Let My People Know

"Even a talmid hakham, a scholar, can lack Da'at"


The Gaon of Vilna, in his commentary on the Book of Proverbs, depicts Da'at as the basic, most important factor in life. 

As it is written in the Midrash, "If you have procured knowledge (Da'at), you will lack nothing" (Vayikra Rabba, 1). 

One can have great learning and even much understanding, but it is Da’at that is decisive in determining one's scale of values. 

In other words, Da'at is something more than what is ordinarily considered knowledge. 

It involves the significant transition from things as objects to things that are objects that have a direction, that one can control or sort out. 

A lack of such knowledge, which is Da'at, can be considered a flaw in the personality, not in the intellect. 

Even a talmid hakham, a scholar, can lack Da'at. 

A person can be wise and well informed and still fail to be a genuine human being. 

And it is Da'at that, in many ways, makes the difference.

It is fundamentally a moral essence. 

That is, without Da’at, existence remains amoral.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From The Candle of God by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz