אַבִּיעָ (ABiYA): Four Worlds
“Rabbi Bun also sat and expounded: What is the meaning of יוֹצֵר (Yotser), He forms, light and בוֹרֵא (vo’re), creates, darkness (Isaiah 45:7)? Light has substance. Therefore, יְצִירָה (yetsirah), formation, is used with regard to it. Darkness has no substance, therefore, with regard to it, בְּרִיאָה (beri’ah), creation, is used. Similarly, it is written: יוֹצֵר (Yotser), He forms, mountains and בֹרֵא (vo’re), creates, the wind (Amos 4:13). Another explanation: Light was actually brought into existence, as is written, And God said, ‘Let there be light’ (Genesis 1:3). Something cannot be brought into existence unless it is עֲשִׂיָה (assiyah), actualized. יְצִירָה (Yetsirah), formation, is therefore used. In the case of darkness, however, there was no actualization, only separation and setting aside. It is for this reason that בָּרָא (bara), created, is used. It has the same sense as the expression, הִבְּרִיאָה פְּלוֹנִי (hiberi’ah ploni), so and so became healthy” (Bahir §13).
“The blessed Holy One created the human male and female, as is written, Male and female He created them (Genesis 1:27). Is it then possible to say this? Is it not written, And God created the human in his image, in the image of God He created him (Genesis 1:27)? It is only later written, [‘It is not good for the human to be alone,] I shall make him a sustainer beside him’ (Genesis 2:18), also, And He took one of the ribs and closed over the flesh where it had been (Genesis 2:21). But we must say that Torah employs יְצִירָה (yetsirah), Formation, and עֲשִׂיָה (assiyah), Actualization, and בְּרִיאָה (beri’ah), Creation: when the נְשָׁמָה (neshamah), soul, was made, עָשַׂה (assah), actualize, is employed; Male and female He בָּרָא (bara), created, them; יְצִירָה (yetsirah), Formation, was used when the נְשָׁמָה (neshamah), soul, was combined with the body and the רוּחַ (ruaḥ), breath, was brought together. How do we know that יְצִירָה (yetsirah), Formation, means to gather? As is written, And YHWH God יִּצֶר (yitser), fashioned, from the soil each beast of the field and each fowl of the heavens and brought each to the human to see what he would call it (Genesis 2:19). This explains the verse, Male and female He created them (Genesis 5:2). It is also written, And God blessed them (Genesis 1:28)” (Bahir §198, cf. Guide of the Perplexed 2:30).
“It is written: He who בֹּרַאֲךָ (bora’akha), creates you, O Jacob; He who יֹצֶרְךָ (yotserkha), forms you, O Israel (Isaiah 43:1), and it is written: Thus says YHWH who עֹשֶׂךָ (osekha), makes you (Isaiah 43:2). All these rungs mount up to one, as they have established: creates, forms, makes—all of them rungs one above the other, and all are one” (Zohar 1:177b).
“On the side of Holiness, that אֱלֹהִים (Elohim), God, of truth, King over the world, is empowered by three elements: בְּרִיאָה (beri’ah), Creation; יְצִירָה (yetsirah), Formation; and by עֲשִׂיָה (assiyah), Actualization. The mystery of each and every one is mentioned here. Corresponding to בְּרִיאָה (beri’ah), Creation: He took from their hand (Exodus 32:4)—something that until now contained nothing at all. Corresponding to יְצִירָה (yetsirah), Formation: וַיָּצַר (va-yatsar), and he fashioned, it (ibid.). Corresponding to עֲשִׂיָה (assiyah), Actualization, וַיַּעֲשֵׂהוּ (va-ya’aseihu), and made it, into a molten calf (ibid.). Who has ever seen such sorcerers in the whole world!” (Zohar 2:192b).
“Like a king that sends a document with his seal, and the likeness of the king is embossed in the wax of the seal. The sefirot of אֲצִילוּת (atsilut), Emanation, are precisely the likeness of the King. The sefirot of בְּרִיאָה (beri’ah), Creation, are the seal of the king, and the sefirot of יְצִירָה (yetsirah), Formation, are the angels which are the living beings, and they are the form of the seal in wax” (Tiqqunei ha-Zohar 3b).