Counsel

Whoever is wise is apt to suspect and be diffident of himself, and upon that account is willing to “hearken unto counsel”; whereas the foolish man, being in proportion to his folly full of himself, and swallowed up in conceit, will seldom take any counsel but his own, and for that very reason, because it is his own.

Misery and ignorance are always the cause of great evils. Misery is easily excited to anger, and ignorance soon yields to perfidious counsel.

Do not expect good counsel from a tyrant, or a wrong-doer, or a presumptuous man, or a deserter from honor.

The most learned men have told us that only the wise man is free. What is freedom but the ability to live as one will? The man who lives as he wills is none other than the one who strives for the right, who does his duty, who plans his life with forethought, and who obeys the laws because he knows it is good for him, and not out of fear. Everything he says, does, or thinks is spontaneous and free. His tasks and conduct begin and end in himself, because nothing has so much influence over him as his own counsel and decision. Even the supreme power of fortune is submissive to him. The wise poet has reminded us that fortune is molded for each man by the manner of his life. Only the wise man does nothing against his will, or with regret and by compulsion. Thought this truth deserves to be discussed at greater length, it is nevertheless proverbial that no one is free except the wise. Evil men are nothing but slaves.

It was a high counsel that I once heard given to a young person, "Always do what you are afraid to do."

The tongue of a fool is the key of his counsel, which, in a wise man, wisdom hath in keeping.

Prosperity and Vanity are often lodg'd together. Prosperity destroys Fools, endangers the Wise, Prosperity has every Thing cheap. Prosperity knows not the worth of Patience. Prosperity takes no Counsel, and fears no Calamity. Prosperous Men seldom mend their Faults.

To be free is not necessarily to be wise. Wisdom comes with counsel, with the frank and free confidence of untrammeled men united in the common interest.

From a note penned by Rabbi Schneur Zalman shortly before his passing: The truly humble soul recognizes that its mission in life lies in the pragmatic aspect of Torah, both in studying it for himself and explaining it to others; and in doing acts of material kindness by lending an empathizing mind and counsel from afar regarding household concerns, though the majority, if not all, of these concerns are things of falsehood. For the loftiest beginnings are rooted in the end.

All through my life the counsel to depend on prayer has been prized above almost any other advice I have ever received. It has become an integral part of me, an anchor, a constant source of strength and the basis of my knowledge of things divine.

The wisdom, teaching, and counsel of the Bible are not in conflict with the ultimate attainments of the human mind, but, rather, well ahead of our attitudes… Its aim is not to record history but rather to record the encounter of the divine and the human on the level of concrete living. Incomparably more important than all the beauty or wisdom that it bestows upon our lives is the way it opens to man an understanding of what God means, of attaining holiness through justice, through simplicity of soul, through choice. Above all it never ceases to proclaim that worship of God without justice to man is an abomination; that while man'’ problem is God, God’s problem is man.

ANTI-ZIONISTS, last of all, exhibit a distaste for certain words. It was Thomas Hobbes who, anticipating semantics, pointed out that words are counters, not coins; that the wise man looks through them to reality. This counsel many anti-Zionists seem to have neglected. They are especially disturbed by the two nouns nationalism and commonwealth, and by the adjective political. And yet these terms on examination are not at all upsetting. Jewish nationalism means no more than recognition of the peoplehood of Israel, and of the propriety of that people's being a religio-cultural group in America, a nationality in Eastern Europe, and in Palestine an actualized nation.

I have only one counsel for you - be master.

To counsel others, and to disregard one's own safety, is folly.

Books never pall me. They discourse with us, they take counsel with us, and are united to us by a certain living chatty familiarity. And not only does each book inspire the sense that it belongs to its readers, but it also suggests the name of others, and one begets the desire of the other.

Common sense (which, in truth, is very uncommon) is the best sense I know of: abide by it; it will counsel you best.

Hillel used to say: “A brutish man cannot fear sin; an ignorant man cannot be pious, nor can the shy man learn, or the impatient man teach. He who engages excessively in business cannot become wise. In a place where there are no men strive to be a man. Moreover he saw a skull floating on the surface of the water and he said unto it: Because you drowned others they drowned you; and those that drowned you will eventually be drowned… The more flesh the more worms; the more possessions the more anxiety; the more women the more witchcraft; the more maidservants the more lewdness, the more manservants the more theft. But the more Torah the more life, the more schooling the more wisdom; the more counsel the more understanding; the more righteousness the more peace. If a man has acquired a good name he has gained something which enriches himself; but if he has acquired words of the Torah he has attained afterlife.”

Most people who are frustrated with their work can find help in a pragmatic solution - more pay, more flexible hours, or a nicer boss who recognizes their efforts. But many people also have philosophical and existential doubts that rack them. It's a deeper question for them, because they want to relate to their work on a deeper level. Nobody can tell you what you should do with your life. Therefore, counseling is a gentle art. When I counsel people who are in transition, I tell them, "You make good decisions by avoiding the misperceptions, fears, and fallacies that lead people to make bad decisions." And, "If you keep these misperceptions from clouding your perspective, your path to insight will be clear."

I shall spare myself neither care nor labor nor vigils for the salvation of souls. My hope is in Christ, who strengthens the weakest by His divine help; I can do all in Him who strengthened me! His power is infinite, and if I lean on Him it will be mine; His wisdom is infinite, and if I look to Him for counsel I shall not be deceived; His goodness is infinite, and if my trust is stayed on Him I shall not be abandoned. Hope unites me to my God and Him to me. Although I know I am not sufficient for the burden, my strength is in Him. For the salvation of others I must bear weariness, face dangers, suffer offences, confront storms, fight against evil. He is my Hope

I'm not trying to counsel any of you to do anything really special except dare to think. And to dare to go with the truth. And to dare to really love completely.