The Torah states, “G-d made a cloak of leather for Adam and his wife, and he clothed them.” This cloak is known as the aspect of the Chashmal which encompasses Zeir Anpin and Malchut of Atzilut, which are called Adam and his wife. Now, the word for “leather” in Hebrew, is “Or” (עור) and is spelled with an Ayin (ע). However, in the Torah of Rabbi Meir, this word was not spelled with an Ayin (ע) but with an Aleph (א). When it is spelled with an Aleph, it means “light” rather than “leather”. Therefore, in the Torah of Rabbi Meir, rather than saying that he clothed them with a cloak of “leather”, it says that he clothed them with a cloak of “light”. This will now be explained in great detail. In order to understand this, we must explain the matter of the “shattering of the vessels” (Shevirat HaKeilim) and their rectification (Tikun).
As explained, the “vessels” are the letters, and as stated in Etz Chaim, they shattered because of the over abundance of light, which they could not contain. The explanation of this is as follows. When one takes a very lofty idea, and attempts to explain it to a person who is incapable of grasping it, like a child, the idea will become garbled and confused in the child’s mind. This is because there is “too much light” for his vessels. In contrast, when he explains this same concept to a person of equal intellect as himself, there will be no “confusion of the letters”, because the idea can be contained by the vessels of the recipient. If he cannot “contain” and “grasp” the idea, there will certainly be a “confusion of letters” and the idea will become garbled in his mind etc. This is similar to dreams. In the dream state, the letters of the “fleeting thoughts of the heart” (Hirhoorei Leeba) that he had during the day, become garbled and confused. For example, a person who worried about his “salary” during the day may dream he is being attacked by a stalk of “celery” at night. This comes about because of the confusion of the letters of the thoughts that he had during the day etc. Because of this the Talmud states that, “Dreams speak nonsense”, because often they are a confusion of the thoughts he had during the day.
This confusion is called a shattering into many fragments. An example for this is a child who does not yet know how to read but knows the Alphabet. When he sees a word, all that registers in his mind is a conglomeration of disconnected letters that have nothing to do with each other. To him they are just individual letters, not words. At this point of maturity his mind cannot yet grasp the concept that the letters join to form words and sentences which are ripe with meaning. He grasps the letters as disjointed pieces almost devoid of any meaning. Likewise in a dream, each letter of the dream contains some of the light of the thoughts of the day, but only in a very minute way. This is because they are confused and disjointed, and do not contain the light of the thought as a whole. The shattering and crumbling can continue until the meaning is completely different than the original intent, as in the first example of a person who explains a lofty concept to someone who is incapable of grasping it. The idea can become so confused in his mind that he can actually understand it in a way which is the opposite of its original meaning.
This shattering comes about specifically because the lights are the lights of Tohu. As explained above, the lights of Tohu are essential lights and, therefore, their light does not diminish when revealed. An example for this is a professor who has a very deep and broad understanding of his field of studies. However, when he teaches his students, he is incapable of bringing the subject down to the level of the students, according to the capacity of their vessels. He can only explain it the way he understands it rather than in a way tailored to their capacity to understand. This brings about a “shattering”. Either the students will not understand the subject at all or their understanding of it will be erroneous. The error could be so extreme that their understanding could literally be the opposite of the true meaning. When those students themselves become teachers, the problem will be further aggravated since they will teach their students false imaginations and misconceptions, and will end up, literally calling darkness light. (To our great sorrow, this phenomenon has become so prevalent today in the field of Kaballah that in almost all cases both the teacher and the students are in error. This is a case of the blind leading the blind.) On the other hand, if the professor understands the subject properly and lessens his explanation according to the capability of the students, they will readily understand it without confusion. This is the sign of a true teacher. In addition, the fact that he can bring the subject down and explain it to anyone, is the sure sign that he truly understands it, at the very core of its essence, compared to a person who understands but cannot explain it to others.