“One does not act rightly toward one\\\'s fellows if one does not know how to act rightly towards the earth.”

The Holy Earth

Understanding in Hebrew


For Dan and “The Understanding Group” 🙂

What follows is a flow of thoughts about “understanding” in the Hebrew language … my knowledge of language (both Hebrew and English) is more intuitive than formal … so some of this stuff may not be “exactly true”!

Hebrew is built upon root words which typically have three letters. For example the root for the variants of “understanding” is:

ב י נ

The root then takes on different shapes and forms:

  • Understand (as in “I/you understand” masculine): מבין (mevin)
  • Understand (as in “I/you understand” feminine): מבינה (mevina)
  • Understanding (as in “an understanding”): הבנה (havana)
  • Wisdom: תבונה (tvuna)
  • Insight: תובנה (tovana)
  • Intelligence: בינה (bina)
  • In a positive (understanding) spirit: בהבנה (behavana = in understanding)
  • Intuition: בינת הלב (binat halev = an understanding of/in the heart)
  • Introspection: התבוננות (hitbonenut)

The hebrew alphabet assigns numerical values to letters. This means that a word can be given a numerical value by adding up the value of its letters:

  • ב = 2
  • 10 = י
  • ×  = 50

A total value of 62. Sometimes, by changing the order of the letters of the root word you arrive at new roots new roots (which lead to new words). For example:

ב נ י

Is the root that morphs into words related to “building” (as in construction) … and it has the same numerical value … a shared root value!

So, another re-arrangement of the same three letters gives:

נ י ב

… which means “to bring forth” or “yield” … and has the same numerical root value … and suggests that there is something shared at the root of words such as: understand, build, yield.

I find it curious that in English the word “understanding” in the context of “the understanding group” seems (to me) to occupy some construct (maybe if I had a more academic grasp of language I could name it) … it seems to imply some kind of continuous state of reality … a kind of “state of understanding” … the essence of this is outside the set of other meanings – eg:

  • A group that has an insight
  • A group that creates meaning
  • A group that is open and compassionate

All of these I can translate to Hebrew. I cannot translate “The Understanding Group” … there is something evasive about it … as if the Hebrew language is whispering to me that “there is no such thing as a state of understanding”.

On a similar note (and this may be just conjecture on my part), a literal reading of the root of understanding:

ב י נ

… directly read and means “between.” I read that as “that which is between” … Hebrew seems to be implying that understanding is a dynamic relationship.

This entry was posted in Hebrew, inside, Uncategorized. You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

One Comment

  1. ziva kinrot
    Posted July 10, 2019 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Thank you, enjoyed reading. Very sagacious – ×  ב ו ן ..

Leave a Reply