17. "And the earth was without form and void..." (Beresheet 1:2) THE TERM "was" is exact IN THAT IT IMPLIES the earth's previous state, during which snow was mixed inside water. The act of the snow forming inside the water resulted in a foul substance. And AFTERWARD, a mighty fire beat upon it and refuse was formed inside it. It then conceived and became without form. The place, where at first there was only filth, has become now a nest of refuse THAT IS DESCRIBED AS WITHOUT FORM. IT WENT THROUGH FOUR STAGES UNTIL IT BECAME TOHU: (1) LIGHT TURNED INTO WATER; (2) WATER TURNED INTO SNOW; (3) SNOW TURNED INTO REFUSE WITH THE INFLICTION OF THE FIRE; AND (4) THE REFUSE, OVER TIME, BECAME SUFFICIENTLY DISTINGUISHABLE TO BE CALLED WITHOUT FORM. THE WORDS "and void" REFER TO the refined matter that emerged from the refuse and was set there. Darkness is the secret of the powerful fire and this darkness hovers above the formlessness, over that refuse, and is structured from it. IN OTHER WORDS, DARKNESS DOES NOT MEAN ONLY THE ABSENCE OF LIGHT - THAT IS, EMPTINESS - BUT RATHER THE ASPECT THAT PRODUCES EMPTINESS, LIKE A STRONG FIRE THAT BURNS AND CONSUMES EVERYTHING IT TOUCHES AND LEAVES EMPTINESS IN ITS PLACE. THE REASON WHY IT IS CALLED DARKNESS AND NOT FIRE IS THAT THE BURNING FORCE IS NOT FROM THE FIRE ITSELF, BUT FROM THE REFUSE, WHICH IS WITHOUT FORM, OVER WHICH IT HOVERS, AND FROM WHICH IT RECEIVES.