Chochmah and Torah

“Chochmah is the truth we discover; Torah is the truth we inherit. Chochmah is the shared heritage of mankind; Torah is the particular heritage of the Jewish people. Chochmah is the world of ‘is’, of fact; Torah is the world of ‘ought’, of command. Chochmah is where we encounter God through creation; Torah is how we hear God through revelation. The two are not equal in their significance to Jews – Torah is holy in a way chochmah cannot be – yet both are significant, for if we are to apply Torah to the world, we must understand the world to which it applies. Because the God of creation is also the God of revelation, there is ultimate harmony between them, even thought, given the imperfections in our understanding of both, it may not be evident at any given moment. There must, I believe, be an ongoing conversation between them, for otherwise Torah will remain a closed system with no grip, no purchase, no influence, on the world outside its walls.”

The Chief Rabbi’s Haggadah (Essays), pp. 6-7