“Let all those wise of heart come and do”—Exodus 35:10.
Moses called upon each individual member of the Children of Israel to come forward and use their particular skill (“wisdom”) to build the Mishkan—the desert Tabernacle. The Mishkan was an amazing work of art and engineering, and much wisdom and skill were required to build it.
But why does he issue a call for the “wise of heart”? Is this not a contradiction in terms? After all, wisdom is in the mind, while emotions are in the heart!
Perhaps the Torah is teaching us a valuable lesson, especially applicable in the construction of our personal Mishkan.
Skill alone is sterile, while emotion alone is unpredictableSkill alone is sterile, while emotion alone is unpredictable.
The wise person can know something and it can have no effect on his or her life—it remains in the display case of their brain, never used to direct their behavior.
Another person may have profound experiences of deep religious emotion expressed so strongly that they reach a point where they lose sight of other good things in which they should be involved, or they become overly critical of others who seem not to be as enthused as they.
Hence, G‑d directs Moses to tell the Jewish people: As each and every one of you is building a personal Mishkan—a Sanctuary for G‑d made of the stuff of your life—remember to be “wise of heart.”
“Wise”—allow G‑dly wisdom to direct your feelings in a constructive, balanced and inclusive way.
“Of heart”—allow this knowledge to create a current of excitement and passion for the good and the G‑dly that fills your body and changes your world.