In various places in tefillah, we speak of G-d as having or using his "wisdom" (E.g. in Asher Yatzar and in the Hame'ir La'aretz of Shacharit.)

To understand G-d, we try to attribute human-like characteristics. With man, "wisdom" or chachmah, as I understand (no pun, here) means the ability to discern useful from useless information and knowledge.

How are we to understand G-d's attribute of "wisdom" by comparison, if, indeed, we can compare?

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    I assume it means that the same way one with wisdom can arrange elements toward an ultimate goal, rather than a random mess; so too, we see the order in the universe/history arranged toward a higher purpose, as opposed to mere random chaos. Is that what you mean by "the ability to discern useful from useless information"?
    – Loewian
    Aug 15, 2019 at 4:07
  • In short, we don't. I'll try to come up with something more satisfying, though. Aug 15, 2019 at 15:30
  • Before we can answer that, do we have a different language for G-d's qualities? Unfortunately, it appears that we have only two extremities: either to accept that we don't and we're doomed to anthropomorphism; or admit that G-d and all his qualities are unknowable. I cannot see any possibility to reconcile the two.
    – Al Berko
    Aug 19, 2019 at 19:04
  • If it helps, in my understanding the difference between בינה and חכמה is that בינה (feminine side) is building insights on the existing knowledge, like one who's walking in the dark and tries to understand his environment by touching it piece by piece. But חכמה (masculine side) is seeing everything at once, like in daylight, seeing how everything makes a perfect sense. Think about a car - when you touch it it feels different - windows, hood, tires, and you try to figure out what it is, but in light, you gaze once and see the whole picture.
    – Al Berko
    Aug 19, 2019 at 19:14

1 Answer 1


The characteristics such as wisdom are like the ones found in the Bible. Because the Torah (as Rabbi Ishmael says, it [Torah] “speaks in the language people use,”). It follows that he Torah was written for (in) human language (understanding,) thus we should not take G-d’s emotions literally (G-d has no emotions). It follows that G-d does not really becomes angry when you miss the mark and make a sin. Yet G-d’s wisdom (or chachmah) cannot be compared. Think of our DNA. Someone had to be very intelligent to create that. “For your ways are not My ways,” says Hashem.

  • You keep writing the same mantra over and over for every question. That becomes boring. Please note that while your answers are OK for beginners they are obsolete for advanced learners.
    – Al Berko
    Aug 19, 2019 at 18:52
  • @AlBerko Maimonides' philosophy is not for beginners. It is highly advanced knowledge for people who think. It's philosophy.
    – Turk Hill
    Aug 19, 2019 at 19:31

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