Skip To Content

‘The Feast of Wisdom’

At Gibeon the Eternal appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and the Divine said, “Ask, what shall I grant you?” – 1 Kings 3:5[:10-13??]

One midrash teaches that the holiday of Simchat Torah derives from the celebration of Solomon. In a dream, the Holy One asks Solomon his dearest wish. Solomon prays for wisdom, not wealth, knowing that wisdom will bring him all good things. His prayer is granted, so he makes a feast. So too, each year as we reread the Torah, we ask for new wisdom to come to us, and we celebrate it when it comes.

This legend hints that wisdom derives not only from the Torah but also from the earth. Solomon’s gift is not that he is a scholar, but that he can understand the language of birds and animals. As we celebrate the completion of the circle of Torah, we ask to be part of the greater circle of wisdom: the wisdom of life. In this way, we draw closer to all our fellow creatures. As the holiday season ends, we re-enter the world to learn what it can teach us.

This year, Simchat Torah is observed October 14. The above excerpt is drawn from Jill Hammer’s book “The Jewish Book of Days: A Companion for All Seasons,” which offers reflections, meditations and readings for each day of the year.

Reprinted from “The Jewish Book of Days: A Companion for all Seasons” (© 2006, by Jill Hammer, published by The Jewish Publication Society) with permission of the publisher.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.