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You are my heart

The heart is one of the most mysterious human organs. We know that it is just a piece of muscle, pumping the blood, doing its daily work to keep us alive. However, countless sayings in every human language refer to the heart as something less tangible and the other part of the duo making humans what we are. The soul is the Divine imprint in us, the remnant of God’s breath that gave us all our lives. Why then do we keep the heart in the equation? It is, after all, just an engine doing the work!

However, our Torah portion starts with the powerful image of God instructing Moses to take the gifts from the people whose heart moves them to do so. Interestingly, it does not mention the soul, although it would have been more natural since generosity is one of the signs of humanity.

I think there is a bigger story behind this verse. The heartbeat is so natural that we barely even notice it. We are alerted by the change in pace only when something is wrong. If the heart moves, indeed, this is important. If the heart skips a beat or stands still, something is wrong.

I have been struggling with immeasurable heartache during the last three days. I have always been a private person and will not allow myself to impose on others my pain or any feelings in general. Nor will I do it now. It is just that my heart is torn in half and will remain so for a very long time.

Rashi explains here that the expression “נדיב לב” here means “one who is prompted to generosity by the heart.” The heart moves us forward, and there is no hope without it.

About the Author
Nelly Shulman is a journalist and writer currently based in Berlin. She is an author of four popular historical novels in the Russian language. She is working on the fifth novel in this series and on her first English-language novel, a historical thriller set during the Siege of Leningrad. She a Hawthornden Fellow and an alumna of the Nachum Goldmann Fellowship.
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