At the source of the Divine utterance there are neither written letters nor expressions of any kind.
It begins as a far more inclusive force that finds its appropriate manifestation at every phase, giving it ever more particularity.
It is like visually recognizing a letter according to its form, then bringing it to a mental identification and a sensing of its sound effect, and finally placing it into a context of words and thoughts.
This transfer of a Divine impulse from one level of reality to another is our guide for study of Torah.
One carries something from one system to another.
Thus, study of Torah can be confined to a single detail, or it can be broad and universal, according to the degree of carry-over from one system to another.
In its widest sense, the study of Torah is a re-enactment of Creation, a transfer of primal force from one system to another.
The change of form is only an apparent, and often a rather strange, side-effect of this transfer–like our surprise at the basic connection between color, sound, and tone.
–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From The Sustaining Utterance by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz