As seen (The Meaning of
Torah,) Torah is instruction and one cannot claim ultimate expertise in it.
Can one create in Torah?
Consider a piano composition. Does the composer actually create something from nothing (ex-nihilo?)
No, he or she is simply transposing an idea (sequence and format of musical notes) which pre-exists in the invisible database of all musical ideas.
The greatness of the composer is in the ability to access this (perhaps infinite – although a limited set of keys and controls, infinite number of combinations) source and convey the idea into the physical world. The composition is the composer’s interpretation of the musical idea.
The same is true for Torah lehavdil (to distinguish.) Torah is a creation (Chagiga 13b,) albeit an infinite one. We cannot be completely mechadesh (invent) anything; veain chadash tachas hashemesh (and there is nothing new under the sun) (Koheles 1:9.)
New ideas in Torah are connecting to the Source of all and transposing the idea into a meta-physical or physical format (thought, speech or writing.)
The difference between Torah and Chochma is, in Chochma one can be the first to think of something, ie. to bring the idea into this world, whereas in Torah, the potential of all ideas came through Moshe Rabeinu.
Moshe created the vessel for all Torah to follow (Gemora Menachos 29b – see Maharsha: Chidushei Agados – Matsoh leHakadosh Baruch Hu.)
Like the creator of the piano, Moshe brought the vessel of Torah down from the spiritual realms, so that now people could be mechadesh (innovate thoughts) in Torah.
Learning Torah is in essence, connecting with the Daas Elyon (Heavenly Thought) of Hashem (God.) The more one takes oneself out of the equation, the more one enters the realm of Torah consciousness. Perhaps that is why we say Yiras Hashem Otzaro – the fear of God is his store house (for Torah) (Yishaya 33:6.)
Maybe the human brain would not even have the natural capacity to hold all the knowledge that a gadol beTorah (Torah giant) holds.
One of the greatest achievements in learning is to come out with original thought and then discover that one of the Torah greats had already said this. In secular this could be deemed failure and not contributing anything to the discipline. In Torah, it means you have accessed the Daas Elyon. You have connected to royalty.
Maybe this is why Chazal (Chochomim zichroinam livracha – the sages of blessed memory) frequently quote verbatim without mentioning the source because it is Torah and once brought into the world it is in the public domain (notwithstanding kol haomer dover besheim omro… – whoever quotes in the name of the original source brings redemption into the world (Avos 6:6.)
For example the Shulchan Aruch is made up largely of quotes of the Rambam. Rashi on Chumash is largely quotes of Chazal.
In Torah the drive for truth is the purpose not expert status. Torah is insight into Hashem’s thought and revelation of it in the world.