Remember What Amalek Did – Chapter 4

Now, the G-dly soul also consists of two additional levels that are higher than the aspects of Nefesh, Ruach and Neshamah. These are the Chaya and Yechidah. The three lower levels, Nefesh, Ruach and Neshamah, are each invested in their respective organs; the brain, the heart and the liver, as stated in the Zohar[1]. However, the lights of Chaya and Yechidah cannot be limited within organs. Rather, they are the aspect of encompassing lights that are altogether uncontainable in vessels, as written[2], “Only in the Image (Tzelem) shall a man walk”. The letters lamed (ל) and mem (מ) of the word Tzelem represent the aspects of Chaya and Yechidah, whereas the letter Tzaddik (צ) represents the three levels, Nefesh, Ruach and Neshamah.

As known, the explanation is that Chaya is the aspect of Chochmah (Insight) as the Zohar comments on the words[3], “And the man became a living (Chaya) soul”. This is the aspect of “Koach Mah” (כח מה – Potential Whatness) that is higher than the comprehension of Binah (Understanding) which is called, “The Neshamah in the brain”, mentioned above, as written[4], “Chochmah is found from nothingness” – from actual nothingness.

This is not the case however regarding the Neshamah, since it is an aspect of understanding and comprehension. It therefore is an aspect of “somethingness”, in which there is comprehension and understanding, such as the comprehension of the souls in Gan Eden (Paradise) or in the “World to Come”. Those are called Yesh (Something) because the souls delight in a way of tangible comprehension. Chochmah, on the other hand, is the aspect of Ein (Nothingness) since it cannot be grasped in a way of tangible comprehension altogether.

As known, the explanation is that Chochmah is in a way of seeing and Binah is in a way of hearing. Hearing cannot be compared to seeing, in that hearing is only the understanding and comprehension of “how” something is from its explanation, but “what” it actually is can never be grasped. [It can only be grasped in the imagination. In other words, according to “how” it was explained to him, that is “how” he imagines it to be. However, in essence, a person who sees something with his eyes sees “what” it actually is.]

This may be compared to a person who sees the king and his greatness. He sees what he truly is, as he is, and no longer needs the explanations of others in praise of the king’s greatness, regarding how he is and what he is etc. This is because whatever they may tell him cannot compare to what he actually sees with his own eyes. In other words, hearing simply cannot be compared to seeing. This is sufficient for the understanding.

Through this we can understand the fundamental difference between the Chochmah and the Binah of a person’s soul. Binah is a special power in the G-dly soul specifically for the intellectual understanding of G-dliness. This is the power of explanation. Through Binah one can bring all manner of comprehension of G-dliness close to the mind with clear and logical explanations, until it is truly grasped in a way that is devoid of error, so much so, that any person of sound mind will understand it.

This is comparable to hearing about something from afar, in that unlike sight, it only is intellectual knowledge and grasp. Thus HaShem appears to him from afar, only as he imagines Him in his brain, the organ for comprehension, and though he may direct his intentions to the truth of the matter, nonetheless, hearing is not at all comparable to seeing.

The aspect of Chochmah, on the other hand, is the aspect of sight and is totally above the comprehension of the mind. Rather, it is the matter of recognizing and knowing the essential being (the whatness) of the Divine light as it actually is in the essential Self of HaShem in regard to the imminent or transcendent aspects of Atzilut or higher. He knows and recognizes it all as if he beholds it with tangible sight. This is called, “Seeing with the mind’s eye” and is similar to the statement, “Who is wise (Chacham)? He who sees what is born” – as if he tangibly sees it! Thus, with his mind’s eye he beholds what is destined to be. This sight similarly applies to whatever is greatly hidden in man and beyond the reach of his intellect or power to reason. It can only be seen with the mind’s eye.

Likewise, regarding the matter of the “Upper Unity” or the “Lower Unity”, it is seen with the mind’s eye within one’s heart, as stated in Zohar[5], “With the mind’s eye, for the heart can see all”, or like the verse[6], “My heart has seen much wisdom and knowledge.” (The Zohar also states[7], “Through the secret of Chochmah we have seen…”) It is specifically then, that one can come to recognize the true being (whatness) of it as it actually is above, rather than how it merely is grasped and understood in the mind.

This then is the matter of Chochmah being like sight, in which it is not necessary to conceptually explain the G-dly matter at all, because he sees the truth of how it truly is in his mind’s eye. This is as David stated[8], “My G-d, I shall acknowledge Your truth etc.” It then becomes unnecessary to come to deep intellectual comprehension until his mind also grasps it. This is because no matter how much one deepens his understanding; he can never grasp the ultimate truth as it actually is. This is because his understanding only comes from intellectual comprehension and as stated above about one who sees the king, he needs no further explanations. Therefore, for all the above reasons, we see that hearing cannot be compared to seeing. This is sufficient for the understanding.

(Now, there are two kinds of sight here. The first is the sight of the mind’s eye in which it altogether is unnecessary to come to intellectual comprehension. The second is the sight of the mind that follows comprehension, in which one’s former understanding and comprehension becomes negated. This is the meaning of the words[9], “Be wise with understanding”, referring to the wisdom (Chochmah) of seeing, that follows the negation of the comprehension (Binah) of hearing. This is like a person who comes to see the king after he heard of his greatness. His original understanding of the king becomes completely negated, because hearing about the king cannot at all compare to seeing the king. However, in its source Binah has a root which is even higher than the sight of Chochmah, as written[10], “Be understanding with wisdom”, as explained elsewhere.)



[1] Tikkunei Zohar, end of Tikkun 22

[2] Psalms 39:7

[3] Genesis 2:7

[4] Job 28:12

[5] Ra’ayah Mehemna, Mishpatim 115b

[6] Ecclesiastes 1:16

[7] See footnote 34

[8] Psalms 71:22

[9] Sefer Yetzirah, chapter 1, mishnah 4

[10] Ibid

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