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    Tohu vavohu – B’reshit

    The phrase, Tohu vavohu, comes twice in Tanach – Genesis 1:2 and Isaiah 34:11.

    It is something negative and uninspiring, often translated as “chaotic and dark”. Whatever it means, it is a rhyming, poetic doublet.

    It must be a well-known ancient phrase, probably originating from another language.

    A classical Hebrew lexicon suggests that the first word comes from a root that means “to rage or roar”, while the second word is from a root that means “to be void or empty”.

    The basic idea is that until God created light and systematised the Creation, the universe was chaotic and lacked order.

    The Almighty sorted things out stage by stage, though after Adam and Eve were thrown out of the Garden of Eden things deteriorated and became confused.

    Centuries were needed before the messianic age when the world became pristine again.

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