By Amy Singer, Ph.D., Diana Greninger and Kemberlee Bonnet
The Kabbalah is an ancient, complex and respected Jewish study of how the universe and life work; it increases awareness and it is a way of connecting various aspects of life.. In modern times, the study of Kabbalah is less esoteric, as many individuals from all backgrounds study and apply its teachings to their everyday lives. There are 10 attributes (Sephirot) characteristic to the Kabbalah, which together result in “truth.” One of these attributes, the topic for this article, is referred to as DA’AT, which translates to “knowledge.” Kabbalah is concerned with “receiving,” therefore the DA’AT component of Kabbalah means receiving knowledge.
In a series of articles we will discuss ways in which the 10 sacred attributes of Kabbalah can be integrated into to litigation, beginning with DA’AT. Our primary purpose is to examine how jurors and judges will receive the maximum amount of information needed to make a decision. Trial lawyers need to have a connection with the jury and the judge in order to prevail. In order to create this connection, trial lawyers need to get everyone on the same page. They can do so by using concepts of Kabbalah. We see this to be appropriate; since Kabbalah is applied to major aspects of many people’s lives, it can apply in the context of litigation, as litigation is such a major aspect of our lives.
Importance of Knowledge and Acquisition
Why is knowledge important? First, let’s explain knowledge as it is defined in DA’AT.
Kabbalah defines DA’AT as an attribute that is achieved when we connect an individual or individuals with information; a connection that guides them to interpret the information. It is the foundation we need to have in order for people to learn. If the jurors and judge don’t know what you are talking about, they are not going to find in your favor. When an individual experiences DA’AT, he or she experiences great insight and elevation. They feel inspiration and motivation, and a higher form of realization.
In litigation, this translates to aiding jurors in connecting to your case as they receive the information though evidence and testimony. Simply providing information through evidence and testimony is not enough. As they receive information through evidence and testimony, they might not necessary know what is trying to be conveyed; that’s where DA’AT comes in. The teachings of DA’AT tell us how to connect the information to jurors’ personal experiences.
For example, if you say ‘baby’ most jurors will visualize a baby in their lives. Use concepts of DA’AT as described above to help them connect the dots and understand the difference between that baby in their lives and the one with cerebral palsy you are referring to so they can acquire the knowledge needed to later understand what this baby and his or her family might be experiencing in terms of pain and suffering. If they can’t connect it to something they’ve seen or heard in their personal lives, it does not help them. As an attorney, it’s your job to go above and beyond simply presenting the facts of your case; you must get jurors to connect with your case and your client, which will make them more likely to find in your favor. People like people like them. In a plaintiff’s personal injury case, for example, it is imperative for jurors to connect with the knowledge that it could have happened to them or one of their loved ones.
DA’AT also involves, “conscious intellect.” As applied in litigation, jurors gain knowledge through conscious intellect, meaning that one’s perception is gained through sight or life experiences, of which they will base their decisions. For example, a witness might talk about a dog, but unless jurors are shown a picture of said dog, they might not necessarily be on the same page. Some might think of a pit-bull while others might think of a terrier. They need a picture in order to connect the information to what they’ve seen or heard in their personal lives. This is a simple example, in litigation it often gets much more complicated. The DA’AT has occurred if a juror is presented with evidence (collecting) and guided through the evidence (e.g. via expert witness) resulting in being able to accurately interpret (connecting) or vice versa as exemplified above. People operate based on what they already know, grounded in their own experiences and building on that. Therefore in order to connect the dots, jurors and judges need a picture of the concept followed by an anchor (life experience they can relate to).
The key to imparting knowledge to jurors and judges is to aid them in connecting the dots. Language is nothing more than concepts through the use of symbols. More often than not people misunderstand information because they visualize something different than what the presenter had in mind. The concept of DA’AT can help you ensure that your concept is clearly understood and everyone is on the same page.
Of course these are only a few ways to apply DA’AT to litigation context. The foundation is that jurors have to connect with the collection of facts that you present. As described, this connection is registered at a much deeper and introspective level, and when successfully accomplished, unleashes juror insight and enthusiasm; it serves as a catalyst to motivate jurors to delve even deeper into the facts.
The connection process can be thought of in the same way that Kabbalah is historically taught; the attorney as the teacher, jurors as trusted students, with information passed to the student in maximum confidence. By beginning with DA’AT, then following the correct pathways of the remaining sacred attributes, you will result in juror realization of truth: Justice.