In this question Bruce James ponders "How can I know a Rav has Daas Torah". I am wondering what is the earliest source that gave this concept its name?

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    Can you define the specific concept whose origin you want sourced? Or are you just asking about the words?
    – Double AA
    May 28, 2015 at 15:11
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    @GershonGold Like who first gave a certain concept that name? Why don't you edit your post to clarify what the concept is and what you want to know about it? That way others will understand your question and you won't get answers that you don't want, wasting both your time, my time, and the answerer's time.
    – Double AA
    May 28, 2015 at 15:19
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    It's often quoted that Rav Yisroel Salanter was the first to infuse the meaning into the words May 28, 2015 at 15:33
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    @DoubleAA I don't see that anybody's time is truly wasted. Even the answers based on misunderstandings of the OP's original intent can be quite informative to the MY world at large, arguably even more so than had the question been narrowly defined.
    – Loewian
    May 28, 2015 at 16:39
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    @loewian Depends if the answer gets to stay around. As it is now, the answer posted doesn't answer the question, which may subject it to deletion. Also it's not about narrow or broad here as much as precision. An individual post may be indeed more informative were this a free-for-all, but site quality as a whole would quickly diminish, a net loss in my opinion.
    – Double AA
    May 28, 2015 at 17:03

2 Answers 2


The clearest earliest source we have for the modern concept of Daas Torah can be found in "Chafetz Chaim Al Hatorah". Rav Shmuel Greineman quotes in the name of the Chafetz Chaim:

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It describes a Rabbinic perception, derived entirely from Torah, non-secular sources, which is then able to provide a resolution to all worldly problems.

Source from Rabbi Anthony Manning.

Although, Rav Hillel Goldberg in "Between Berlin and Slobodka" and in Tradition (23:4 summer 1988) "Israel Salanter and Orhot Zadikkim Restructuring Mussar Literature" claims the source is even earlier and is attributed to Rav Yisroel Salanter the founder of the Mussar movement.

However, Lawrence Kaplan disputes this claim.


Tanya Igeress HaKodesh 22 here and here mentions a new fad where people ask Rabbis for advice in mundane matters and bemoans this behavior saying such advice is reserved for real Neviim.

This is what is usually meant when people say Daas Torah.

The question you linked to is mislabeled IMHO. He discussing bans and prohibitions which are well within the jurisdiction of the Rabbinic community, but for some reason these Rabbis don't seem to be too good at it.

(Ty to Yishai DoubleAA and Hodofhod for corrections and links)

  • Although Daas Torah may be used about non-Halachic or Rabbinic issues, it is also (in my experience) used about Rabbinic issues as well, especially areas of Halacha that deal with interpersonal issues.
    – Yishai
    May 28, 2015 at 16:17
  • @Yishai Anything outside the realm of halacha can be called mundane can't it? If the interpersonal issue has a halachic name like lashon hara or shalom or the like, it is a halachic issue. If people call that daas Torah its kinda like saying skipping out of work early without telling your boss is a yashrus issue, not gezel. But I can't argue on the reality if that's what you see.
    – user6591
    May 28, 2015 at 16:23
  • I think usages of the term in that context come from people who are favorable to the concept, so the distinction between Halacha and non-halachic advice is blurry and perhaps irrelevant to them.
    – Yishai
    May 28, 2015 at 17:06
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    I hear that. It's also favorable to sheep who like being led, anywhere, any way. So long as they don't have to stop and think about where they are going.
    – user6591
    May 28, 2015 at 17:21

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