Kosher Bookworm

Applying some of Solomon’s wisdom to our lives


In Bible study, teachings of morality often take a back seat to the teachings of law, custom and history. The book being brought to your attention this week explores morality in the context of our religious traditions.

Rabbi Marc Angel’s work, “The Wisdom of Solomon and Us: The Quest for Meaning, Morality and a Deeper Relationship with God” (Jewish Lights Publishing, 2016), singles out the teachings of King Solomon as found in Kohelet, Mishlei, and Shir Hashirim, and places them atop a theological pedestal; these teachings are not prayers, historical narratives nor guides to ritual law.

This work answers the following questions:

•What is life’s meaning and mission?

•How can we help foster a viable society based upon truth, and morality?

•How do we achieve a true soul-searching and productive relationship with G-d?

Rabbi Angel’s book deals with each morality-based issue in a user-friendly style absent a pomposity of theological verbiage. Its subtitle says it all and faithfully follows up upon each theme with practical teachings.

Rabbi Angel has selected verses from each of these three biblical works that are reflective of the great wisdom of Solomon. Each is explained and taught in the form of short written essays which effectively apply Solomon’s ancient teachings to our modern life’s experiences.

The section on Kohelet deals with basic issues that confront all of us. What is life’s meaning and mission? What is our significance in the vastness of space and the eternity of time? 

The section on Mishlei relates to wisdom and ethics: How can we help maintain a healthy society that is imbued with truth, compassion and moral courage?

And, finally, the section on Shir Hashirim considers how we can seek a genuine, soul-satisfying relationship with the Almighty.

Rabbi Angel effectively draws on a wide array of sources from classic Jewish texts as well as from world literature, psychology, history, philosophy, business and more. He demonstrates how the ancient wisdom in the teachings of Solomon is relevant and meaningful today.

Previously published in 2016.