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Shabbat Parashat Ki Tisa | 5769

The Intersection of the Intellect and Emotion

Ein Ayah

(based on Ein Ayah, Berachot 1:127)


Gemara: Rabbi Yochanan said in the name of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai: that which the pasuk says: “Her mouth opened with wisdom, and the teachings of kindness were on her tongue” - corresponding to whom did Shlomo say this? He said this specifically corresponding to his father, David, who lived in five “worlds” and said shira (sang) to Hashem: He lived in his mother’s stomach and said shira … He came out to this world and looked at the constellations and said shira … He nursed from his mother’s breasts and looked at them and said shira … He looked at the downfall of the wicked and said shira … He looked at the day of death and said shira …[For each idea a Biblical source is cited.]


Ein Ayah: There are two things that are needed for a person to reach shleimut (completeness): intellectual knowledge and emotion. The source of intellectual knowledge is empirical knowledge, acquired wisdom and experience, all of which have nothing in common with the feelings of the heart.

Emotion emanates from the power of imagination and the growth of the poetic side of the human spirit. When it senses the Divine loftiness, it can reach an ideal level of love of Hashem, may He be blessed.

Usually, these two wonderful powers interact in a not fully harmonious manner. When the intellect is preoccupied with gathering cold information to understand what and why everything is happening, the emotion is not aroused to yearn with the depth of pouring out the soul to the Holy and Elevated. Similarly, when the heart is excited with feelings of holiness, the power of rational intellectual judgment is not capable of functioning.

However, there are exceptional people who are able to reach shleimut in both of these powers. They can recognize the truth based on the intellect’s various elements and based on experience, and, specifically through this, they can develop the shleimut of feeling the grandeur of Hashem’s actions. This is the basis of the love of Hashem that comes from the wonderful recognition of His love and kindness.

It is in regard to this phenomenon that the pasuk of “Her mouth opened with wisdom” was said. The beginning [of the relationship with Hashem] always has to be with wisdom, with the ability to judge and with the rigor of arriving at true knowledge and the fruit of wisdom. The pasuk continues: “and the teachings of kindness were on her tongue,” referring to the emotions of Divine pleasantness and the emotions of holiness.

By whom did we find the strength of the accumulation of knowledge and recognition that actually brought on lofty emotions? It was David, the pleasant psalmist of Israel. He did not settle for basing his psalms on superficial feelings regarding things that are apparent from the first look. Rather, he lived in “five worlds,” contemplating with great wisdom about all of Hashem’s actions. He focused on the way He leads man, from the day of his birth up to and including the day of his death, until he becomes elevated to the goal of having an elevated human soul, which remains when the body dies. This type of emotion does not come from a simple natural emotional base, but can come about only after much work and deep knowledge. This is the connection between the study of kindness which is related to feeling and song, with the source of wisdom, to know and understand the calculations of the whole of Divine actions, which can serve as a basis of proper emotion.

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This edition of Hemdat Yamim is dedicated to the memory of

R ' Meir ben Yechezkel Shraga  Brachfeld



Hemdat Yamim is endowed by
Les & Ethel Sutker of Chicago, Illinois in loving memory of
Max and Mary Sutker

and Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l.



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