He (Rabbi Chanina ben Dosa) used to say:
Anyone whose good deeds exceed his wisdom, his wisdom will endure;
But anyone whose wisdom exceeds his good deeds, his wisdom will not endure.
This one makes a lot of sense when you think about it.
Whose sayings, whose words of wisdom are remembered?
In my family we remember the words of my grandmother who died at the age of 99 about 7 years ago. My grandmother finished grade school. She was widowed in her late 30’s with 5 young children. Somehow she managed to raise them to become: a priest, a nun, a theologian, a homemaker, and my dad – a professional in the Boy Scouts.
She went to mass every day. She couldn’t put money in the collection many Sundays so she spent all day on Wednesday baking cakes and cookies and making donuts for sale at bingo on Wednesday nights.
She was a good and holy person. She went way out of her way to be kind to others, to offer to help people in need – even though she and her family had little themselves. She changed people’s lives – for the better.
We remember her words and her sayings – about food, about meals, about holidays, about being kind, and more. Precisely because she was a good and holy woman, putting her religious life into practice, we remember many of her sayings.
Contrast her with another person – the kind we all know – who is full of knowledge but doesn’t really put it all into action. What they have to say may be correct – but we look at their lives, see that they themselves are not putting it into action, and we disregard it or discount it.
In life we are truly inspired by the way others act, not so much by the way others think.