Pekudei 2006

In this week’s Parsha, the Torah describes to us the construction of the Tabernacle. The Jews were instructed that every “chacham lev” – every person wise in the heart, should “come and do everything that Hashem has commanded”. The expression “chacham lev”, - wise in the heart, begs for explanation. Usually we ascribe wisdom to the head. Why does the Torah refer to the wisdom of the heart?

The Torah is teaching us a very great lesson with these few words. A person can be very wise in their head, very great in intellectual knowledge, yet still be on a very low level. For example, Bilam, the evil prophet, was certainly a person with great intellectual strengths. There is no question that in understanding, he stood at a much higher level than many of us. Yet, when it came to his relationship with Hashem, or even just to basic ethical values, he fell to the lowest levels imaginable. How could this be? Could someone know so much, yet stoop to such low levels?

The answer is- yes!! If someone has a storage house full of medicine, but doesn’t take it when it is needed, of what value is it? How can it help? This is the challenge that faces all of us. It is a beautiful thing to understand a little more, to be able to comprehend Hashem’s Torah and His directives for us in life. But this comes with a responsibility; knowledge must translate into action! If we are blessed to know a little more, to understand a little better, then we must also act in a way that reflects this. Our behavior must be a little more refined, a little more elevated. This is what the Torah tells us regarding the people that were asked to help with the Tabernacle. Only people who were wise in the heart, not in the head, could be the ones to do “everything that Hashem has commanded”.

This is the responsibility that lies upon each of us; it’s not enough to be a good person in the head. We’ve got to learn to be a good person in the heart. With that we can hope to truly do everything that Hashem has commanded” – all that we are really expected to do.