Knowledge, Knowledgable, Wisdom
A student comes to his teacher and proclaims with pride:
“Master, this year I went through the whole Talmud!”
Whereupon the teacher answers: “And did you let yourself be penetrated by the Talmud?”
What is clarified in this conversation? The difference between two meanings, between knowledge and culture. The student proudly reports to his teacher about his intellectual accomplishments; he is ready to undergo a rigorous interrogation, to which he will respond with ease, proving that he has reason to be proud. The teacher has some doubts. To him the essential thing does not seem to be the accumulation of knowledge, but the transformation of man in contact with this knowledge. Did the student memorize or did he deal with the knowledge of others? Was he content to line up the pearls of knowledge, or was he trying to understand what that knowledge meant and how far he was concerned?
Beyond the knowledge, which is a lifeless, rational object, makes the culture of us is a person who lives in relationship to others.
Through culture, which is an exchange of knowledge and a mutual opening between us and the other, a dialogue of humanity emerges.
Culture is thus the beginning of wisdom, which in turn is in the constant
Listening to the other and opening to the world, as the rabbinical saying goes, “Who is wise? He who learns from every man.”
Culture in Hebrew means “tarbout”, which is derived from the same root as “harbe”, “a lot”. Culture would therefore be this “much more”, this complement that gives the human soul its true human greatness.