Taking Space Seriously: Tehiru, Khora and the Freudian Void


In the first part of the paper the author focuses on the way the great historian and thinker Gershom Scholem understood the Lurianic idea of tsimtsum (i.e. divine contraction as the first act of creation) as the key category of Jewish theology. Next, he combines the conceptual structure emerging from the Scholemian understanding of tsimtsum with Jacques Derrida’s analysis of space. He suggests that the Platonic notion of khora as read by Derrida can be identified with the idea of tehiru, i.e. the void that comes into existence as a result of divine contraction. In the second part of the paper the author extends the equation even further by pointing out how the notion of khora-tehiru can be fruitfully combined with the idea of the “Freudian void,” the space created by the separation of the mother from the child in Freudian analysis of the emergence of the human subject. One of the benefits of such a conceptual merge is that the Scholemian/Derridean/Freudian space thus understood can be seen as permeated with a complex affective and libidinal dynamic. Drawing on various post-Freudian psychoanalytic theorists (Lacan, Klein, Winnicott, Green), the author proceeds to analyze this dynamic, focusing on the notions of mourning, anxiety and desire.


space, tsimtsum, khora, Freud, anxiety

How to cite

Lipszyc, Adam. “Taking Space Seriously: Tehiru, Khora and the Freudian Void.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 2, no. 4(6) (2018): 70–81. https://doi.org/10.26319/6917.


Adam Lipszyc
Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences


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