“‘You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, all your soul, and all your might. And these words which I command you today shall be on your heart’ (Deuteronomy 6:5-6).

On your heart. Why on and not in, asks the Kotzker Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendl of Kotzk (1787-1859). Because hearts aren’t always open, the Rebbe teaches, so the words are placed there. We place them there by repeating them, to ourselves, to our children. When we sit in our house and when we walk by the way, when we lie down and when we rise up, when we feel inclined to speak them and when we don’t, when they feel near and when they feel distant, the words are placed there so when the heart does open, these words, these very words placed on the heart (why not in the mind?) will enter like a guest who waits patiently at the door until we are ready to unlock, open, and welcome her into our house, only to discover that what we had thought until now was our home is her home, and we are her guests here.”

Richard Chess, “Word,” Image #75