The Knowledge Of G-D – 1:82

We must now understand the powers to divide and combine the letters of thought, on the third level which is “Thought of thought”.  Through this, we will gain insight into the source of the powers to divide and combine the letters of speech.

As explained earlier, Binah is the analytical comprehension and explanation of a subject to its length and breadth. When one is thinking into the depth of a subject, since his mind is into the depth of comprehension, it is not yet divided into actual divisions and combinations of letters. Rather, it is completely in Machshevet Sechel, which, as mentioned before, is the matter of thinking the meaning in a holistic manner. For example, when I think “car” and when an automobile mechanic thinks “car”, we are both holistically thinking the same thing.

Now, the “Five severities of Understanding”(Hey Gevurot D’Binah), are the ability to bring down the light of this thought into divisions of various combinations in a detailed manner of specifics, rather than only holistically.  We must therefore understand what the five Gevurot of Binah are.

These “Five Gevurot of Binah” are also known as “the protrusions of the seal” (Petoochei Chotam). When making a seal, or a stamp, one carves away the rubber leaving a protrusion of the remaining rubber, thus forming letters.  Likewise, the “Five Gevurot of Binah” represents the ability to remove part of the whole. The particulars that remain become the focal point and stand out, so to speak. For example, when an automobile designer or engineer needs to think about designing the next model of vehicle, he no longer thinks “car” holistically.  Now he thinks “engine” or “seats” etc. In effect, he has removed part of the whole, and now focuses on specifics.

(Nonetheless, he must still remember that he is thinking about the seat of a car, rather than any type of seat.  This ability, to remember the holistic overview even when he is focusing on the specifics, comes from Chochmah.  As mentioned earlier, Chochmah is the overview of the entire thing in a holistic way. It is for this reason that the power of memory specifically comes from Chochmah.)

Now, it is apparent from the above, that the function of the “Five Gevurot of Binah” is a matter of lessening and constriction. Nonetheless, the source of the power to combine the letters is actually higher than the power of the analytical comprehension of Binah which is the power to divide the letters. The source of the power to combine the letters is from Chochmah. This may be understood from the fact that a toddler, who does not yet have the ability to speak, nonetheless has the ability to choose between one thing and another. This is the power to divide. Because of this he can distinguish between one thing and another.  Nonetheless, since he cannot speak, it is not yet in letters of thought.

However, as soon as he is able to combine the letters in his thought, he will also have the ability to articulate them in speech.  (This is as mentioned earlier that the feet of Leah (The letters of thought) enter into the head of Rachel (The letters of speech).  This is to say that from speech of thought comes thought of speech.)  Furthermore, it is evident that when one articulates his thought in speech, in its combinations of letters, his ability to think actually becomes enhanced. This is because speech forces him to analyze it in his mind. This analysis is the power to divide and dissect the subject. When one is about to speak, as he is thinking how to articulate his thought, he is not thinking how to combine and formulate the words at all. Rather, he is analyzing the idea in his mind, tearing it apart and dissecting it. Only then can he speak. This is the meaning of the statement in Zohar that, “The mother (Binah-Understanding) lends the clothing (the five Gevurot) to the daughter (Malchut-Speech)”.

(This is also explained in the Zohar on the verse, “V’Kol HaTor Nishma B’Artzeinu – The voice of the dove is heard in our land”.  The word “Tor” means “dove”, but it is also the masculine form of Torah. This is referring to the Giver of the Torah. The Zohar explainsthat “Aretz” (land) refers to Malchut (Speech).  From this we understand that when one speaks the words of Torah, the voice of the Giver of the Torah is heard in his speech.  Furthermore, the Halacha (Torah law) requires that when learning Torah it is incumbent to articulate it in speech. This is for the above reason. In addition, as mentioned above, when one speaks something out loud, it helps him to think it better as well. This is because speech causes the divisions of the letters in the intellect, as mentioned above.)

From the above, it is clear that the source of the power to combine the letters is not in Binah at all. Rather, Binah is the source of the power to divide. The power to combine is from Chochmah, which is a higher source. We see that a child can distinguish and comprehend the difference between something good and something bad, or between what he likes and dislikes, even before he is capable of speech. However, even though he has the power to divide and comprehend, he cannot combine the letters of thought until he becomes capable of speech. This is because the power to combine is higher than the comprehension of Binah.

The five organs of speech of the mouth (the throat, palate, tongue, teeth and lips) divide the letters of speech exactly according to how they were divided and combined in thought.  (This is as explained above that “The mother (Binah) lends the clothing (the five Gevurot) to the daughter (Malchut)” etc.)  Nonetheless, it is also stated in the Zohar, that “The father (Chochmah-Insight) founded the daughter (Malchut-Speech)”.  In other words, whereas the power to divide the letters comes from Binah, the power to combine them comes from Chochmah.

Furthermore, this comes about automatically, as explained before, that the flash of intuition which brings everything together, comes about automatically.  For example, if while dismantling a watch, a person focuses and pays close attention, carefully scrutinizing each piece and noting its relationship to all the other components of the watch, he will automatically be able to put it back together.  Likewise the dividing of the letters, how the idea is dissected and analyzed, comes from the five Gevurot of Binah, whereas the combining of the letters, in which the words come together, comes about automatically from Chochmah. This is as explained before, that Chochmah and Binah are “The two lovers who never separate”. The one cannot function without the other. Likewise in order for language to take place, both the active dividing of the letters through Binah and the automatic combining of the letters through Chochmah must take place.

In summary, there are two general powers in thought, and two particular powers in thought.  The first general power is the power of comprehension, to distinguish and comprehend the difference between one thing and another.  This is the analytical thought of Binah.  The second general power is the power to bring things together.  This is the flash of intuition which comes automatically, from Chochmah.

The first particular power in thought is the power to divide the letters, which comes from the five Gevurot of Binah.  The second particular power in thought is the power to combine and formulate these letters into words, which comes automatically from Chochmah.  (This is called the ‘thread of thought’, which travels through the word, sentence or thought, thus holding it together.)

In speech, both powers are revealed simultaneously. This is to say that the divisions of the letters of speech are exactly according to the divisions of the letters of thought.  Nonetheless, the combinations of the letters are specifically from Chochmah.  It is for this reason that although the child may have thought, and be able to comprehend the difference between one thing and another, he cannot think in combinations of letters until he is able to speak in combinations of letters.  Therefore, when we said before that “A child does not have thought”, we were specifically referring to the letters of thought.

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