We must ask today whether the world is running too fast.
Is it progressing beyond all proportion?
The human race now has tremendous power, primarily the power to destroy, on a scale that was unattainable to earlier generations.
Do people today have more power than they require?
Is it more than we can handle?
Is our power greater than our ability to judge how to use that power?
Is it possible that we are eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge when it is not yet ripe?
The Mishna in Pirkei Avot criticizes the person “whose wisdom is greater than his deeds” (3:17).
This is not a repudiation of wisdom, but merely a safeguard: If a person does not want wisdom to affect him like a “deadly poison,” he must always apply it.
To be sure, no matter how much one applies his wisdom, it is never enough; one must always progress and improve.
The Talmud in Ketubbot 50a advises teachers of young children that once a pupil has reached the age of six, “stuff him like an ox,” i.e., feed him as much knowledge as possible.
At the same time, however, a persons fear of sin should take precedence over his wisdom – his wisdom must never exceed his ability to use it.
-Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From Talks on the Parasha