145. What Is Will Give Wisdom Specifically to the Wise
“Will give wisdom to the wise.” He asked, “But it should have said, ‘Will give wisdom to the fools?’”
And he said, “It is known that there is no coercion in spirituality.” Rather, everyone is given according to one’s own will. The reason is that spirituality is the source of life and pleasure. So how can there be coercion in a good thing? Hence, if we see that when we engage in Torah and Mitzvot coercively, we have to overcome the body, since it does not agree. This is because it does not feel pleasure in this work. And this must be because it does not feel the spirituality in them, as we have said, that spirituality is the source of life and pleasure, as it is written in the Holy Zohar, “Where there is labor, there is Sitra Achra.”
This is the reason that only wise can be given wisdom, since fools have no need for wisdom. Rather, only wise can be given wisdom because of their nature. This means that one who is wise loves wisdom, and this is his only wish! And following the rule, “there are no preventions before a desire,” he makes every effort to obtain wisdom. Hence, at last he will be awarded wisdom. Therefore, one who loves wisdom can be called “wise,” after his end.
But it is written of fools, “A fool hath no delight in understanding.” The verse, “will give wisdom to the wise” comes to tell us that one who loves wisdom will not be impressed by not having obtained wisdom despite the great efforts he has made. Rather, he will continue with his work and he will certainly achieve wisdom, since he loves wisdom. This is why they say, “Go by this path and you are certain to succeed.”
However, we must understand, what can one do if by nature, “a wild ass’s colt is born a man”? Whence will he take the desire to crave wisdom?
For this, we are given the advice to work by way of “that fulfill His word,” and the adornment, “hearkening unto the voice of His word.” This means that one does things to obtain the thing which one wants. Hence, here, when he has no desire for wisdom, it means that the thing he lacks is the desire for wisdom. For this reason he begins to exert and take actions to obtain the desire for wisdom, as this is the only thing that he needs.
And the order is that one should exert in the Torah and the work although he has no desire for it. This is called “labor.” This means that one does things even though he has no desire for the thing he does. It is as our sages said, “whatsoever thy hand attaineth to do by thy strength, that do.” And by the virtue of exerting, a desire and craving for wisdom will be made within him.
And then the verse, “will give wisdom to the wise” will become true for him, and he will be rewarded with “hearkening unto the voice of His word.” Thus, that which was previously by way of doing, an act without a will, he has been awarded a desire for it.
Therefore, if we want to know who loves wisdom, we need to look at those who strain for wisdom, even though they have not yet been rewarded with being among those who love wisdom. The reason is, as we have said, that through the effort, they will be awarded being among those who love wisdom.
And afterwards, after they have a desire for wisdom, they will be awarded wisdom. Thus, the desire for the wisdom is the Kli, and the wisdom is the Light. And this the meaning of “there is no coercion in spirituality.”
The Light of Wisdom means the Light of life. Wisdom is not perceived by us as an intellectual concept, but as the actual life, the essence of life, to the extent that without it, one is considered dead. (Hence, we can say that for this reason wisdom is called Haya (alive).)