Back-Peddling a Bit

Some of the things we’d need to made clear here that touch upon the worlds of Atzilut, Briah, Yetzirah, and Assiyah which is the subject at hand is the sequence from the World of Tohu (i.e., chaos) [1], to the World of Tikkun (i.e., rectification), to the eventual final Tikkun.

The Bahir (2) asks what the Torah meant when it said that “The world was Tohu and Bohu” (Genesis 1:2) [2] at creation, seeming to imply that it had already been so? It explains that to mean that in fact “the world was originally (in a state of) Tohu until it turned to (one of) Bohu” referring to the initial Tohu phenomenon of the Breaking of the Vessels which was then followed by the initial Tikkun.  Let’s trace this.

As we’d explained here, there was a shattering of the last seven of the original ten vessels which couldn’t endure the breaking-through of the effulgent light (see Eitz Chaim 8:1) [3]. That was the World of Tohu, exemplified by the chaotic upsetting of the design of things.

That chaos was largely rectified by God Himself, with the act of the creation of this world, when a balanced triad system of left, right, and center poles within Partzuf-complexes collaborated with each other, and corrected and compensated for each other [4]. What was rectified there, though, was nearly undone by the actions associated with the eating from the Tree of Knowledge (and later on by actions associated with the Golden Calf), but the ultimate and utter rectification will come about when humankind does what it must do to bring that about [5].


[1]       This is also known as the World of Nikkudim, which is the subject of this section.

[2]       I.e., “chaotic then defined” according to the Bahir, though the expression is usually translated as “formless and empty”.

[3]       This was likewise termed “The Death of the Kings of Edom” (see here; see Otzrot Chaim, Sha’ar Rapach Netzutzin 1).

[4]       See here. Also see Pardes 4:6, Tikkunei Zohar p. 17a, Eitz Chaim from Gate 8 onward, and the rest of Klach Pitchei Chochma.

[5]       See here.

(c) 2012 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman
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