The Knowledge Of G-D – 2:12

There are two general levels in Binah. These are Binah and Tvunah.

Binah is the aspect of analysis and comprehension.  In contrast, Tvunah is the aspect of the extension of the light of comprehension. This is to say that because one has a good and solid grasp into the depth of the subject it spreads forth from the essential comprehension itself and brings about insights and applications in many different matters which are separate from the essential comprehension, in and of itself.  Such a person is called an Ish Tvunah (A man of Tvunah understanding), as in the verse, “A man of Tvunah draws out the deep waters”.  This means that he can bring out the deep waters, which represent the depth of Binah, into state of revelation, in many different ways.  This is similar to a shepherd who draws water from the depth of the well, and brings it to the level of the sheep, to quench their thirst.

A man of Tvunah is able bring out a very deep and lofty concept (The Omek Hamoosag), which is beyond the level of the vast majority of people, from its state of concealment into open revelation. He brings it within their grasp, so that it appears to them as if it was never deep at all.  This is similar to a shepherd who brings forth life giving water from the very depths of the well to his flock. This is to say that he has the ability to bring the very depths of even the deepest and loftiest concepts within the grasp of all people.

However, one who is not an Ish Tvunah, though he may grasp the concept himself, will not be able to bring it down to the grasp of others. Moreover, he, himself, will only understand it as it applies to this subject alone, but not other subjects.  Even though his comprehension has a length, breadth and depth, nonetheless, it all remains within comprehension itself, without spreading forth to other subjects or other people who are not on his level of understanding.  For example, many professors who are experts in their field may not be capable of applying it to other fields, and may have difficulty bringing the concept down, within the grasp of their students.

To further illustrate, the Talmud is replete with a great deal of dialogue and analysis with much reasoning and explanation into the subjects under discussion. However, though Talmud study involves comprehension in a way of Binah, nonetheless, actual Halachic (legal) rulings, (either to the positive or to the negative) do not necessarily come to final resolution.  This is because the intellect of the Talmud is completely intellectually oriented without necessarily spreading forth into practical application. Applied concepts exist there, but only in the way of a Heyulie, in which the ramifications and applications are not yet resolved.

A clearer example of this is the fact that the original invention of the steam engine took place approximately 2000 years ago, during the time of the Greeks.  However, though they understood the scientific principles of the steam engine and actually built a working prototype, it never dawned on them to apply it in practical terms, such as harnessing its power to operate machinery etc., thus delaying the advent of the industrial revolution by 1800 years.  They possessed Binah, which is the analysis and comprehension, but lacked Tvunah, which is the application and revelation.

We therefore understand that in essence, the power of Tvunah is the spreading forth and revelation of the light of Binah into separate matters.  This includes the practical application of a concept, or the birth of heartfelt emotions from intellectual understanding, or the ability to bring out and explain a concept on many different levels.  All these constitute the spreading forth of the light of Binah into something separate.

This faculty of Tvunah is gained by deep comprehension into the subject, which is gained only through the aspect of Hitbonenut – repeated analysis and contemplation into the subject matter until one understands all the ins and outs of a subject thoroughly, to its very depth.  His ability to bring the concept out in many different ways and explanations, or his ability to apply the concept, sheds light on just how well the depth of the concept has settled in his mind.  Moreover, how deeply he understands the concept will dictate just how far down he will be able to bring it when he explains it to others.

(From the above it is understood that just as there is a length, breadth and depth in Chochmah, Binah and Da’at, so too is there a length, breadth and depth in Tvunah.  Furthermore, as explained before, according to the depth will be the length and breadth. So too in Tvunah, according to the depth will be its length and breadth.)

(From the above it is self evident, that because of a lack of Tvunah, many who study Kabbalah, (Such as the chaining down of the worlds, as detailed in Part One) are at a loss of how it applies to their daily lives or what to do with this body of knowledge, altogether. It seems to them to be a very interesting intellectual endeavor, but with no bearing on “reality”.  Eventually, they will ask themselves, “Of what use is this knowledge?”  This is due to their lack of Tvunah. Any comprehension they may have achieved remains as it is, without spreading forth into their emotions or actions, and without any application to real life whatsoever. As explained above, the solution to this problem is to go back to the beginning and learn it thoroughly, carefully analyzing and contemplating all of its facets until one gains a strong grasp of them. Eventually, Tvunah will result, automatically, according to the depth of the understanding.)

From all of the above, we understand the order of several things:

1) There must first be an activation of the faculty of Da’at – attention and connection of the mind to the subject matter, to the exclusion of all else.

2) This initial mental focus is a vessel for the next level, which is in Binah and constitutes Hitbonenut, the contemplative analysis into the given and revealed explanations of the subject. Nonetheless, the depth is still concealed.

3) The Hitbonenut (Analysis and Contemplation) is a vessel for the next level which is the aspect of Tvunah.  This comes about when he actually grasps the very depth of the concept itself, to its essence, as a result of his deep contemplation and analysis.  Because he has grasped onto the actual Heyulie depth of the concept, his mind will immediately expand with all sorts of innovative insights, explanations and applications of the concept in regard to other matters.  The extent of the insights and applications depends on how well he has grasped the concept to its very depth, and is an automatic result of the contemplation.

4) Moreover, the faculty of Tvunah arouses the emotions of love and fear of G-d and brings them to life.

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