Why Are We Embracing Tohu Va’vohu?


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There are no boundaries anymore.

Life used to be simpler. A man was a man, and a woman was a woman. They would marry, procreate, and pass on. The same cycle would then repeat itself, over and over again, in much the same way.


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Over the last 50 years or so, barriers between men and women have been torn down, leading to a loss of respect for others and oneself. Procreation is now delayed or completely neglected, gender is considered fluid, and marriage is no longer exclusive to a man and a woman.

Rather quickly, our society has been transformed into an Orwellian dystopia. Language is usually the first element in society to be poisoned; the rest follows. In Orwell’s 1984:


In our society:


A society in which words are stripped of their meaning is a society that has reintroduced tohu va’vohu into the world. Tohu va’vohu – that initial formless void, a kind of unfathomable chaos that existed before creation.

In essence, we have rejected the act of creation by embracing the tohu va’vohu that preceded it, in which distinctions and boundaries didn’t exist – in which male and female were one, heaven and earth were one, and light didn’t exist.

We have even rejected the act of creation in our own selves, treating the murder of fetuses in the womb as though it were nothing. We treat our own wombs, pregnant with the ripening fruit of human life, as a formless void, devoid of meaning or substance. We conveniently hit the “delete” key on our mistakes, turning the other cheek to our own perversions.

Two weeks ago was Parshat Bereshit. We read:

In the beginning, G-d created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was unformed and void (tohu va’vohu), with darkness over the surface of the deep, and the spirit of G-d was hovering over the face of the water. And G-d said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. And G-d saw the light that it was good, and G-d separated between the light and between the darkness.” (Genesis 1:1-4)

The first act of creation involved making boundaries. What does this mean? That without boundaries – without distinctions between light and dark, heavens and earth, man and woman – we live in chaos. In tohu va’vohu. We, as a society, have thrown away the very first lines of Bereshit.

And it will come back to bite us – hard. Fleeing from reality only works for so long. At a certain point, reality will hit us with more force than a bullet train in Japan. We will reap what we’ve sown, and if we’ve sown chaos, we will reap chaos. We have flaunted our new immorality with all the fervor of a child who has finally gotten his way. But that child inevitably later learns his lesson – and so will we.

Only when we finally learn to redraw G-d’s boundaries will we prosper. At that point, we will become partners again in creation, and G-d will create a new heaven and a new earth – on a higher dimension. As the navi says, “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the first ones shall not be remembered, neither shall they come into mind” (Isaiah 65:17).

May that day come soon.


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