|The Sephirot in Jewish Kabbalah|
- For the band, see Dååth.
||This article is written like a personal reflection or opinion essay rather than an encyclopedic description of the subject. (November 2009)|
Da'at or Daas ("Knowledge", Hebrew: דעת [ˈdaʕaθ]) is a Hebrew word that means belief. In the branch of Jewish mysticism known as Kabbalah, Da'at is the location (the mystical state) where all ten sephirot in the Tree of Life are united as one.
In Da'at, all sephirot exist in their perfected state of infinite sharing. The three sephirot of the left column that would receive and conceal the Divine Light, instead share and reveal it. Since all sephirot radiate infinite self-giving Divine Light, it is no longer possible to distinguish one sephira from another, thus they are one.
Da'at is not always depicted in representations of the sefirot, and could in a sense be considered an "empty slot" into which the gem of any other sefirot can be placed. Properly, the Divine Light is always shining, but not all humans can see it. The concealment or revelation of the Divine Light shining through Da'at does not actually happen in Da'at itself. It only seems that way from the human perspective within Malkuth. The perception of change can only occur in Malkuth. Humans who become self-giving like the Light become able to see it, and for them the benefits of Da'at's light seem "revealed". However, humans who remain selfish cannot see it, and for them its benefits seem "hidden".
As a representative sephirah
Properly, Da'at is not a sephirah, but rather is all ten sephirot united as one. Nevertheless, Da'at is sometimes counted as a sephirah instead of Keter, from the perspective of finite creation using Da'at to represent the "reflection of" (the "inner dimension" of) the infinity of Keter. Thus Da'at appears in the configuration of the sephirot along the middle axis, directly beneath Keter. It corresponds to the Tzelem elohim (the "image of God embedded in humanity") and to the cerebellum (i.e. the "posterior brain"). Alternate countings of the sephirot produce 10 powers ("10 and not 9, 10 and not 11" - Sefer Yetzirah) by either including Keter or Da'at. In the scheme of Moshe Cordovero, Da'at is omitted, while in the scheme of Isaac Luria, Keter (Will) is omitted. Cordovero describes the sephirot as one light in ten vessels. Luria follows this, but lists sephirot beginning with Chokhmah (Wisdom) to describe their outer dimensions.
As spiritual state
The spiritual state corresponding to the sephirah of Daat is yichud ("unification"). This is seen in the etymological use of Daat in the Torah, such as Genesis 4:1 and 4:25 ("Adam knew Eve"), for sexual unification. While the union of Yesod (male/connection) with Malkuth (female/reception) embodies sexual unity in action, in Daat the unity is inward - the union with an idea awakening emotions.
As aspect of intellect
According to the Tanya, Da'at is the third and last conscious power of intellect. But in this context, it is actually the lower Daat of the partzuf of Zer Anpin (not upper Daat of Adam Kadmon).[clarification needed]
Zer Anpin refers to the 'personification' (partzuf) of six sephirot from Khesed to Yesod - and as a whole embodies its own ten sephirot and its own Daat. Zer Anpin personifies the revelation of the Torah and relates to the second level of the human soul called 'spirit' (ruakh), that corresponds to mental aspects, including reason and emotion.
Accordingly, Daat is associated in the soul with the powers of memory and concentration, powers which rely upon one's "recognition" (hakarah) of, and "sensitivity" (hergesh) to, the potential meaningfulness of those ideas generated in consciousness through the powers of Chokhmah ("wisdom") and Binah ("understanding").
Da'at operates on two levels. The higher level, referred to as Da'at Elyon ("higher knowledge") or Da'at hane'elam ("the hidden knowledge"), serves to secure the continuous bond between the two higher powers of intellect -- chokhmah and Binah, wisdom and understanding. This is Daat within Keter.
The lower level, referred to as Da'at Tachton ("lower knowledge") or Da'at hamitpashet ("extending knowledge"), serves to connect the intellect as a whole with the realm of emotion, thereby enhancing one's determination and resolve to act in accordance with the essential truths that one has integrated into consciousness. This is Da'at as the third power of the intellect.
Of this level of Da'at it is said (Proverbs 24:4): "Da'at fills the rooms with precious things." "The rooms" are the chambers of the heart, the emotions of the soul (as alluded to by the word cheder, "room," which is an acronym for chesed din rachamim, the three primary emotions of the soul). The inner consciousness of Da'at fills these rooms and enlivens them as does the soul to the body.
In the Zohar, this level of Da'at is referred to as "the key that includes six." The "key" of Da'at opens all six chambers (attributes) of the heart and fills them with lifeforce. Each of these six chambers, when filled with Da'at, is referred to as a particular dei'ah ("attitude," from the root of Da'at) of the soul.
Da'at is considered the point of creation, when the active principle of Chokhmah (wisdom), meets with the passive principle of Binah, 'understanding', and creates the archetypal idea of knowledge. These three are sometimes referred to as the "superconscious".
However, this sephirot is often not shown on the tree of life, and instead there is an empty space, straddling The Abyss. In fact, there are often two trees depicted, one which shows Da'at but not Malkuth, and the other which shows Malkuth but not Da'at. These are considered as being before The Fall of Man, and after The Fall, in which the fruit of knowledge is taken from the tree, humanity loses paradise, and falls into the earthly state of suffering represented by Malkuth.
In comparing with Eastern systems, some[who?] compare Da'at to the Vishuddha chakra in the throat, concerned with creativity, and others compare it with the secretive Bindu chakra at the back of the head, closely related to Vishuddha, which among other things is concerned with the point at which the universe was created.
In some occult methods of thought, Da'at is a gateway which, upon passing through, inverts the qualities of the sephirothic spheres. The idea most likely derives from Da'at being situated upon The Abyss. Aleister Crowley described the abyss:
"This doctrine is extremely difficult to explain; but it corresponds more or less to the gap in thought between the Real, which is ideal, and the Unreal, which is actual. In the Abyss all things exist, indeed, at least in posse, but are without any possible meaning; for they lack the substratum of spiritual Reality. They are appearances without Law. They are thus Insane Delusions... Now the Abyss being thus the great storehouse of Phenomena, it is the source of all impressions."
- Da'as Elyon and Da'as Tachton
- The Kabbalah Handbook, A Concise Encyclopedia of Terms and Concepts in Jewish Mysticism
- Crowley, Aleister: Little Essays Towards Truth
- Da'at The Knowing I, by Rabbi Tzvi Freeman http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/299648/jewish/Daat.htm