“The Alter Rebbe’s purpose in writing about exile was not to make a litany of suffering; rather, he emphasized its positive side.
In his opinion, exile is a revolutionary process that involves radical transformation of the essence of things.
In other words, what is crucial as regards the exile of Israel is not what happens to Israel, but what changes when Israel is in exile.
This perspective forms the backdrop for the question of the sparks within the two worlds, or two states, which form the basic polarities in Kaballah: the world of tohu, the world of disorder; and the world of tikkun, the world of reparation.
What the kabbalists call ‘olam ha-tohu’ the world of tohu, is a world without order, lacking system and organization, a world where there is still no dividing line between the possible and the impossible; in short, a world where anything can happen…
It is indeed a world without Torah; in other words, without that guideline or thread that maintains men on the winding paths of life.
The world of tohu is that place where chaos engenders perplexity, since it is directionless.
When we look at the world today, it does not seem to be heading anywhere.
Where is the world going?”
From The Seven Lights On the Major Jewish Festivals by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, pp. 117-118.