.

We have at our fingertips more information than any human beings in recorded history. But information does not necessarily bring us closer to true wisdom. In fact, with so many things – from the vitally important to the wholly frivolous – competing for our attention, it is perhaps easier than ever for us to lose sight of the things that truly matter.

Where is true wisdom to be found? The Bible is clear: “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:6). Thus, true wisdom comes from prayer, reading Scripture, and quiet reflection. It means being silent, and listening for God’s word to us.

Of course, this does not mean withdrawing from our worldly obligations. We have responsibilities to ourselves, to those who depend on us, and to our neighbors to act as forces for good in the world.

But private moments of prayer and reflection lay the foundation for our outward action. It is through cultivating our prayer life, through reaching out to God for wisdom and guidance, that we prepare ourselves to face the challenges that confront us, and threaten to confound us, every day.

Freed from distractions – even if only for short periods of time – we remember that God is both our ultimate defender and protector, and our ultimate source of wisdom. Prayer and Scripture remind us that we live in His world, that He goes ahead of us in our challenges, and that we are objects of His affection and care.

Yes, it can be difficult to sort through the deluge of information we face every day. But if we put down our smartphones and walk away from our computers, and pick up our Bibles and kneel in earnest prayer to God, we might just find it easier to hear the words of wisdom and understanding that come to us from Him – and to remember the things that truly matter.

With prayers for shalom, peace,

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President