The portion of Balak tells us how Balaam set out to curse the Jewish people, but instead, he blessed them. He said, "For from their beginning, I see them as mountain peaks and I behold them as hills."1

The Midrash2 tells us that “mountain peaks” refer to our patriarchs and “hills” refer to our matriarchs.

One of the differences between a father and mother is the way they contribute to the birth of their children. The father gives a cell, which includes the baby in potential, but in the cell, you don't see any details. The mother takes the cell, and over nine months in her womb, she develops it into a complete baby with all the details: head, shoulders, knees and toes, and the rest of the limbs and organs.3 That is the reason that more times than not, a child is closer to the mother than the father, because the mother created her child with all the details. The mother's relationship with her child is commonly one of love and closeness. On the other hand, the father’s relationship is more inclined to be one of respect and distance.

The same is true about our patriarchs and matriarchs. The relationship between us and the patriarchs is one of awe and distance, and our relationship to the matriarchs is one of love and closeness. That is why the patriarchs are the mountain tops, far and aloof. In the verse, noted above, the word used to say that Balaam “sees them” is arenu, which means to gaze from a distance. On the other hand, the matriarchs are hills, which are closer, and the word used to say that he “beholds them” is ashurenu, which means to see at close range.

Everything in the physical world has its source in the spiritual. What is the spiritual source of a father and mother giving birth to a child? Emotions are called the “children” of the mind. For example, it is the understanding and meditation of the mind that produces the love or fear we have for G‑d. The deeper the understanding, the more developed the emotions.

The mind that gives birth to the emotions is divided into two parts, chochmah and binah, which are the father and mother.

Chochmah (commonly translated as wisdom), is the father. It is the conception of an idea, the eureka moment that comes in a flash. You have the whole concept, but if a person doesn’t stay with the idea and contemplate its details, that flash of wisdom will be lost.

Binah (commonly translated as understanding), is the mother. It is contemplation, which is the breakdown of the idea into all of its details, solidifying the idea and making it one’s own. Binah gives birth to the emotions and is closer to the emotions than chochmah, because there is a degree of separation between chochmah and the emotions.4

Chochmah and binah are the first of the ten attributes of the soul. The first three are the attributes of the mind, the next six are the emotions, and the last one determines how the six emotions express themselves.

The ten attributes of the soul are a reflection of the ten attributes of G‑d,5 through which He relates to the world. Just as chochmah and binah give birth to a person’s emotions, so too, the Divine chochmah and binah give birth to the Divine emotions, which are the building blocks of creation. Since binah actually gives birth to the building blocks of creation, it relates to the physical world. On the other hand, chochmah doesn't relate to the world, because it is separate.

Chochmah represents the view from above, that only G‑d exists. When one sees things from this perspective, a person’s entire existence is nullified, because there is only Him.6 Binah represents the view from below. From this perspective, everything exists, but everything is seen as part of G‑d, and the human is viewed as part of Him as well, as one’s ego is nullified before Him.

Since we are all descendants of our patriarchs and matriarchs, we all inherit both perspectives. The view of our patriarchs, Hashem's oneness from above, nullifies existence. The view of our matriarchs, the oneness of Hashem from below, nullifies the ego.

Since the most important thing is to make a home for G‑d in the physical world, to make this world into a vessel for G‑dliness,7 the matriarchs’ perspective is more important, as G‑d said to Abraham, "everything that Sarah tells you, listen to her voice."8

Every Jewish home is a “small world,” and it has all the ten attributes. The father is chochmah, and the mother is binah. Like the matriarchs, the mother’s role is more important. ) She is the one who fully implements what both she and the father wants for their children; she makes it happen. In general, the mother is more likely to be in charge of the household and tends to spend more time with the children. As our sages say, "Who is a kosher woman? One who does the will of her husband."9 The will of her husband doesn’t mean that he dominates over her; rather, the wife is more adept at implementing their family’s goals.

(And if her husband doesn't want to go on the proper path, then we can read an alternate translation to the words of our sages, "Who is a kosher woman? One who makes the will of her husband." A wife is in a position that she could influence her husband. By using her womanly wisdom, she has the ability to motivate him to reach ever higher.)

When you do that, G‑d dwells in your home and it is filled with blessing.10

I am blessed to see this in my own personal home, as my wife, Dina, is always pushing me to be a better father, a better husband, a better rabbi, a better Jew and a better person. I owe so much to her. The hero in my life is Dina.

May we merit to see the coming of Moshiach, when we will see the women's role in bringing about the coming of Moshiach, when the feminine will be greater than the male. May it happen soon. The time has come.11

Dedicated to my son Shalom, who is celebrating his bar mitzvah this week, and to my wife, Dina, who is the backbone of our home.