One Dance: Multiple Intellengence

Shemini, this week’s Torah portion, starts on the eighth day, following the seven days of their inauguration of the Tabernacle. Connected to this theme we see in the Haftarah the image of King David dancing and whirled with all his might as they brought the Ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the City of David to inaugurate its new location. While he was rejoicing his wife Michal was disgusted by what she perceived to be David’s completely demeaning to the office of the King.

There we read:

David went home to greet his household. And Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet David and said, “Didn’t the king of Israel do himself honor today — exposing himself today in the sight of the slavegirls of his subjects, as one of the riffraff might expose himself!” David answered Michal, “It was before the Lord who chose me instead of your father and all his family and appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel! I will dance before the Lord and dishonor myself even more, and be low in my own esteem; but among the slavegirls that you speak of I will be honored.” ( II Samuel  6:20-22)
Michal was discussed with David and claims that he embarrassed himself. In return David lashed out at her rubbing her father’s down fall in her face. At the core of their disagreement is a discussion as to what is the proper conduct.
I cannot stop thinking that Michal and David’s dispute was rooted in their having dramatically different ways of experiencing the world. Did Michal and David have different Intelligences? First proposed by Howard Gardner  in his 1983 book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, he wrote that there are different modalities that people take in the world. Over time Gardner’s list of  different modalities grew to include:
  1. Musical-rhythmic and harmonic
  2. Visual-spatial
  3. Verbal-linguistic
  4. Logical-mathematical
  5. Bodily-kinesthetic
  6. Interpersonal
  7. Intrapersonal
  8. Naturalistic 
  9. Existential 
Is it possible to imagine that David had Musical-rhythmic and harmonic and Bodily-kinesthetic intelligences while Michal had Interpersonal intelligence? Why is so hard for us to empathize with people with different intelligences?
Realizing this I thought if we better understood the different modalities we might get along better. Maybe if Michal and David understood this they could not have had this fight. Check out this new resource called How we Learn and Make Meaning  that I developed on understanding the Multiple Intelligences with some Jewish context.

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