The word bina is related to the word livnot, meaning “to build”, for this is the essential quality of bina. The abstract, non-dimensional, incomprehensible point that represents chochma is expanded and built into a three-dimensional structure, sometimes compared to the physical dimensions of length, breadth, and depth. In the context of sefirot they signify three aspects of bina, each with its own unique relationship to the other sefirot.
1) The “depth” of bina is the aspect of bina which expresses its relationship to its source in chochma. The depth of bina derives from chochma; thus chochma and bina together are called “the two beloved friends that never part,” for where there is chochma, bina invariably follows. The Zohar therefore describes the relationship of chochma and bina as “the supernal point (chochma) within its palace (bina).”
2) The “breadth” of bina signifies the aspect of expansion, which is the definitive characteristic of bina. In this context, the sages of the Talmud (Chagiga 14a) describe bina as “hameivin davar mi toch davar” — “understanding one thing from another”. In other words, what is contained within one concept (the word toch in Hebrew means “within”) in chochma, is expanded into an entire conceptual framework of inter-related ideas in bina.
3) The “length” of bina describes its relationship to the sefirot below it. The extent to which bina effects the other sefirot is called its “length”. Obviously, the further bina has to reach in order to affect the lower sefira, the more powerful it must be in its original state.
Thus bina can be defined as the expansion of the initial point of chochma into a full-blown and comprehensible revelation of the Divine Light.…the stream
becomes a mighty river
An analogy is used in Kabbala to describe the relationship of keter, chochma and bina: From the great depth of waters, called in Hebrew the tehom rabba, which reside under the earth (signifying keter), a spring of water spurts out. The spring is connected by hidden channels to the great depth of waters, and the spring is their first revelation; the spring represents chochma. The bubbling spring forms a trickle, and the trickle becomes a stream and the stream becomes a mighty river; the river represents bina. The source or depth of the river is the spring of chochma, and corresponds to the power of the flow out from chochma. The breadth of the river is the amount that the river expands over a wide area. The length of the river is the distance from its original source, via many levels and stages (signifying the other sefirot), until the river eventually flows into the sea, which represents malchut, as will be explained.
There is another analogy used to explain the relationship between chochma and bina: A drop of semen, which potentially contains the life of hundreds, and even hundreds of thousands of people, is analogous to chochma. And the womb which receives the drop of sperm is analogous to bina, which expands and develops and builds that single drop of potential life into a fully developed person with all the necessary limbs and faculties.
A further analogy: Imagine that you are walking in an unfamiliar place on a very dark night. Suddenly, a flash of lightning illuminates the whole area, and for an instant you can see everything with absolute clarity. But, a moment later, the night is just as dark. Now you have to reconstruct what you saw in that momentary flash of lightning in order to find your way home. The lightning flash is akin to the activity of chochma, which flashes in and out of existence. Reconstructing what it was that was revealed when the darkness was briefly illuminated is akin to the functioning of bina.
Again, bina is the expansion and extension of the initial point-like revelation of G‑d into a comprehensive system.Bina is the expansion and extension of the initial point-like revelation of G‑d into a comprehensive system.
The remaining seven sefirot are called the seven middot (singular: midda). The word “midda” in Hebrew means a measurement or an amount. This is precisely the function of these seven sefirot — to distribute the light and life force of a particular plane of reality, a particular world, according to its proper measure. They are also called in Kabbala “the Seven Days of Creation”, for it is essentially through them that constitution of each of the planes of reality is built. If bina is analogous to the builder, or to the process of building, as explained previously, then the seven middot are analogous to the structure itself.
Each one of these seven sefirot also corresponds to one of the seven days of Creation. The sefira of chesed corresponds to the first day of creation, the sefira of gevura to the second day, and so on, until the seventh sefira, malchut, which corresponds to Shabbat. The nature of each of these sefirot can be understood by examining the seven days of creation as a paradigm of the activity of these sefirot.