Chochma, Bina, Da’at

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חכמה בינה דעת

Further to our discussion about Chochma, Bina and Da’at, Rabbi Gourarie has presented an interesting insight in his email this week:

In exploring new information and novel ideas, three stages ensure that the student has learned successfully and gained from the newfound wisdom:

a)      Accepting that there are axiomatic truths that form the basis and foundation of the ideas we explore and study – this is known as Chochma

b)      Taking these kernels of truth and translating them into well explained and developed ideas with detail and breadth. This is achieved by in depth analysis, asking questions and testing the ideas on all levels. This stage is called Bina.  

c)      In Jewish learning, academia on its own is insufficient. The concepts we study need to be applied. They need to transition from the theoretical   to the emotional and practical. The ideas we understand must affect our passion and guide our behavior. Even well understood concepts still need to be fully absorbed and internalized. We achieve this by reviewing, reflecting and contemplating on the ideas we have learned until they become part of who we are on all levels. This process is called Da’at.

The intrinsic truths of Chochma exist before the learner begins to study. A teacher can then provide explanations and the analysis of the ideas. But it is only the student alone that can move to the third stage. Only he/she can internalize the knowledge to the point where it affects change and becomes a code for moral and appropriate behavior. No teacher can make that happen – this is the sole responsibility of the learner.

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