Da’at/Knowlege is the outer manifestation of Keter. Generally when studying the Sefirot from the “bottom-up” perspective of connecting “up” to G-d, we consider Da’at (and not Keter) as part of the ten Sefirot. Conversely, when viewing the Sefirot from the “top-down” perspective of G-d and creation, Keter is viewed and not Da’at. In diagrams of the Tree of Life, Keter is always shown. Da’at is either not shown or represented with a ‘dotted’ circle.
As expressed in the writings of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov:
Keter and Da’at are respectively the internal and external manifestations of the same concept … In relation to Chokmah and Binah, Da’at represents an external manifestation. Keter thus contains Chokmah, Binah and Da’at within itself in a transcendent unity. This is expressed in a very powerful gemmatria (numerical equivalent): the total numerical value of Chokmah (73) plus Binah (67) plus Da’at (480) is 620, which is the exact value of Keter. (1)
The forehead is associated with the Sefirah of Keter, alluding to the hidden powers of the mind, yet because it can be “revealling,” it is also associated with Da’at, for as we have seen Da’at is the external manifestation of Keter. (2)
Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz adds:
Daat is not just the accumulation of the results of chokhmah and binah; it also has an active function: to summarize and deduce. It fixes in the soul the picture that is absorbed by chokhmah and developed by binah, rendering their constantly changing processes into a focused awareness. Daat is thus the faculty to reach conclusions. (3)
The Orthodox Jewish sect of CHaBaD is based on the concept of the helping Jews in this ‘return.’ Thus, their name is an acronym based on the upper Sefirot with Da’at:
CHa = Chokmah
Ba = Binah
D = Da’at
Returning to the Path of the One, Neo requires Da’at/Knowledge of one level in order to connect to the Yesod/Foundation of the next. In the second movie (Matrix Reloaded) it gets more complicated as Neo is now dealing with characters that represent the “Mochin,” the higher “intellectual” Sefirot of Binah, Chokmah and Keter.
Neo requires a certain “Da’at” to gain access to the Oracle at this new level. (In the first movie, he connected with at a lower level – the aspect of Binah within the world of Yetzirah.) In the second movie, he is connecting at the level of Beriah – represented by his ‘vanishing’ to the eyes of Morpheus, Trinity and Link who were tracking him.
Subsequent to this, Neo needs to attain a second type of Da’at to get access to the Architect. These two higher levels of Da’at are respectively represented by Seraph (who represents Da’at leading to the Oracle) and the Keymaker (Da’at leading to the Architect.) In the movie, each of these individuals holds a “key” needed by Neo to access the next world. They are “means to each end.”
Merovingian The Keymaker himself – his very nature is a means. It is not an end. And so to look for him is to be looking for a means to do… what?
Seraph and the Keymaker both express their relationship with Neo in terms of Da’at:
Seraph: You do not truly know (da’at) someone until you fight them.
The Keymaker: I know (da’at) because I must know (da’at). It is my purpose. It is the reason I am here.
Da’at at this higher level of the Mochin, presents itself in two ways in classical kabbalah – a “lower” Da’at that connects the attributes of Ze’ir Anpin to Binah (Neo’s connection to the Oracle via Seraph) and an “upper” Da’at that connects Binah to Chokhmah (Neo’s connection to the Architect via the Keymaker).
Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh explains as follows:
In general, 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–Chochmah and Binah. 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.
Of this level of da’at it is said (Proverbs 24:4): “the rooms are filled with da’at.” “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 ofda’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. (4)
Note that the lower Da’at is said to unify the upper intellect (via Binah) to the “six” middot, via a ‘key.” The Matrix movies make generous use of the key and door metaphors.
An overview of the path of the tzadik (Neo, “the One”) goes like this, with Neo attaining Da’at of one level before going through a door to the next level:
- Attaining Da’at that there is something wrong with the world
- Opening the door of his apartment to the “choice of the day” (Choi and Dujour)
- Experiencing the connection to Malkut/Trinity who opens the door to Morpheus
- Attaining Da’at that the Matrix exists and connecting to the six Sefirot of Zeir Anpin (Morpheus and his crew)
- Attaining the “lower Da’at” of the Mochin (Seraph, who opens the door to the Oracle)
- Experiencing Binah (Oracle)
- Attaining the upper Da’at of the Mochin (Keymaker, who opens the door to the Architect)
- Experiencing Chokmah (Architect)
Neo must “fight” Morpheus as part of “knowing” more of the world of the Matrix that he has only limited knowledge of. Also, when Neo first encounters Seraph he is both welcomed by him and also fought by him. This is a seeming “contradiction” with Da’at being helpful yet fighting you.
As told to Neo by his “temporary antagonist”:
Seraph: You do not truly know someone until you fight them.
This is because Da’at, as with Yesod has elements of both Chesed and Gevurah within it:
It is explained in Kabbalah and Hassidism that da’at itself is an essential paradox, for on the one hand, it contains the characteristic of closeness and connection (in Kabbalah, the chassadim of da’at) while on the other hand it contains the characteristic of distance and rejection (the gevurot of da’at). (5)
Finally, it is very interesting to compare how Neo;
- Had to fight Seraph to be allowed to enter and see the Oracle (as the level of ‘heaven’).
- Ends up in the corridor with many doors leading to the one to the Oracle (on the park bench).
- From there she directs him to the final path to the Architect sitting on his “throne?”
This process is found in this text:
Zohar, Shemoth 209b – But the heaven which is over the Holy Land is not ruled by any chieftain or any other power, but is in the sole charge of the Holy One, blessed be He, who Himself directs the affairs of that land from that heaven. Each heaven is provided with a certain number of portals, and the charge of each chieftain extends from one portal to the next, and he may not encroach on the sphere of his fellow-chieftain by even so much as a hairbreadth, except he receive authorization to exercise dominion over his neighbour; when this happens one king on earth obtains power over another. There is, besides, in the centre of the whole of the heavens, a door called G’bilon; underneath that door are seventy other doors, with seventy chieftains keeping guard, at a distance from it of two thousand cubits, so that no one should come near it. From that door, again, there is a path mounting higher and ever higher until it reaches the Divine Throne.
- Anatomy of the Soul, Chaim Kramer, Breslov Research Institute, Jerusalem, 1998, pp. 132-133.
- ibid p. 318.
- Opening the Tanya, Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, Jossey-Bass, 2003, p. 116.