In the beginning there was nothing but the Light. There was no space, there was no time, there was no motion. Kabbalah refers to the Light as the first cause. There are no other causes before it.
If the whole nature of the Light is to give - the Desire to Share - and all there was in the beginning was the Light, what was there to give to?
The Light wanted to share, yet it had nothing to give to. So the Light created a Vessel to receive everything it had to offer. Receiving was the Vessel's only job - the Desire to Receive. Kabbalah teaches that the Light is the first cause, and the Vessel is the first effect.
According to the Kabbalah the creation of the Vessel was the only creation that ever took place.
Everything else was a result of that creation.
So we had the Light, whose whole nature was to give itself. We had the Vessel whose whole nature was to receive all the positive things the Light had to share. The Vessel was filling up with Light, and because space and time had not begun yet, the Vessel was filling up endlessly. The Vessel kept receiving and the Light kept giving. It was perfect; it was paradise.
But then a strange thing happened.
The Vessel inherited from its Creator the traits of sharing and desiring to be the cause.
This Desire to Share felt very good to the Vessel. In fact, the Vessel wanted to start doing some sharing of its own, to shed some Light of its own. It wanted to become more of a cause and less of an effect.
But how could the Vessel express the Desire to Share if its very nature was to receive? How could the vessel be the cause of its own fulfillment if it was merely the effect? Sharing, after all, wasn't part of its job. So the vessel made a decision. The Vessel pushed back on the Light and said, "No more!"
The moment the Vessel pushed back on the Light and stopped being simply an effect, the Light said, "Okay, I understand your need to evolve and express yourself." Just as a loving parent who stands back to allow a toddler to take his or her first tentative steps, the Light withdrew. It gave the Vessel the space to learn about sharing and the opportunity to become a causative force in the process of creation. The Vessel now had a space in which it could express its own sharing nature. This space was the cause of the creation of our physical realm.
Once the restriction took place, the Vessel exploded into zillions and zillions of pieces. The pieces of the shattered Vessel became all the fragments of matter and energy that make up our entire universe - atoms, animals, people, plants, everything. In this way the Vessel could share with itself and with the Light, thereby becoming the cause of its own fulfillment.