The shattering of the vessels takes place in the “emotions of Binah” (Midot D’Binah). As explained earlier, the emotions of Binah are the “Therefore” and conclusion which results from the analysis. For example, one may analyze the matter of abortion. Now, the analysis itself may be totally correct and true. One accumulates the data and analyzes it etc. He examines and studies the facts repeatedly etc. Here there is no shattering of the vessels. It is only in the “Therefore” that one may arrive at conclusions which are completely divorced from the original intention, and may even be the opposite of it. The analysis on abortion itself is an analysis into the facts. One fact is that a child may grow up in an abusive home. Another fact is that his parents may not have the means to provide for him or that he may not receive a proper education etc. All these fact are true, and up to here the analysis is correct. However, in the conclusion of the “Therefore” there can be a “Breaking of the vessels”. A person could arrive at a “wonderful” solution. “Therefore, let us kill the children”.
The problem here is that the “conclusion” and “solution” become disconnected from the original intent and desire. In the example, the original intention is to benefit mankind, especially children, who are the most vulnerable members of society. The solution, however, creates a society which turns women, who by nature are nurturing and compassionate, to deny life to their own children etc. A solution more connected to the original intention could go along the lines of opening charitable organizations which would provide food, care, schooling etc. for these children.
It is clear that the shattering of the vessels takes place only in the “conclusion”, in the seven lower qualities, which are the emotions of Binah. In contrast, there is no shattering in the analysis of Binah of Binah itself, although it is the source of the “shattering of the vessels” which takes place in the conclusion.
Now, there are eight qualities which are associated with the “shattering of the vessels”. These are the eight lower sefirot of Binah. These are Binah of Binah, Da’at of Binah, Chessed of Binah, Gevurah of Binah, Tiferet of Binah, Netzach/Hod of Binah, Yesod of Binah and Malchut of Binah. These sefirot of Binah are known as the ‘Eight Kings of Tohu’.
They are called the eight kings of Tohu because the Torah states, “And he reigned and he died etc.” in reference to the kings of the Edom, the descendents of Esav, Yaakov’s twin brother. These twins represent the twin worlds of Tohu (chaos) and Tikun (rectification). Esav, was a wild and impulsive man, while Yaakov was “a wholesome man who dwelt in tents.” While Esav was off stealing, killing and raping, thus embodying the world of Tohu (Chaos), Yaakov was busy acquiring wisdom and perfecting his character, thus embodying the world of Tikun. The eight kings of Edom are therefore referred to as the kings of Tohu, representing the qualities of Tohu.
Because these are the “Kings of Tohu”, the one must die before the other can reign. As explained above, this is like the example of a very narrow minded person who is incapable of compromise. If such a person is kind, his kindness will know no restraint. Eventually, his kindness breaks down and he goes to the opposite extreme of becoming very unkind, etc.
Now, it is understood from the above that “death” only affects seven of the kings. These are the seven lower kings of Tohu which are the emotions of Binah. In the eighth king of Tohu, which is Binah of Binah, there is no actual death. This is because, as explained above, pure, undiluted analysis, does not lead to a “shattering”. On the contrary, it is the source of rectification. This will now be explained.