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The Gemara (Sanhedrin 106b) says that "God desires the heart". A responsum attributed to Maimonides interprets this to mean "knowledge of God, morals and wisdom" (letter to Hasdai Ha-Levi; Maimonides Reader p. 478).

I have heard this quoted in the context of emotional devotion to God.

How do different Rishonim interpret this statement?

  • Citing the g'mara would vastly improve your question IMO. – msh210 Apr 23 '15 at 2:08
  • Sanhedrin 106b אלא הקב"ה ליבא בעי דכתיב (שמואל א טז) וה' יראה ללבב – Loewian Apr 24 '15 at 18:43
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    It's pretty clear that while לב often is better translated as mind or intellect (as e.g. in Chovoth HaLevavoth), here the sense seems to be more along the lines of motivation/drive (as opposed to circumstance). – Loewian Apr 24 '15 at 18:51
  • ויאמר ה' יען כי נגש העם הזה בפיו ובשפתיו כבדוני ולבו רחק ממני ותהי יראתם אתי מצות אנשים מלמדה - ישעיה כט:יג – Lee Nov 30 '15 at 10:45
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The Sefer Hakuzari (חתימת הספר כו:) writes: אָמַר הַכּוּזָרִי: כַּאֲשֶׁר אַתָּה מַאֲמִין בְּכָל מַה שֶׁזָּכַרְתָּ כְּבָר יָדַע הָאֵל מַצְפּוּנְךָ, וְרַחְמָנָא לִבָּא בָּעֵי, יוֹדֵעַ הַמַּצְפּוּנִים וּמְגַלֶּה הַנִּסְתָּרוֹת.

Seemingly the Kuzari understands it to mean that G-d has intimate knowledge of man.

Although, in this context the Kazar King is speaking and asking a question based off this interpretation. So maybe that is not an indication as to the property understanding of it.

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