Chochmah – wisdom – as we all know, comes from the brain and not from the heart. One wonders then why the posuk says – wise at heart? The heart is the place for feelings and not wisdom. The place for wisdom is the head. Perhaps the answer is that the Torah is implying that the work must be done with heart. Just being wise is not enough.
” Hashem requires us to do things with heart.” One can be very smart and know how to do things just right, but if it’s not done with love, then it is not acceptable. We must do the Mitzvos with feeling, because we love to, because we feel like it, and not just because we must do them. The brain is like the engine which has all the parts to make it work. The heart is like the fuel that must be ignited to get the engine to work. Doing Mitzvos must be done with joy and happiness. One can only be joyful if you love doing it. However, if you’re doing it only because you have to, or just because your brain tells you that you are required to do so, then you are missing the main part. The brain must be injected with feeling and love which comes from the inner core of the heart. The more love and feeling we put into the Mitzvah, the greater the Mitzvah becomes. Even though many people can do the very same Mitzvah, the greater reward goes to the one who does it with more heart. Love is limitless, and so is the reward for a Mitzvah.
Doing Mitzvos without joy is missing the most important ingredient of the Mitzvah, You can’t do a Mitzvah with happiness unless you truly enjoy doing it. Enjoyment and happiness comes from the heart. All the Mitzvos must contain this most important ingredient.
The Gemorah in Brochos tells us that when the Romans were torturing Rabbi Akiva and scraping off his skin with iron scrapers, he was smiling. When his students asked him, “Rebbi, how can you be smiling happily at a time such as this? Don’t you feel the great pain?” His simple reply was, “All my life, I wished I could show my love for Hashem by giving up my entire life for Him. Now that this great moment has arrived shouldn’t I be happy?” His love for Hashem helped him overcome the terrible pain.
How did Rabbi Akiva reach such a high madregah? That’s because Rabbi Akiva never saw bad. Even in the worst situation he saw that its purpose must always be for the good. As he most eloquently expressed himself, “Everything Hashem does is for the good. It was like a doctor giving as injection. Sure it hurts, but it’s very beneficial.
The Gemorah in Shabbos says that the more beatings he received on account of his rebbe, the more he loved him. That’s because Rabbi Akiva understood its purpose. He knew that his rebbi was hitting him for his own good, and not because he didn’t like him. Certainly a student who could understand this would grow up to be a great person.
The reason why Rabbi Akiva was able to understand that everything Hashem did for him was always for his own good was because he served Hashem with true love. He really loved Hashem with all his heart. It wasn’t just make-believe, just saying it without any meaning. If someone realizes that Hashem truly loves him, then of course, he is always sure that Hashem means him no harm. After all, anyone who truly loves his parents knows that when they hit him they don’t do it out of hate, but rather out of love.
Imagine you see a man crossing the street along with two young boys. Suddenly a large truck comes along and nearly runs over the two boys. Luckily, the man pulls them out of the way just in the nick of time. Then you see the man hitting one of the children because of their carelessness in crossing the street. Yet he doesn’t even touch the second one. Which one, would you say, is his own son? Certainly it’s the one he hit. That’s because he loves him and wants to make certain the child will be more careful next time.
If we truly love Hashem then we’ll do all His Mitzvos with love. And certainly when we built Hashem’s House, which was the Mishkon, it had to be built by builders who were not only smart but also put their entire heart into their work. Hashem wants us to build His House with love. Only when wisdom is channeled through the heart is it of true value!