Rabbi Milevsky's Thought of the Week: Vaeschanan - 5771
MIND AND HEART
“Know therefore today, and take it to your heart, that Hashem, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other."(Devarim 4:39)
Rabbi Yisrael Salanter, the father of the Mussar movement, would often note that the distance between the mind and the heart is greater than the distance between the sun and the earth. In other words, concepts that people know intellectually as appropriate - quite often - remain in the realm of ideas and are not practiced. A person can quote several rabbinic sources regarding the destructive trait of anger, yet when things do not go his way he flies into a rage. One of the main goals of Mussar, is to get the heart to be in sync with the mind.
Rabbeinu Bachya comments that when the pasuk tells us to “Take it to your heart” it refers to the idea of meditating intensely upon it. Moshe is telling the Jewish people that although they know that there is one God, knowledge is not sufficient. It is vital for the committed Jew to take the knowledge to heart.