I once read that this quotation, which comes from the 2001 Hollywood film "A Beautiful Mind", scripted by Akiva Goldsman, is based on words of King Solomon:

"It is good to have a beautiful mind, but an even greater gift is to discover a beautiful heart"

Reading through Ecclesiastes (full text here) I couldn't spot a source for it, nor browsing the sections of Proverbs ascribed to Solomon. Might I have missed something?

  • 1
    Try Melachim (Kings) 3:9 (and the various commentaries/midrashim on it if you have access to them.)
    – Rish
    Commented Jul 3, 2015 at 15:45
  • 1
    @Rish "Heart" as a metaphor sometimes carries different connotations in Hebrew vs. English. In verse you cited,לֵב שֹׁמֵעַ appears to be meant most simply in an intellectual or intuitive sense rather than meaning "kind," "generous," or the like (as it appears to mean in the quote from the film). See here, for example.
    – Fred
    Commented Jul 3, 2015 at 18:47
  • 2
    The more I google away, trying every combination I can think of, the more I think someone, somewhere along the line, has misreported. Or perhaps someone has used this line as illustration to their own interpretation. Commented Jul 3, 2015 at 21:13
  • There is Jeremiah: ירמיהו פרק ט (כב) כֹּ֣ה׀ אָמַ֣ר יְקֹוָ֗ק אַל־יִתְהַלֵּ֤ל חָכָם֙ בְּחָכְמָת֔וֹ וְאַל־יִתְהַלֵּ֥ל הַגִּבּ֖וֹר בִּגְבֽוּרָת֑וֹ אַל־יִתְהַלֵּ֥ל עָשִׁ֖יר בְּעָשְׁרֽוֹ: (כג) כִּ֣י אִם־בְּזֹ֞את יִתְהַלֵּ֣ל הַמִּתְהַלֵּ֗ל הַשְׂכֵּל֘ וְיָדֹ֣עַ אוֹתִי֒ כִּ֚י אֲנִ֣י יְקֹוָ֔ק עֹ֥שֶׂה חֶ֛סֶד מִשְׁפָּ֥ט וּצְדָקָ֖ה בָּאָ֑רֶץ כִּֽי־בְאֵ֥לֶּה חָפַ֖צְתִּי נְאֻם־יְקֹוָֽק: "So said the God: the smart one should not glory in his intelligence, and the mighty one should not glory in his strength, nor should the rich one glory in his wealth. One should only glory in knowing Me, for I am God...
    – mevaqesh
    Commented May 11, 2016 at 4:45
  • [cont.] who does kindness, justice, and charity in the land; for these do I desire says God". That is, God criticized those praise themselves for intelligence and other traits, and encourages one to only pride himself in performing kindness.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented May 11, 2016 at 4:46

2 Answers 2


I don't think this is a Jewish notion. Christianity sees a contradiction between cleverness and natural Godliness, but Judaism does not.


The closest thing I found regarding a beautiful Heart

Mishna perki avot 2

10. [Rabbi Yochanan] said to them: Go and see which is the best trait for a person to acquire.

Said Rabbi Eliezer: A good eye.
Said Rabbi Joshua: A good friend.
Said Rabbi Yossei: A good neighbor.
Said Rabbi Shimon: To see what is born [out of ones actions].
Said Rabbi Elazar (the son of Arach): A good heart.

Said He (Rabbi Yochanan) to them: I prefer the words of Elazar the son of Arach ("A good heart") to yours, for his words include all of yours.

  • Does that have roots in the words of King Solomon?
    – Double AA
    Commented May 15, 2016 at 3:27

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