The Knowledge Of G-D – 1:38

We will now discuss the revelation of the desire. In order to understand this it is necessary to introduce the concepts of Tohu (Chaos) and Tikkun (Rectification).  In general, the difference between chaos and rectification is that in Tohu, there is much light and few vessels.  In Tikkun, on the other hand, there is less light and many vessels. This is to say that the difference between Tikkun and Tohu is similar to the difference between rational and irrational behavior.

Tohu (Chaos) is when the point of the essential desire is revealed in its essential state.  This is to say that though every specific desire, such as a desire to be kind or a desire to be stern, has ten sefirot, nonetheless, they are indistinguishable from the desire.  The thoughts and emotions for the desire are not objective at all.  Rather, they are completely “enslaved” to and “driven” by the desire.  This means that the intellect merely comes up with intellectual reasons to rationalize the desire rather than engaging in an objective analyses of it.  Tohu, therefore, is compared to essential points, each of which has no recognizable divisions within it.

Because of this the various desires of Tohu are incompatible with each other and cannot coexist one with the other. For example, in Tohu the essential desire for kindness, though it is composed of intellect and emotions, cannot join with the essential desire for sternness. This is so even though sternness too, is composed of intellect and emotions. The reason for this is because the intellect and emotions of the desire to be kind are absolute kindness and exist solely to justify the kindness, whereas the intellect and emotions of the desire to be stern are absolutely stern and exist solely to justify the sternness. Because they are absolute opposites, they are incompatible with each other and cannot coexist simultaneously. The one must be destroyed before the other can be revealed. This brings about chaos.

The essential desire for kindness wants everything to be done exclusively through kindness, and since it is an essence, there is no room for compromise in this attitude. In addition, even though the kindness has intellect, it is not objective intellect at all. Rather, the intellect is bent on rationalizing the essential desire to be kind. However, acting upon this desire leads to chaos, because at times indiscriminate kindness may be the wrong approach. If one were to always act in a way of indiscriminate kindness, such as donating money to all charitable causes, whether they are worthy ones or not, or by being kind to all people, even to his enemies who are bent on his destruction, or by releasing all criminals from prison, even unrepentant psychopaths, the opposite of kindness would result.

Another example of this is parents who avoid disciplining their child by setting behavioral limits with consequences. They may feel they are “being nice” to their child, but in truth, they are creating a “monster” and destroying him.  We see from this that indiscriminate kindness will eventually lead to negativity and destructiveness ending in results that are quite the opposite of the original intent. The same holds true for indiscriminate sternness, etc. This self destruction on the part of the essential emotional qualities of Tohu is called Shevirat HaKeilim (The breaking of the vessels).

From this we understand that an essential desire to be kind will become fixated solely on the external expression of kindness, overlooking its inner intent to affect positive results, and will not tolerate any restraint of kindness. Because it is an essential, undiluted desire, it becomes completely irrational often bringing about the opposite of the desired effect. As a result, each desire must be completely eradicated before it can be replaced by a different one. An example of this principle is the case of a very narrow minded person who is incapable of compromise. When such a person is kind, his kindness knows no restraint. He will be indiscriminately kind to everyone and he will be excessive in this kindness. Eventually, though, his kindness will, of necessity, break down because he will find himself being severely taken advantage of, and will become completely drained, both monetarily and emotionally. Such a person might then swing to the opposite extreme, becoming overly suspicious of others, excessively callous of their needs and extremely unkind. This approach too, will eventually break down, when people begin disliking and avoiding him because of his mean spirit.

The above principle applies when the desire comes in the form of an essential point, in which the intellect and emotions are “slaves” that are “driven” to fulfill it in an absolute manner in which there are no compromises. This may be compared to the uncompromising fanaticism of a Moslem fundamentalist terrorist who is hell bent on pushing his agenda no matter what the outcome.  This level of Tohu is called Nekudah (Point).

Besides the Nekudah (Point) there is another level in Tohu, called Sefirah.  This is when the point divides into ten recognizable traits. Because of this there is the appearance of rational behavior.  It appears to be an objective, reasonable intellect which is open to compromise.  In truth though, here too the intellect, emotions and actions exist merely to facilitate the desire that drives them.  An example of this is a Christian missionary.  He talks and acts as if he is an objective, reasonable person, but in reality he is neither reasonable nor objective. In reality he is completely bent on converting you to his religion and his speech and actions are there merely to facilitate this.  This is why he knocked on your door in the first place. Though it appears that a reasonable conversation is taking place, if he is refuted in debate, he will automatically revert back to the essential point of the irrational desire in which there is no compromise and no recognizable intellect at all, such as saying, “It is true because I know it in my heart”, etc.

In summary, Tohu is when the light (revelation) of the desire is too strong for the vessels and overpowers them, so that they can no longer be objective but rather become completely unrestrained and driven by the desire.

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