I looked up the term "פירוד הלבבות" and it comes out literally as "separation of hearts". What is the interpretation of this term in Yiddishkeit generally? Thanks in advance.

  • 3
    Where did you see/hear this term?
    – Joel K
    Nov 7, 2019 at 14:45

2 Answers 2


In addition to @rosends analysis, the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 12:2 adopts this term in a similar vein:

טוב ליתן צדקה קודם התפלה, שנאמר אני בצדק אחזה פניך, גם יקבל עליו קודם כל תפלה, מצות ואהבת לרעך כמוך, ויכוין לאהוב את כל אחד מישראל כנפשו, כי אם חס ושלום יש פירוד לבבות ישראל למטה, אז גם למעלה אין התאחדות, אבל התאחדות בגופיהן שלמטה, גורם התאחדות ודבקות נפשותיהן למעלה, ועל ידי זה גם תפלותיהן מתאחדות, ואז בהיות תפלותיהן כלולות יחד, היא רצויה לפניו יתברך שמו

It is good to give charity before praying, as it is said: "As for me, with righteousness I will behold Your Presence." You should also resolve before each prayer to fulfil the mitzvah to "Love your neighbour as yourself." You must determine to love every Jew as yourself, because if there is, God forbid, dissension within Israel in this world, there is no harmony in the world above. However, when there is unity in this world it causes spiritual unity of our souls in the world above, and as a result, our prayers are unified; and when our prayers are unified, they are accepted favourably before Him, Blessed is His Name. (Sefaria translation)

So it would seem this literal 'separation of hearts', is a negative expression of conflicting views and lack of togetherness, an anti-'Love your neighbour like yourself' approach.

This idea is also brought out in the Ohr HaChaim in Vayikra 26:6 where he writes:

ונתתי שלום בארץ. צריך לדעת למה הוצרך לומר זה אחר שכבר אמר וישבתם לבטח, ואולי שיכוין על עם בני ישראל עצמם שלא יהיה להם פירוד הלבבות שיטע ה' ביניהם שלום וריעות. או אפשר שיכוין על כללות העולם, ותדע שכשמדבר על ארץ ישראל מזכירה בכינוי כאומרו בסמוך בארצכם, וכאן אמר בארץ שמבטיחם כי יהיה שלום בכל העולם, ותמצא שחפץ ה' בדבר, וצא ולמד מפרי החג ע' כנגד ע' אומות, ומאמרי רבותינו ז''ל (סוכה נ''ה:) בענין זה, גם כפי הטבע כשיש מלחמות בעולם יחרדו גם היושבים בטח לקול ענות מלחמה, ולזה גמר אומר ושכבתם ואין מחריד

ונתתי שלום בארץ - "and I will grant peace to the land": Why did the Torah have to mention this seeing it had already promised us that we would dwell securely in our land? Perhaps the Torah refers to the people of Israel keeping the peace amongst themselves, that there would not be internal divisiveness. G-d promises to implant a tendency for mutual tolerance amongst the people. Remember that when the Torah speaks of the land it usually describes it as "your land," i.e. the land with a suffix. When the word ארץ is used without the suffix it refers to the whole earth. In this instance you find that G-d wants universal peace. When you consider the 70 bulls the Israelites offered in the Holy Temple on behalf of the Gentile nations on Sukkot, our rabbis in Sukkah 55 speak about this. Moreover, whenever wars occur on earth even people who are at peace in their respective countries worry about their becoming themselves involved in warfare. This is why the Torah adds the assurance ושכבתם ואין מחריד, "you will lie down to sleep without anyone frightening you." (Sefaria translation)

Once again, the term would seem to imply a lack of harmony amongst the Jewish people.

Rav Tzadok perhaps best encapsulates the term in his Pri Tzadik on Mishpatim 7:! where he says:

...היינו הלא אנו רואין שיש פירוד לבבות בנפשות ישראל ואין דעתן של א' שוה לחבירו...

This means that we saw that there was a separation of hearts in the souls of Israel and that A's opinion was not equal to that of his friend.


It is used here to indicate divisons of opinion which get in the way of a national unity ("hearts" reflecting practice, belief and tradition).

This use seems to reflect "discord" and this one takes it a step further, coupling it with Sinat Chinam.

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