Chokhmah (חָכְמָה, ISO 259 ḥoḵma) is the Biblical Hebrew word rendered as "wisdom" (LXX σοφία sophia, Vulgate sapientia).

The word occurs 149 times in the Masoretic text of the Hebrew Bible. The Talmud (Shabbat 31a) describes knowledge of the Talmudic order of Kodshim as a high level of wisdom, chokhmah.

It is cognate with the Arabic word for "wisdom", ḥikma حكمة (Semitic root ḥ-k-m). Adjectival ḥaḵam "wise" is used as a honorific, as in Talmid Chacham (lit. "student of a sage") for a Torah scholar, or hakham Bashi for a chief rabbi.

In the Kabbalah, Chokhmah is the uppermost of the sephirot of the right line (kav yamin, the "Pillar of Mercy") in the Tree of Life. It is to the bottom right of Keter, with Binah across from it. Under it are the sephirot of Chesed and Netzach. It commonly has four paths going to Keter, Binah, Tifereth, and Chesed. (Some kabbalists attribute a path between Chokhmah and Gevurah.)

Proverbs personifies Divine Wisdom, which existed before the world was made, revealed God, and acted as God's agent in creation (Prov 8:22–31 cf. 3:19; Wisdom 8:4-6; Sir 1:4,9). Wisdom dwelt with God (Prov 8:22–31; cf. Sir 24:4; Wisdom 9:9-10) and being the exclusive property of God was as such inaccessible to human beings (Job 28:12–13, 20–1, 23–27). It was God who "found" wisdom (Bar 3:29-37) and gave her to Israel: "He hath found out all the way of knowledge, and hath given it unto Jacob his servant, and to Israel his beloved. Afterward did he shew himself upon earth, and conversed with men." (Bar 3:36-37; Sir 24:1-12). As a female figure (Sir. 1:15; Wis. 7:12), wisdom addressed human beings (Prov. 1:20–33; 8:1–9:6) inviting to her feast those who are not yet wise (Prov. 9:1-6). Wisdom 7:22b-8:1 is a famous passage describing Divine Wisdom, including the passage: "For she is the breath of the power of God, and a pure influence flowing from the glory of the Almighty: therefore can no defiled thing fall into her. For she is the brightness of the everlasting light, the unspotted mirror of the power of God, and the image of his goodness. And being but one, she can do all things: and remaining in herself, she maketh all things new: and in all ages entering into holy souls, she maketh them friends of God, and prophets." (Wisdom 7:25-27). Solomon, as the archetypal wise person, fell in love with Wisdom: "I loved her, and sought her out from my youth, I desired to make her my spouse, and I was a lover of her beauty." (Wisdom 8:2).

According to the Bahir: "The second (utterance) is wisdom, as is written: 'Y-H-W-H acquired me at the beginning of His way, before His deeds of old' (Prov 8:22). And there is no 'beginning' but wisdom."

This page was last edited on 22 May 2018, at 04:21 (UTC).
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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