The Knowledge Of G-D – 2:8

From the above it is understood, that the aspect of Da’at, (Concentration), is only a vehicle and vessel for the aspect of Binah (Analytical Comprehension).

As mentioned above, the intellectual faculty of Da’at is the ability for concentration.  It is the ability to connect ones mind to a subject.  (This is also the faculty of interest because the interest in the subject is what gives rise to the connection and deep concentration into it. The focus and concentration will be commensurate to the amount of interest. The faculty of interest and desire is called Keter and the faculty of focus and concentration is called Da’at. However, in truth, they are one and the same, as we have just explained. They are two sides of the same coin, so to speak. Because of this, in the enumeration of the sefirot, if Keter is counted, Da’at is omitted and if Da’at is counted, Keter is omitted.

Now, in the faculty of Da’at – concentration, there also are the three dimensions of length, breadth and depth. There are people with broad concentration, and people with narrow concentration. This is to say that some people are interested in many different subjects whereas some specialize in one specific field. Those with broad Da’at will have a general knowledge in many fields but no expertise in any of them. Because their Da’at is broad it is also shallow. Those with narrow Da’at will be interested in one field and will develop a deep Da’at in it. They will become experts, but only in their field. Deep Da’at (Concentration) means that they are not easily distracted from the subject and shallow Da’at (Concentration) means they are easily distracted.

Furthermore, there are people with long concentration or short concentration.  For example, a child has a short Da’at – concentration. Therefore he does not have a deep attachment of his attention to anything.  This is why a child is fickle and desires a certain toy one minute, quickly tires of it and goes to the next toy. This is because he does not have a particularly strong connection to the object of his desire.

It is clear that Da’at is the aspect of the total focus of one’s mind to connect with the subject to the exclusion of all else.  Because of this, the face of a person who is concentrating deeply will become contracted and his brows will become furrowed etc.

In contrast, the aspect of Binah (Comprehension or Analysis) is the opposite of Da’at.  Rather than contraction and focus, it is an expansion of the mind with great breadth. For this reason Binah is called Rechovot HaNahar (The Expanse of the River).This is the close examination of all the many details and particulars of the subject.

From the above we understand that the faculty of Da’at (Concentration) is a vessel for the faculty of Binah (Analysis), and must precede it.  In other words, the ability for deep analysis will be commensurate to the depth of concentration.  One who does not have a deep concentration cannot penetrate to the very core of the subject.  He will only be capable of surface level understanding.  In contrast, one who has deep concentration will have the ability to analyze to the very depth of the subject and bring out new insights from its depth.

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