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Parashat Va’erah


The Talmud instructs a person to accustom their tongue to say, “I do not know.”

While no human being can know everything, even with a smart phone handy and access to AI, some people cannot admit any ignorance about anything. For them, any admission of lack of knowledge threatens their fragile egos. Although they try to impress others with their omniscience, they accomplish the reverse, because the more they try to conceal their ignorance, the more prominent it becomes.

Furthermore, the only way we can acquire knowledge is by accepting that we do not have it. People who claim to know everything cannot learn and denying their own ignorance actually increases it.

The sages of the Talmud are telling us that we do not have to know everything, and no one expects us to. Today, more than ever, with the unprecedented amount of information available, no one can be a universal genius. The simple statement, I don’t know, is actually highly respected.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Shaul