It’s Not What You Said, It’s How You Said It
“Speak to the children of Israel, and have them take for Me an offering; from every person whose heart inspires him to generosity, you shall take My offering”
Why does the Torah state that those “whose hearts” inspire them to give, shall donate for the building of the Mishkan, Hashem’s dwelling? Since donating materials to build something is generally a logical decision (aka, the brain), in that do I or don’t I want to donate, why is Hashem asking us to donate with our hearts?
I think the reasoning may lie in the fundamental understanding of what Hashem wants from this request for donations of the materials of the Mishkan and possibly in general; Hashem wants us to connect to Him and build something with Him via the heart. Not with logic, not with money, and not just through actions.
This is similar to when humans form deep connection with each other, its not based on logic or what benefit there is to the individual. Rather, it’s a connection to each other with their hearts; it is on a deeper level.
In that same way, Hashem doesn’t want us to connect to him only because it is logical. He doesn’t want us just to connect to Him and His Mitzvot because it is logically the right thing to do. Rather, it’s on a way deeper and more spiritual level.
This also may explain why, in this week’s Parsha, Hashem “asks” for donations; it’s not that Hashem needs any physical items or materials from us. Rather, Hashem is providing us the opportunity to get closer to him on a deeper level (Note: Emotion must be followed by some sort of concrete action, because emotion not followed by action, isn’t true emotion. It’s similar to when one says; “I’m a good Jew at heart”, if that’s not accompanied by positive Jewish action, then all it means is that his cardiologist is Jewish).
Recently, I was trying to explain the beauty of keeping Shabbat to a not yet Shabbat-observant friend. Yet no matter how much I was trying to logically explain the beauty of the Shabbat table, the davening and the Shabbat customs, it was a total failure. I think this may be because I am not able to logically describe the emotion of the tranquility of a Shabbat afternoon, the piece of mind of not having to answer phone messages for 25 hours or the pleasurable connection of an inspiring Friday night oneg. These are emotions and the only way to fully comprehend these emotions is by experiencing them.
They say that 90% of communication is non-verbal. I don’t think that’s true. I think that 90% of communication is emotions, expressed through non-verbal communication. The whole “it’s not what you said, its how you said it” response makes total sense now; when someone is asking with their heart and getting an answer from the mind, there is a disconnect in the answer and frustration may be caused.
Deep rooted emotion is what separates humans from other beings in the world and we are thus able to use this tool to build real connection to ourselves, to each other and to Hashem.
May we build and refine this genuine connection.