Take the 2-minute tour ×
Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Wherever the Torah refers to thinking and feelings of Anger, compassion etc. it always mentions the Heart as the controlling organ (also Kidney) but NEVER the Brain? (Even in the G'mara the Moach is rarely mentioned).

share|improve this question
1  
Reader2, welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks very much for this interesting question! Please consider registering your account, which will give you access to more of the site's features. –  Isaac Moses Mar 11 '13 at 13:59
3  
Maybe they didn't think the brain was the source of thought –  Double AA Mar 11 '13 at 14:44
2  
See rationalistjudaism.com/2010/05/kidney-summary.html and other posts there. –  Isaac Moses Mar 11 '13 at 14:50
2  
Don't see why it would, the torah does no busy itself with describing all aspects of the human condition. What situation in the Tanach would you expect in to be mentioned in. –  Yaakov Pinsky Mar 11 '13 at 20:23
1  
Tanach is not a science book. It spoke to people at that time about God, morality, the human condition, etc. but not chemistry, biology or physics. See R.S.Hirsch and other who discuss this more. –  Ariel K Mar 11 '13 at 21:48

2 Answers 2

The word מוח only turns up once in Tanakh anyway (Job 21:24). It means "marrow". Onkelos translates קדקוד in Deut 28:35 as מוח, and we see it with a similar meaning ("brain", and the membrane around the brain) in the early rabbinic literature. The fact that it's not mentioned in the Tanakh can be due to their either having a different word for the same thing, or to the fact that it's a part of the body that they never speak about. Either way, they did not consider it the seat of thought.

The first person in recorded history to recognise the brain as the source of thought and understanding was Alcmaeon of Croton, a Greek philosopher and physician who lived in the 5th century BCE.

share|improve this answer

the vilna gaon on yona says: http://www.dafyomireview.com/yonah.php

(1:5 And the sailors were afraid, and cried out every man unto his G-d; and they cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it unto them. And Yonah went down into the depths of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep. )

VILNA GAON: And the sailors were afraid - They are the leaders of the body, which is the brain, heart, and the other powers.

LATER ON HE ADDS 1:6 So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him: 'Why are you sleeping? arise, call upon your G-d, if so be that G-d will think upon us, that we perish not.'

VILNA GAON:So the shipmaster came to him He is the head leader (of the body) - the heart.

LATER ON 4:11 VILNA GAON: That the two inclinations which advise for the good or for evil, as it says (Kohelet 10:2) "the heart of a wise man is in his right, while the heart of a fool to his left". But the tzadik serves G-d with both, as written "with all your hearts" (Devarim 6:6) which means with both your inclinations, END So it seems thought can arise in the mind but the heart is the one who decides/rules what to do therefore it is considered the real thinker

share|improve this answer
2  
What are you trying to say? That the Vilna Gaon in the 18th century knew that the brain was the 'seat' of thought? How does that answer the question? –  Double AA Mar 11 '13 at 21:59
    
i think it answers the question. why the torah uses the word heart and not brain when dealing with thought. read it closely and you will see –  ray Mar 12 '13 at 6:12

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.