9 Grant, then, Your servant an understanding mind to judge Your people, to distinguish between good and bad; for who can judge this vast people of Yours?”
v’-na-ta-TA l’-av-d’-KHA LAYV sho-MAY-a lish-POT et a-m’-KHA l’-ha-VEEN bayn TOV l’-RA KEE MEE yu-KHAL lish-POT et a-m’-KHA ha-ka-VAYD ha-ZEH
ט וְנָתַתָּ לְעַבְדְּךָ לֵב שֹׁמֵעַ לִשְׁפֹּט אֶת־עַמְּךָ לְהָבִין בֵּין־טוֹב לְרָע כִּי מִי יוּכַל לִשְׁפֹּט אֶת־עַמְּךָ הַכָּבֵד הַזֶּה׃
3:9 Grant, then, Your servant an understanding mind to judge Your people
King Shlomo attains prophecy and Hashem asks him what he desires. Though he could have sought riches or long life, he asks for “an understanding mind” so that he can properly judge the Children of Israel. According to Jewish tradition, King Shlomo becomes the wisest of all men and masters all subjects and languages, even those of the animals (I Kings 5:9-14). He also demonstrates deep understanding of human beings, as demonstrated by the well-known case, described in this chapter, where he correctly discerns who is the true mother of a disputed baby. The People of Israel rejoice in their king’s wisdom, and thus unite behind him (see 4:1). This is King Shlomo’s reward for asking Hashem for something that would not only help him, but would bring benefit to the nation and the entire world. Going beyond one’s individual needs to serve the nation is one of the signs of a true leader.