“Let all those wise of heart come and do”—Exodus 35:10.
Israel’s leadership is facing difficult times, hard decisions, and the burden of great responsibility.
As calls for the revenge of young and old blood of Israeli citizens are mounting, as demands for better security measures are raised and as the ferocious enemy we are all facing is getting more and more inhumane, the dilemmas facing Israeli leadership are increasing and more heavily weighing..
At complex times like these, more than ever, poise and caution in response to all these needs, these demands, should be practiced. Skills, reason, knowledge, sensibility, sensitivity, emotions as well as other faculties should all come into play in a balanced and well implemented manner. While emotions, passion and sensitivity reside in the heart, wisdom, knowledge and skills comes from the mind. It is finding the delicate equilibrium between these two, purportedly, contradictory sources, that is the hardest yet most important undertaking of them all..
It is no wonder, therefore, that in the Book of Exodus, G-d instructs Moses to call upon those who are “wise of heart” to rise to the unique task of building the Mishkan, the temporary dwelling place of G-d which the Israelites carried during their wanderings in the desert. It needed the rare combination of skillful workmanship together with a deep understanding of the spiritual symbolic significance of such a structure. Only one man during that time possessed it, Bezalel.
In 1 Kings 3:5-15, we witness yet again the importance of combining a levelheaded mind with a responsive heart. Before anointing him to take his father’s place as king, G-d appeared to Solomon in Gibeon and said to him:
“Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”
In his humble manner, Solomon answered: 7 “Now, LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. 8 Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. 9 So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”
Solomon did not ask for wealth, fame or other worldly possessions. All this “wisest of men” asked for was “a discerning heart” and the ability to “ distinguish between right and wrong.”
Today, as during Solomon’s times, Israel is still G-d’s great people. Today, as in many other occasions in the past, G-d’s people is facing hard times. Today, more than ever, we ask G-d to help Israel’s elected leaders, to guide the path of their decisions and to be the compass that directs their moves in the coming months. We ask Him to keep them humble and bestow upon them the blessing of the wisdom of the heart and the unique ability to distinguish between “right and wrong.” We ask it not only for the sake of His people but for that of the world, His creation, as well.