The Ark of the Covenant, from the 1728 Figures de la Bible
“You shall overlay (the Ark) with pure gold, both outside and within” (Ex. 25:11). The Talmud (Yoma 72b) uses this verse to conclude that any scholar (Talmid Chacham)
who is not the same inside and outside is no Talmid Chacham
. But surely the characteristic of a scholar is scholarship. What do personal attributes have to do with the right to be called a scholar?
The answer is that one learns not only from a person’s book learning but from who they are. The way a Talmid Chacham ties his bootlaces is also said to be part of his being a Talmid Chacham. It is not what one knows but how the knowledge has shaped one’s whole being that creates a scholar.