Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Koach HaMaskil and the Koach HaSechel

The soul contains two primary mental powers: the Koach HaMaskil and the Koach HaSechel.

  • The Koach HaSechel initiates conscious, actual intellect. As such, it consists of clearly defined concepts and intellectual sensations. This is a revealed faculty.
  • The Koach HaMaskil, by contrast, contains no specific concepts; rather, it consists of a completely undifferentiated potential for any and all concepts that one may think. This is a hidden faculty.

The thoughts that are later crystallized in the Koach HaSechel originate in the Koach HaMaskil.

Although the Koach HaMaskil contains no defined concepts, it is not altogether formless. Every person’s Koach HaMaskil is different, in that each person possesses certain intellectual talents and aptitudes that enable him to specialize in certain fields and not in others.

There are abstract thinkers who find the concrete difficult, and vice versa. More specifically, people display aptitudes for different fields of wisdom. In the realm of the holy, one can excel in Chumash, Halacha, Talmud, Midrash, or Kabbalah. In secular thought, lehavdil, talents in literature, law, mathematics, physics, or chemistry can be felt. Each person’s aptitudes in the Koach HaSechel stem from the distinctive mental aptitude and capacity of his Koach HaMaskil.

Thus, although the Koach HaMaskil is a hidden faculty, we can infer its character from the Koach HaSechel.

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