Mind vs. Heart

At the height of the bitter exile, Moses cries out to G‑d: "My Lord! Why have You done bad to this nation?!"—a cry that reverberates through our tear-soaked history. G‑d begins His response by saying: "I have revealed Myself to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob..." Why is G‑d evoking the memory of the Patriarchs?


The Patriarchs are the "heart" of Israel, while Moses is the mind of Israel. The mind can come to understand that suffering refines man. That a person’s finest abilities are unleashed only under conditions of challenge and trial. That without a free choice between good and evil nothing we do could possibly be of any significance.

But, ultimately, why must it be this way? You, G‑d, could have ordered reality so that there is gain without pain, so that the highest peaks of life could be scaled also without the momentum of its lowest descents.

The mind of the believer will never accept the "necessity" for evil and pain. The heart, of course, also perceives the pain, but, unlike the mind, tolerates contradiction. Can you prove to a mother that her child is not deserving of love? Outrage and devotion, judgment and acceptance—a heart that loves has room for them all.

"Moses," said G‑d, "you are the mind of My people. The mind that is the instrument for grasping My Truth and, with it, illuminating the world. But you, too, are a child of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. You, too, have inherited from them the Jewish heart—the intrinsic bond with your G‑d that the most terrible contradictions cannot shake."