"The Bahir Illumination," by Rabbi Nehunia ben haKana who was a master of the first century esoteric school of Judaism..... a contemporary of the author of the Zohar, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai.
|ב וְהָאָרֶץ, הָיְתָה תֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ, וְחֹשֶׁךְ, עַל-פְּנֵי תְהוֹם; וְרוּחַ אֱלֹהִים, מְרַחֶפֶת עַל-פְּנֵי הַמָּיִם.||2 Now the earth was unformed and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters.|
|ג וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים, יְהִי אוֹר; וַיְהִי-אוֹר.||3 And God said: 'Let there be light.' And there was light.|
I have underlined in red the Hebrew words "Tohu v'Vohu."
Although "Tohu v'Vohu" usually have the simple connotation of chaos and desolation, they are here described as the basic ingredients of creation.
HaShem gives existence to all things, and is therefore the ultimate Giver. Creation, on the other hand, must receive its very existence from HaShem, and is therefore the ultimate receiver.
Another important principle is the fact that HaShem is an absolutely simple Unity, and cannot be described by any qualities whatsoever. Every concept that is necessary for creation must therefore also be created. As we see, two of the most basic of these are the concepts of giving and receiving. In Kabbalistic terminology, the concept of giving is referred to as "Light," while that of receiving is called a "Vessel."
The original Vessels consisted of the Ten Sefirot in their most primitive form. In this state, they could not interact with each other, and hence, could not give anything to each other. All they could do was receive from HaShem.
In order to receive HaShem's Light, however, a Vessel must in some way be connected to HaShem. The basic difference between the spiritual and the physical is the fact that space does not exist in the spiritual, and hence, there is no way in which the Sefirot can be physically connected to HaShem. The only possible relationship is therefore resemblance. Therefore, in order to receive HaShem's Light, the Vessel must, at least to some degree, resemble HaShem.
This presents a difficulty. If HaShem is the ultimate Giver, whilst the Vessel only receives, the two are then absolute opposites. Therefore, in order for a Vessel to properly receive, it must also give.
What is therefore needed is a Vessel that gives as well as receives. The ultimate Vessel is man. If man is to receive HaShem's Light, he must first resemble HaShem by being a giver. This he does by keeping HaShem's commandments, and thereby providing spiritual sustenance to the supernal worlds. Before he can do this, however, he must also resemble HaShem by having both free will and free choice, and this is only possible when both evil and good exist.
The first stage of creation is called the Universe of Chaos or Tohu. This is a state where the Vessels, which were the primitive Ten Sefirot, could receive HaShem's Light, but could neither give nor interact. Insofar as they did not resemble HaShem, these Vessels were incomplete, and therefore could not hold the Light. Since they could not fulfill their purpose, they were overwhelmed by the Light and "shattered," this being the concept of the "Breaking of the Vessels."
It is for this reason that these Vessels are called Tohu, which comes from the root word meaning "confounded." When a person is confounded, it means that he is perceiving an idea that his mind cannot hold. Similarly, the Vessels of Tohu - Chaos received a Light that they could not hold. Just like confusion and confoundment shatter the thought process, so these Vessels were shattered.
The broken pieces of these Vessels fell to a lower spiritual level and subsequently became the source of all evil. It is therefore said that Tohu-Chaos is the source of all evil.
The reason why the Vessels were originally created without the ability to hold the Light was so that evil should come into being, thus giving man freedom of choice, which was necessary for the rectification of the Vessels. Furthermore, since evil originated in the highest original Vessels, it can be rectified and re-elevated to this level.
This Breaking of Vessels, is alluded to in the Midrash, which states that "HaShem created universes and destroyed them" (Bereshit Rabbah 3:7). It is also allude to in the Torah in the account of the Kings of Edom, at the end of Genesis 36. The death of each of these kings is said to infer the shattering of a particular Vessel and its fall to a lower level, such a fall being referred to as "death."
After having been shattered, the Vessels were re-rectified and rebuilt into Personifications (Patzufim). Each of these Personifications consists of 613 parts, paralleling the 613 parts of the body, as well as the 613 commandments of the Torah. These Personifications were then able to interact with each other. More important, through the Torah they were able to interact with man, and therefore became givers as well as receivers.
In the rectified state, the Vessels were adequate to receive HaShem's Light. In Kabbalistic terminology, this state is called the Universe of Rectification or Tikkun. As here, it is called Vohu-Desolation.
Since the Vessels of Vohu can interact, there is said to be "peace" between them. Vohu is therefore seen as the sorce of peace.
Vohu is translated as "desolation, or more precisely,"emptiness." This represents the "emptiness" of a Vessel ready to receive. The word Vohu can also be read as two words, Vo Hu, literally, "in it is it" or "it is in it."
Kabbalists also speak of Tohu as the intermediate state between potential and realization. In their initial stage the Vessels only had potential existence, in the Infinite Being, and in this state, they could not comprehend at all. Their state of realization, on the other hand, is that of Vohu.
The husks or klipot derived from Tohu-Chaos are the forces that "confound people," and cause them to have misleading visions into the realm of impurity. A complete Vessel is a vision that contains a complete, understandable idea, whereas a broken vessel is one that is confounding and confusing. The state toward which one must strive is therefore Vohu, for it is what contains the true vision...... "it is in it."
The Light of Creation which is actually concealed at creation is the Light of Torah, as can be seen in this video presentation. This concealed light or "Ohr ha Ganuz" is the Light of Mashiach.... keeping in mind that the number 11 also represents Yosef ha Tzaddik who was the 11th son of Yaacov. Yosef ha Tzadik and Chanukah are synonymous.
Wishing you all a Chag Chanukah Sameach on behalf of Rav Katz and may HaShem fill your world with the Light of Torah..... the Ohr ha Ganuz, the hidden Light of Mashiach.