Dissecting Intelligence

Is Chochma Beyond Intelligence?


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Hebrew Text

English Translation

Short Summary

Though chochma is cognitive intelligence, within it radiates an essential resonance that is beyond comprehension, thus rendering it as a fundamentally different entity than binah.

Long Summary

Question: Chochma after all (at least in its lower levels) is cognitive intelligence. So how can we say that it is fundamentally different and greater than binah, which is the comprehension of the point of chochma (and every comprhension is only in the existence of the comprehended object, not its essence)?

Ostensibly one can say that chochma's relationship to cognition is due to a diminished state of energy in chochma itself in order to allow it to be understood in binah (thus retaining its essential superiority to binah). But in addition to the apparent understanding in this discussion that chochma in general (even in its lowest levels) is essentially higher than binah, we cannot say that chochma's cognition is due just to diminished energy, because the transition from chochma as an essential experience (like sight) to cognition is a fundamental change of "personality" (shinui ha'mehus), and we cannot say that an entity can change its essential personality from one level to the next within that entity.

We will understand this by prefacing that chochma and binah are called "ayin" (substanceless) and "yesh" (substance): Contrary to cause and effect (ilah v'olul) in which the effect exists due to its comprehension and appreciation of its cause, a "yesh" (binah) exists as a result of it NOT comprehending its source (chochma), which is precisely why it has substance. But how can we say that chochma and binah are that far apart when the conceptual point of chochma is comprehended in binah, and all of binah is an understanding of chochma? We therefore must conclude that the essence of radiates even in the cognitive concept of chochma, which cannot be comprehended by binah, thus even the essential cognition of chochma is concealed from binah like an "ayin." Only an external expression of chochma is revealed in binah, in a diminished form, but binah is not just lacking the abundant energy of chochma; it also lacks the essential resonance of chochma, which is totally concealed once the comprehension begins.


  • energy
  • chochma
  • binah
  • intellect
  • ileh v'eolul
  • cause and effect
  • yesh m'ayin


Chochma as intelligence or beyond.






Points to Consider