The Knowledge Of G-D – 2:14

It is clear from all the above, that it is specifically the faculty of Binah (Analysis and comprehension), which arouses and enlivens all the other faculties.

When one analyzes a subject greatly, he will firstly come to understand it in all its inner and outer details (Binah).  Hitbonenut (Analysis) is the power of the mind to take things apart. Through this, one automatically activates the higher mental power of Chochmah (Insight), which is the power of the mind to bring things together, and he will have a flash of insight and understanding into the depth of the concept.  This is a flash of Chochmah (Insight). This shows how Hitbonenut (Analysis) activates Chochmah (Insight), both Chochmah in general and Chochmah of Binah in particular, as mentioned above.

Now, Hitbonenut (Analysis) is an act which one must actively choose to do. On the other hand, one cannot choose to have a flash of insight. Rather, that is the automatic result of Hitbonenut.  Actually, through Hitbonenut, one can reach even higher into the depth and essence of the concept itself.  In other words, he can comprehend the very essence of the subject and therefore bring out totally novel explanations and relate it to entirely different subjects.

Furthermore, this even activates the general sefirah of Keter itself. This is to say that the understanding will bring him great pleasure (Atik Yomin) and a great desire (Arich Anpin) which will motivate him to further his understanding. This in turn will cement his great attachment to the subject of his understanding (Da’at).  This in turn arouses the emotions of the heart, Chesed and Gevurah, the love for it and the fear of being separated from it. These in turn bring one to Netzach, Hod, and Yesod which are the gut emotional responses which compel one to act upon it, which finally leads to action (Malchut).

We, therefore, see that Hitbonenut (Analysis and contemplation) is the governing faculty in our service of G-d. It is specifically in the faculty of Hitbonenut that we can choose to serve G-d.  In other words, one can not choose to be interested in G-d (Da’at).  He can not choose to have a flash of inspiration or insight into G-dliness (Chochmah). Neither can he choose to have true love and fear of G-d (Midot) nor a pleasure and desire in G-d (Atik & Arich).  Finally, action alone (Malchut) without intellect and emotions, is similar to a body without a soul.

However, our only choice lies in choosing to try to understand G-dliness.  Furthermore, we have an obligation to try to understand, as stated, “Da Et Elokai Avicha – Know the G-d of your father”.  Maimonides actually begins the code of Jewish law with this commandment, for it is the prerequisite to all other commandments.

This is clearly understood from the statement in Isaiah, “The ox knows his master, the donkey knows his masters trough, Israel does not know (Yada, i..e Da’at), my People do not contemplate (Hitbonan)”.  The following verse immediately continues, “Woe, you sinful nation, a folk laden with iniquity etc.”  In other words, the direct result of lack of contemplation is sin and iniquity.  The lack of Hitbonenut (Contemplation) results in the diametric opposite of what may be achieved, as explained above and as will be explained at great length in Part Three of this book.

In other words, when one does not contemplate the teachings detailed in Part One, firstly, he will not understand it at all (Binah).  Therefore, the power of Chochmah (Insight) will not be activated. He will not have a flash of insight and understanding into the Truth of reality, whatsoever.  Furthermore, he will not arouse the faculty of Keter towards G-d. This is to say that because he is devoid of understanding, he will not have pleasure (Atik Yomin) or desire (Arich Anpin) in serving G-d. Because of this he will not have an attachment to G-d (Da’at).  Because his Da’at was never aroused, the emotions in his heart (Chesed and Gevurah), which are the love of G-d and the fear of being separated from Him, will also never be aroused.  Because of this his Netzach, Hod, and Yesod (The gut emotions which compel one to act upon his feelings), will also not be aroused.   Because of this, there will either be no final action (Malchut), or the final action will be like a body without a soul.  Whatever commandments (Mitzvot) he performs, will be done completely by rote, with no life or enthusiasm, whatsoever.

Moreover, those who attempt to work themselves into an emotional froth of forced enthusiasm and who attempt to arouse pleasure and emotional excitement in their Divine service, without the prerequisite of Hitbonenut, are making a grave error.  Because they skip this necessary prerequisite, whatever emotion and interest they hype themselves into, are nothing more than delusions, for they have no true interest in G-d Himself. They are not truly interest in Truth or the true nature of reality (G-d).  In essence they are nothing more than pleasure seekers, who attempting to excite themselves and give themselves a false sense of fulfillment.  This is similar to an actor who has been instructed to act as if he has just won the lottery. He jumps up and down and shouts with complete self abandon, as if he is the happiest guy on earth.  However, he may not be happy at all.  After all, he did not really win the lottery. In actuality, he could actually be a very depressed person in his real life.  Although he appears to be the happiest person on earth, it is completely false.

In the same way, it is impossible to have true emotions about G-d just by working oneself into an emotional high. True emotions toward G-d can only come from knowledge of G-d, and knowledge of G-d can only be achieved through contemplation (Hitbonenut).

We see that there are two general errors in the service of G-d. There are those who deceive themselves, and hype themselves into an excited frenzy in their service of G-d, but without any Hitbonenut.   Then there are those who do not even do that. They serve G-d completely by rote, in a robotic manner, with no emotion or “life” at all.  They, literally, are like bodies without souls.

How can these errors be corrected?  Only through contemplation (Hitbonenut) on how G-d encompasses (Transcends) all worlds, and permeates all worlds, as detailed in Part One of this book.  All one must concern himself with is the act of contemplation of G-d.  Everything else follows as an automatic result of Hitbonenut, as explained.  Now, surely, if the result of not doing Hitbonenut is, “Woe, a sinful people, a nation laden with iniquity”, then certainly, the result of doing Hitbonenut is righteousness, truth and The Knowledge of G-d.

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