לרפואת כ"ק מרן אד"ש
והגאון רבי משה בן רחל
The differences between Torah knowledge and secular knowledge can be explaind on many different levels. One difference is that when studying any secular wisdom there is nothing CREATIVE happening. One is just revealing a reality that is already in existence. When a scientist makes a discovery, he is just uncovering what was already dormant in nature from before and it was only human limitations that prevented it from being known until now. Also, secular wisdom is OUTSIDE of a person, it is external knowledge and information and has no inherent transformative powers.
Torah study, in contrast, is a CREATIVE exercise. One connects to the Source of existence and thereby is able to forge a unity with that Source, thus transforming his soul and being. Torah is the energy of the world and by learning Torah, one taps into that energy. By connecting to the Torah a person thereby connects to the root of the Torah, HKB"H, and that purifies him for all times.
[אורת הקודש א א]
On Chanuka we celebrate the redemption from galus Yavan. Greek wisdom, such as math and science, is descriptive. Torah wisdom is PRESCRIPTIVE. It strives to create a new world where idyllic reality prevails. That is why the Ramban says that there are no absolute proofs in the gemara. One can only prove an existing reality. Torah is so much more as it prescribes a futuristic reality and for that there can be no concrete scientific proofs.
That is the meaning of the words אין לנו רשות להשתמש בהם אלא לראותם בלבד - We may not use the lights but we SHOULD see them. The pasuk says כי עמך מקור חיים באורך נראה אור - With You [Hashem] is the source of life, from your light we will see light. Looking at the Chanuka lights, which is looking at the source of light and not what it shines upon, perfectly represents what Torah is. Torah is viewing reality from it's source - מיניה וביה.
In the words of Rav Hutner [Pachad Yitzchak 9/7]:
Compare Rav Kook's words:
כי כל עניני הקודש ממקור חיי החיים הם באים.
And his talmid Rav Hutner's words:
מכיון שמקור החיים נמצא אצלך, ממילא גם תפיסת אורך צריכה להיות תפיסה של מקור.... משום שאצלך מקור החיים על כן באורך נראה אור.
In the passages we quoted, Rav Kook stressed that Torah transforms the learner while Rav Hutner stressed that Torah transforms all of reality. But the common denominator is that secular wisdom merely describes what already is while Torah is transformative. When one studies Torah he merges with ultimate reality, enabling him to change it.
Of course, that is the difference between a Torah personality and one who lacks this quality. A Torah personality is ALWAYS looking for advancement, change and growth. Torah study accomplishes that. A non-Torah person doesn't need to create anything new. He is happy if the resources that already exist [such as money and shelter] will be transferred into his possession.
[See Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Kasirer - על התשובה במשנתו של הרב הוטנר, page 296]