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Asking God for intelligence

    The 13 middle blessings of the Amidah begin with a request for wisdom: "Grant us from Yourself knowledge, understanding and perception."

    Why did the rabbis choose the provocative phrase of "grant us from Yourself"? What do knowledge, understanding and perception - references to multiple forms of intelligence - from God look like?

    Perhaps the rabbis were alluding to the idea that when we think and create, we tap into what makes us "made in the image of God" (Genesis 1:28). When we look at intelligence that way, it reminds us to try to use it for noble purposes. Seeing intelligence as something we can pray to improve is not how most of us think of our mental abilities. It can be liberating to think that through humility and recognising our limitations, we can open up to a higher wisdom.

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