Reflection for Today ▶️ ⏩ ⏹️
Topol as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, 1971
So king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom. And all the earth sought to Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart.
— 1 Kings 10:23-24
These two short verses follow a long description of the sheer, unequalled wealth of Solomon which left everyone, including the queen of Sheba, in awe of him.1 With a house that outshone even God's temple in opulence, with every vessel therein made of gold, a throne of ivory overlaid with gold and guarded by lions, an army with shields of beaten gold, and a regular supply of gold, silver, ivory, apes and peacocks delivered by his own private navy none surpassed Solomon in wealth. Of course he was the wisest person alive! Who could ever assume otherwise?
I am reminded of Tevye in 'Fiddler on the Roof' singing,
The most important men in town would come to fawn on me!
They would ask me to advise them,
Like a Solomon the Wise.
'If you please, Reb Tevye...'
'Pardon me, Reb Tevye...'
Posing problems that would cross a rabbi's eyes!
And it won't make one bit of difference if I answer right or wrong.
When you're rich, they think you really know! 2
1 1 Kings 10:1-22
2 'If I Were a Rich Man', written by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, 1964
music This version sung by Topol as Tevye, from the 1971 film of 'Fiddler on the Roof'