Photo Credit: Jewish Press

In this past week’s parsha we learn about the building of the Mishkan, G-d’s worship house in the desert. Every time any instructions of what needed to be made and how it should be made is mentioned in the Torah, the words “smartness of the heart” are used. Everything that was done had to be with the heart. We tend to think that smartness or being successful comes from the head. If I know a lot I will succeed. Building the Mishkan was the holiest job to be done. And what did Hashem look for? Smartness of the heart, not of the brain.

Our brain is like a computer, lots of information. The more you learn the more information you’ll attain. To acquire smartness of the heart is a different story altogether.


Smartness of the heart can be described as emotional intelligence. Acquiring this type of intelligence is not by reading lots of books or by gathering information. The intelligence of the heart comes from the connection you build in your heart between you and yourself, you and your surroundings and between you and your creator. This trait is what was necessary in order to build the holiest structure. Why?

The Mishkan was G-d’s home. A place where all of the people of Israel would come and worship Hashem. This special place is a spiritual place. And things that are spiritual must be felt. A person can pray from a prayer book and do the mitzvot accordingly. But to feel the prayer isn’t something you can do by just saying the words. To feel or think in your heart you need to connect emotionally.

We are sometimes so busy running and doing that we don’t even stop for a minute to listen and hear what our heart is telling us. We are all created in G-d’s image. And G-d is always with us guiding us and talking to us. But how can we hear him? How can we know what it is that G-d is actually saying to us? Those signals and messages come from the heart. The more we connect to our inner voice, our inner most feelings, the more we will hear and feel what the right thing to do is. To hear our heart we need to stop and think and feel a lot. We cannot just go through the motions. We must be awake and listen very intently to our heart and to what G-d is trying to say to us. This type of work is what strengthens our intuition our feelings and clears our head and minds to hear exactly what it is that Hashem wants from us.

That is what Hashem looked for in the traits of the people who built the Mishkan. To build the Mishkan, one must have the ability to hear G-d every step of the way, so that it will come out exactly the way G-d wanted it. If the building was just technical, all you would need is blueprints and materials. But the Mishkan was spiritual and required smartness of the heart to build it.

Robots are easy to make and program. Feelings and connections are very hard to make and come by. When one is connected to the right place with the right intentions in their heart, they will succeed in whatever they set out to do. However, if you are just relying on your mind or great knowledge to guide you, there is a chance that you will mess up, or miss the point since you may be caught up in your own greatness and how much information you have acquired.

A person can tell you what to say and what to do. But no one can tell you how to feel and what to think. Our thoughts and feeling are intimate, intense and very personal. You can say one thing with your words and mean something entirely different in your heart.

The ability to hear and understand what your heart is saying is smartness of the heart. And that takes a lot of smartness. That’s the emotional intelligence that one needs in order to do that work of the heart.

May we merit this special and spiritual connection to Hashem and to our surroundings and may we always hear and feel what the right thing to do is and what Hashem wants from us.