Honorable Mensch-ion


My favorite children’s museum is the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, named after American scientist and statesman Benjamin Franklin.

The highlight is, “The Heart,” a walk through exhibit where you explore the ventricles, aorta, papillary muscles, and more. As you walk through what feels like a winding unending tunnel, it is difficult to know what to expect next. And yet, every step of the way, you hear a loud thump, the beating of the heart, propelling you to take a next step.

This week, as my children retraced my steps in our visit to the museum, I thought of the most recited verse in our Torah, which we read this Shabbat: Shema Yisrael. Hear O Israel, the Lord Our God, the Lord is One.

Yet, what comes next is as important: Vahavta, Love your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your might.

We can feel what is in our heart, but without that walk through exhibit, it is very difficult to see what is in our heart.

Ibn Ezra teaches the heart refers to knowledge, the first residence of the spirit of intelligence. Seeing is believing. That is knowledge. But a Jewish answer is the opposite: Believing is seeing. When we believe that the one we are looking at is full of love, then we see that love. That is Jewish knowledge. We may need a microscope to see the inner workings of the science of the heart, but we must only look at each other to see the home of where love exists, where it emanates from, and where it is distributed to. If love is the focus of our hearts, we know that when the beat will cease, the spirit is eternal.

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