The Norman Transcript


January 3, 2014

Ecclesiastes 1:18 says: ‘For in much wisdom is much grief, and he that increases knowledge increases sorrow.’ What does this mean?


A ‘knowing angst’

Rabbi Avi Weinstein, Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy, Overland Park, Kan.: In Jewish tradition, King Solomon is the author of Ecclesiastes, and nobody’s wisdom is more heralded than that of Solomon.

Stunning, isn’t it, that he would be dismissive of the gift for which he has received so much acclaim. What is it about wisdom that brings grief and sorrow?

An ancient rabbinic commentator, Rabbi Shmuel Bar Yitzchak, offered the following analogy: “Two people walk into a restaurant. One eats bread from unrefined flour, while the other eats bread that is from flour finely sifted with oil, meat and fine wine. The former feels no ill effects from his food, while the latter gets seriously ill.”

Intellectual inquiry as an end to itself is the most frustrating of activities. The more one explores, the more questions arise, and it often feels that no progress is being made. A simple idea, all of a sudden, is not so simple, and one is left with more questions than answers.

While the person is eating, he gains much pleasure from “knowing,” but at the same time it will certainly challenge matters that he believes to be true. It might even shake the entire foundation of what he may believe.

Turn to meditation

Lama Chuck Stanford, Rime Buddhist Center, Kansas City, Mo.: The Buddha had much to say about the causes of grief or suffering in this world, how life is characterized by suffering: namely birth, old age, sickness and eventually death. Because everything in this phenomenal world is impermanent. Nothing lasts.

All beings desire happiness, safety, peace and comfort. We desire what is satisfying, pleasurable, joyful and permanent. The nature of existence is impermanent, always changing and therefore incapable of fully satisfying our desire. Inevitably, we experience frustration, anger, loss, unhappiness and dissatisfaction.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Hnsen Luger Kate Hansen still riding the Olympic cloud

    Not many people can say they actually accomplished their lifetime dreams. Even less can say they did it before turning 22....

    March 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Conference set

    Following a diocesan-sponsored national conference on violence, “Reclaiming the Gospel of Peace,” the Episcopal Church Women of St. John’s Norman will host an Oklahoma diocesan-wide women’s conference and Bishop’s day on April 25-26....

    April 18, 2014

  • Muslim group urges re-education

    LOS ANGELES — Seeking a way to prevent violence like last year’s deadly Boston Marathon bombing, an Islamic advocacy group Monday announced a plan aimed at helping U.S. mosques identify and re-educate radicals....

    April 18, 2014

  • This is ... Friday ...

    It’s Good Friday. Good Friday? What could possibly be “good” about Good Friday? Think about it … this is the day in which the Lord Jesus was beaten and crucified. He hung on a cross between two thieves. Abandoned, betrayed and denied, by ...

    April 17, 2014

  • Why do we always test God?

    ‘Do not put the Lord God to the test,’ Jesus said, but don’t we do this all the time? Human nature The Rev. Holly McKissick, Peace Christian Church UCC: It’s human nature: testing the limits of God’s peaceful creation....

    April 17, 2014

  • Girl told not to say prayer

    OVIEDO, Fla. — The 5-year-old who said she was told not to pray over her lunch visited the school Monday and identified the staffer in a line-up, her family’s lawyer said....

    April 11, 2014

  • CrossPointe chooses Butler as lead pastor

    One of Norman’s largest churches has chosen a new lead pastor for its congregation. Mike Butler, 38, was voted lead pastor by the congregation of CrossPointe Church on March 23. Butler succeeds Glenn Quirk, who served as lead pastor for ...

    April 11, 2014

  • A divine drama

    All of us love drama. We experience drama in many ways. We watch a play on a stage or a show on TV. We have lives filled with drama every day through interactions with other people....

    April 11, 2014

  • What should we think of original sin?

    The Rev. Joe Nassal, Precious Blood Center: Watching the evening news recently, there was one disaster story after another, from the Malaysian airline that disappeared to the mudslide where one minute people are going about their daily ...

    April 11, 2014

  • Lenten lunch set

    The next Norman Ministerial Fellowship Lenten lunch will be Wednesday at NorthHaven Church, 4600 36th Ave. NW. Guest pastor will be the Rev. Joseph Summerville, University Lutheran Church. The sermon theme will be “The Thursday of Holy ...

    April 4, 2014