The word « testicle », כליות (khiliot), appears in the Kabbalah Denudata, by Joannis Davidis Zunnerii. Its Latin equivalents are renes and testiculis. The word renes, « kidneys », also has the meaning of « testicles » in some contexts. As an example, Zunneri cites Job’s book: « Quis posuis in renibus (testiculis) sapientiam? ». « Who put wisdom in the kidneys (testicles)? »ii
Curiously, the word כליות (khiliot) does not actually appear in this verse. In its place is the word טּחוֺת (tuhôt) which has a rather similar, though different meaning: « The bottom of being, what is covered, what is hidden, what is hidden, lumps, kidneys ».
There are many occurrences of khiliot and tuhôt in the Bible, and in almost all cases these two words have a similar meaning.
As for tuhôt, we find it, for example, in: « Behold, Thou desirest truth in the inward parts (tuhôt); make me, therefore, to know wisdom in mine inmost heart. » vi
Zunneri explains the word khiliot as follows: « Sunt Nezah and Hod », (the khiliots are Nezah and Hod).
Nezah means « to gush, to splash », and Hod means: « what is obscure ».vii
The khiliot may aggregate therefore the meaning of « something obscure », and which « gushes and splashes ».
Zennuri continues: « Ubi indicatur quod הי i.e Binah and Chochmah influxum derivet in renes. »
« Where it is stated that הי, i. e. Intelligence (Binah) and Wisdom (Hokhmah), cause their influx to drift into the kidneys (testicles). »
We have already seen that the Yod י was a symbol of the masculine and that the Hé ה was a symbol of the feminine.
There is an allusion here to the fact that the intimate union of Intelligence and Wisdom is realized in the khiliot. The meaning of « testicles » then takes on all its flavour, its sap.
It is now possible to understand Teresa of Avila, when she says, « From my Beloved I have drunk, » to give an idea of what she receives from God in this divine cellar of union.
What she drinks from her Beloved is His intelligence and wisdom, and their very union.
iJoannis Davidis Zunneri. Kabbala Denudata. Liber Sohar restitutus, Francfort,1684
viiDictionary English-Hebrew Gensenius-Robinson, New York 1877