Setting A Straight Course (Pirkei Avot, 2:7)

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The more advice, the more wisdom.

The ancients used to say, “Take advice and follow your own judgment.” Although this statement seems contradictory – in truth – it reveals a great secret.

A person who is asked to give advice cannot see the whole picture because he is viewing the problem from “the outside.” Whereas the person who actually has the problem is aware of “the inner details,” yet is too immersed in the situation to see the best solutions.

In light of this, the man seeking a solution lacks the objectivity to solve his problems. And although the advisor sees the problem objectively, he does not grasp the details of the surrounding issues.

Now we can understand the meaning of the saying, “Take advice and follow your own judgement.” Take advice from many advisors in order to gain insight from each one’s perspective. It is as if each one holds one piece of the puzzle. Once you see it clearly through their eyes, you can render the best decision for your situation.

Therefore, the Mishneh said, “The more advice, the more wisdom.” Meaning, in order to see a clear picture, we need to take counsel with many people. The composite opinion of each person will ultimately shed light towards a solution. When we consider their collective opinion through the eyes of our intimate grasp of the situation, we then have the capability to render a sound judgement. (based of the commentary of  Rav Chaim Voloshin)

Today: Seek counsel from a number of advisors until you achieve clarity.

Copyright © 2010 by Rabbi Zvi Miller and the Salant Foundation

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