We do this countless times a day, but hardly wonder at the amazing process that takes place when we accumulate knowledge. How does a spark of an idea develop into a concept to which we cling without a doubt?
The word chochma is often translated in Hebrew as “wisdom,” but in the process of forming an idea, it is only the first step to knowledge. The highest of Divine Attributes, Chochma gives us the spark of an idea. That little lightbulb that appears over the head of cartoon characters, or Archimedes’ expression “Eureka!” express this new idea as it is expressed through chochma. However, all initial ideas need to be developed and incorporated into the mind before they can become knowledge.
Bina means “understanding,” but in this process, Bina refers to the gradual development of an idea, working out the details and figuring out pros and cons and a plan of action. Bina takes an idea and works out all of its ramifications before it is comprehended.
Daat, is often translated as “knowledge” but, in this process, it deals more with comprehension. When an idea has developed beyond its initial stage, and its ramifications have been fully comprehended and worked out, it is now a real idea or knowledge that can be comprehended and imparted to others. Once an idea has reached the level of Daat, it is a true entity.
As with many other aspects of Kabbala, these attributes are associated with male and female energies, and can tell us something about the relationship between men and women. Chochma is male and refers to the seed of the idea, which, once implanted, needs the nurturing of the feminine Bina analysis to develop it before it becomes a concept apprehended by Daat. Creating a concept is like having a baby, in a sense. This process demonstrates how men and women think and communicate. When a man has an idea, he usually needs to “bounce it off” his wife so she can work out all of the ramifications. Together, a man and a woman can achieve daat, or knowledge, because they harmonize their thoughts to create true entities.