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Amidah: From Kedusha to Binah to Teshuva

What did the Sages see that inspired them to place the blessing of Understanding immediately after Sanctity? “They will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob and revere the Lord of Israel. Those with misguided spirit will attain understanding. ” (Isaiah 29:23-24) And what did the Sages see that led them to place Teshuva immediately after Understanding? “Understand with its heart so that it will repent and be healed.” (6:10) – Megillah 17b

There are two basic forms of sin: The first is rooted in a lack of understanding and clarity, whether it is into the damage caused by the specific sin or into the concept of sin in general. The second is rooted in the often-uncontrollable passion of people, who intend to rebel against the Creator.

Understanding can help us repair our sins, if the understanding derives from Above, as it says, “Raise up your eyes on high and see Who created these things.” (Isaiah 40:26) Binah that is rooted in our perceptions is limited by our experiences and insight.

The Sages structured these blessings so that we first raise our eyes – the blessing of Kedusha, or Sanctity, to receive understanding from Above – Binah, and then be able to repair – the blessing of Teshuva.

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