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Encyclopedia > Zohar
Rabbinical Eras
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The Zohar (Hebrew: זהר "Splendor, radiance") is widely considered the most important work of Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism. It is a mystical commentary on the Torah (the five books of Moses), written in medieval Aramaic and medieval Hebrew. It contains a mystical discussion of the nature of God, the origin and structure of the universe, the nature of souls, sin, redemption, good and evil, and related topics. Zugot (Hebrew: ) ((tÉ™qÅ«phāth) hazZÅ«ghôth) refers to the hundred year period during the time of the Second Temple (515 BCE - 70 CE), in which the spiritual leadership of the Jewish people was in the hands of five successive generations of zugot (pairs) of religious teachers. ... The Mishnah (Hebrew משנה, Repetition) is a major source of rabbinic Judaisms religious texts. ... Amora, plural Amoraim, (from the Hebrew root amar to say or tell over), were renowned Jewish scholars who said or told over the teachings of the Oral law, from about 200 to 500 CE in Babylonia and Israel. ... A savora (Aramaic: סבורא, plural savoraim, saboraim, סבוראים) is a term used in Jewish law and history to signify the leading rabbis living from the end of period of the Amoraim (around 500 CE) to the beginning of the Geonim (around 700 CE). ... Geonim (also Gaonim) (גאונים) (Singular: Gaon [גאון] meaning pride in Biblical Hebrew and genius in modern Hebrew) were the rabbis who were the Jewish Talmudic sages who were the generally accepted spiritual leaders of the Jewish community in the early medieval era, in contrast to the Resh Galuta/ Exilarch who wielded secular... Rishonim (ראשונים Hebrew - sing. ... Acharonim (Hebrew - sing. ... This article is about traditional Jewish Kabbalah. ... Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... Category:Sephiroth      Sefirah redirects here. ... Qliphoth, kliffoth or klippot, Heb. ... Raziel (Hebrew RZIAL: secret[s] [of the] Lord), is an archangel within the teachings of Jewish mysticism (of the Kabbalah of Judaism) who is the Keeper of Secrets and the Angel of Mysteries. In some teachings he is said to be a Cherub, as well as the chief of the... In the Jewish Kabbalah tradition, Ayn Sof (Ain Sof, Hebrew boundlessness or without end), also known referred to as Divine Being, is the name for God as he is unknown, or the mysterious and ultimate source of all existence. ... In Jewish Mysticism, Tzimtzum (צמצום Hebrew: contraction or constriction) refers to the notion in the Kabbalistic theory of creation that God contracted his infinite essence in order to allow for a conceptual space in which a finite, independent world could exist. ... Category:Sephiroth      Main article: Sephirot (Kabbalah) Tree of life is a mystical concept within the Kabbalah of Judaism which is used to understand the nature of God and the manner in which He created the world ex nihilo (out of nothing). ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Jewish meditation, which in Hebrew is called hisbonenus or hitbonenut, is explained most explicitely in the Kabbalistic and Chassidic texts. ... Zodiac in a 6th century synagogue at Beit Alpha, Israel. ... In Hebrew, astrology was called hokmat ha-nissayon, the wisdom of prognostication, in distinction to hokmat ha-hizzayon (wisdom of star-seeing, or astronomy). ... Rabbi Simeon bar Yohai, (Simon son of Yohai), was a Palestinian rabbi during the Roman period, after the destruction of the Second Temple. ... Moses ben Jacob Cordovero or Moshe Cordevero (1522-1570), known by the acronym the Ramak, was a Medieval rabbi and one of the greatest scholars of Judaisms Kabbalah. ... Rabbi Yitzhak Saggi Nehor רַבִּי יִצְחַק סַגִּי נְהוֹר, also known as Isaac the Blind, (c. ... Not to be confused with Bahya ibn Paquda. ... Nahmanides is the common name for Moshe ben Nahman Gerondi; the name is a Greek translation of the Hebrew Ben Nahman, meaning Son of Nahman. He is also commomly known as Ramban, being an acronym of his Hebrew name and title, Rabbi Moshe ben Nahman, and by his Catalan name... Azriel was one of the most important Jewish mystics in the Spanish town of Gerona (north of Barcelona) during the thirteenth century when it was an important center of the Kabbalah. ... The Grave of Isaac Luria in Safed Rabbi Isaac Luria (1534–July 25, 1572) was a Jewish scholar and mystic. ... Rabbi Chaim Vital (1543-1620) was the closest disciple of the great 16th-century kabbalist, the Ari - Rabbi Itzchak Luria and his foremost interpreter. ... Jacob Emden was a Jewish rabbi, Talmud scholar, and opponent of the Shabbethaians. ... Jonathan Eybeschutz (Kraków 1690 - Altona 1764), was a Talmudist, Halachist and Kabbalist, holding positions as Dayan of Prague, and later as Rabbi of the Three Communities: Altona, Hamburg and Wandsbek. ... Chaim ben Moses ibn Attar was a Talmudist and kabbalist; born at Mequenez, Morocco, in 1696; died in Jerusalem July 31, 1743. ... Nathan Adler (1741-1800) was a German kabalist born at Frankfort-on-the-Main, Dec. ... Elijah Ben Solomon, the Vilna Gaon The Vilna Gaon (April 23, 1720 – October 9, 1797) was a prominent Jewish rabbi, Talmud scholar, and Kabbalist. ... The Chida Rabbi Chaim Joseph David ben Isaac Zerachia Azulai (1724 – 21 March 1807), commonly known as the Chida (by the acronym of his name), was a rabbinical scholar and a noted bibliophile, who pioneered the history of Jewish religious writings. ... Rabbi Shlomo Eliyashiv (12 Tevet, 1841 - March 13 (27 Adar) 1925) (‎) , also known as the Leshem or Baal HaLeshem, was a famous kabbalist, who lived in Shavel, Lithuania. ... Rabbi Yisrael Abuhatzeira (‎), known as Baba Sali (Arabic: praying father) (1890-1984), was a Moroccan-born rabbi and kabbalist. ... Ben Ish Chai, Son [of] Man [who] Lives, (actual Hebrew name Yosef Chaim) was a Sephardic Judaism rabbi (chacham) and Kabbalist who lived in Baghdad from 1832 to 1909. ... Sefer Yetzirah (Hebrew, Book of Creation[1], ספר יצירה) is the title of the earliest book on Jewish esotericism. ... Bahir or Sefer Ha-Bahir סֵפֶר הַבָּהִיר (Hebrew, Book of the Brightness) is an anonymous mystical work, attributed pseudepigraphically to a first century rabbinic sage Nehunya ben ha-Kanah (a contemporary of Yochanan ben Zakai) because it begins with the words, R. Nehunya Ben Ha-Kanah said. It is also known as... This article is a stub. ... Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... “Hebrew” redirects here. ... This article is about traditional Jewish Kabbalah. ... The Torah () is the most important document in Judaism, revered as the inspired word of God, traditionally said to have been revealed to Moses. ... Moses with the Tablets, 1659, by Rembrandt This article is about the Biblical figure. ... Aramaic is a group of Semitic languages with a 3,000-year history. ... “Hebrew” redirects here. ... At the bottom of the hands, the two letters on each hand combine to form יהוה (YHVH), the name of God. ... For other uses, see Soul (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Sin (disambiguation). ...


The Zohar is not one book, but a group of books; these books include scriptural interpretations as well as material on theosophic theology, mythical cosmogony, mystical psychology, and what some would call anthropology. Theosophy, literally god-wisdom (Greek: θεοσοφία theosophia), designates several bodies of ideas. ... Anthropology (from Greek: ἀνθρωπος, anthropos, human being; and λόγος, logos, knowledge) is the study of humanity. ...

Contents

Origin

According to the 20th century religious historian, Gershom Scholem, most of the Zohar was written in an exalted, eccentric style of Aramaic, a language that was spoken in Israel during the Roman Period in the first centuries of the Common Era. The Zohar first appeared in Spain in the 13th century, and was published by a Jewish writer named Moses de Leon. Scholem, based on accounts from De Leon's contemporaries, and on evidence within the Zohar (Spanish idioms and syntax, for example), concluded that De Leon was the actual author. However, more recent scholars have found aspects of Scholem's work problematic and some have proposed (though without any substantial proof or documentation) that the teachings preserved in portions of the Zohar may in fact date back to Talmudic times. Gershom Scholem (born December 5, 1897 in Berlin, died February 21, 1982 in Jerusalem), also known as Gerhard Scholem, was a German-born Jewish philosopher and historian. ... Rabbi Moses ben Shem-Tov de Leon (c. ...


De Leon himself ascribed this work to a rabbi of the second century, Shimon bar Yochai.[1] Jewish legend holds that during a time of Roman persecution, Rabbi Shimon hid in a cave for 13 years, studying the Torah with his son, Elazar.[2][3] During this time he is said to have been inspired by Elijah the Prophet to write the Zohar. For the town in Italy, see Rabbi, Italy. ... ... Elijah, 1638, by José de Ribera This article is about the prophet in the Hebrew Bible. ...


Traditional view of authorship

Title page of first edition of the Zohar, Mantua, 1558. Library of Congress.

Over time, the general view in the Jewish community came to be one of acceptance of Moses de Leon's claims; the Zohar was held to be an authentic book of mysticism passed down from the second century, though certain small groups (Baladi Yemenite, Andalusian [Western Sefardic] and some Italian communities) never accepted it as authentic. The Zohar spread among the Jews with remarkable swiftness.[1] Scarcely fifty years had passed since its appearance in Spain before it was quoted by many Kabbalists, including the Italian mystical writer Menahem Recanati.[1] Its authority was so well established in Spain in the 15th century that Joseph ibn Shem-Tov drew from it arguments in his attacks against Maimonides.[1] Even representatives of non-mysticism oriented Judaism began to regard it as a sacred book and to invoke its authority in the decision of some ritual questions.[1] They were attracted by its glorification of man, its doctrine of immortality, and its ethical principles, which are more in keeping with the spirit of Talmudic Judaism than are those taught by the philosophers.[1] While Maimonides and his followers regarded man as a fragment of the universe whose immortality is dependent upon the degree of development of his active intellect, the Zohar declared him to be the lord of the Creation, whose immortality is solely dependent upon his morality.[1] According to the Zohar, the moral perfection of man influences the ideal world of the Sefirot; for although the Sefirot expect everything from the Ein Sof (Heb. אין סוף, infinity), the Tree of Life itself is dependent upon man: he alone can bring about the divine effusion.[1] The dew that vivifies the universe flows from the just.[1] By the practice of virtue and by moral perfection, man may increase the outpouring of heavenly grace.[1] Even physical life is subservient to virtue.[1] This, says the Zohar, is indicated in the words "for the Lord God had not caused it to rain" (Gen. 2:5), which means that there had not yet been beneficent action in heaven, because man had not yet been created to pray for it.[1] Download high resolution version (450x718, 180 KB)Tile page of first edition of the Zohar, Mantua, 1558. ... Download high resolution version (450x718, 180 KB)Tile page of first edition of the Zohar, Mantua, 1558. ... ( 1st century - 2nd century - 3rd century - other centuries) Events Roman Empire governed by the Five Good Emperors ( 96– 180) – Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius. ... Baladi Jews are Yemenite Jews who generally follow the legal rulings of the Rambam (Maimonides) as codified in his work the Mishneh Torah. ... This article is about traditional Jewish Kabbalah. ... Menahem ben Benjamin Recanati (Hebrew: מנחם בן בנימין ריקנטי) was an Italian rabbi who flourished at the close of the thirteenth century and in the early part of the fourteenth. ... Joseph ibn Shem-Tov (15th century) was a prolific Judæo-Spanish writer born in Castile. ... Commonly used image indicating one artists conception of Maimonidess appearance Maimonides (March 30, 1135 or 1138–December 13, 1204) was a Jewish rabbi, physician, and philosopher in Spain, Morocco and Egypt during the Middle Ages. ... Glory can refer to: Glory (religion) Glory (optical phenomenon) Glory (film) Glory (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... This article is about living for infinite period of time. ... The Talmud (Hebrew: תַּלְמוּד) is a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, customs and history. ... Creation is a doctrinal position in many religions which maintains that one or a group of gods or deities is responsible for creating the universe. ... Sephirah, also Sefirah (Hebrew language סְפִירָה Enumeration); plural Sephiroth or Sefiroth סְפִירוֹת. In the Kabbalah, the Sephiroth (or Enumerations) are the ten emanations of God (or infinite light: Ain Soph Aur) into the universe. ... In the Jewish Kabbalah tradition, Ayn Sof (Ain Sof, Hebrew boundlessness or without end), also known referred to as Divine Being, is the name for God as he is unknown, or the mysterious and ultimate source of all existence. ... “Hebrew” redirects here. ... For other uses, see Genesis (disambiguation). ...


The Zohar was quoted by Todros Abulafia, by Menahem Recanati, and even by Isaac of Acco, in whose name the story of the confession of Moses de Leon's widow is related.[1] Todros ben Joseph Abulafia (1225-c. ... Menahem ben Benjamin Recanati (Hebrew: מנחם בן בנימין ריקנטי) was an Italian rabbi who flourished at the close of the thirteenth century and in the early part of the fourteenth. ... Isaac ben Samuel of Acre (fl. ...


Isaac evidently ignored the woman's alleged confession in favor of the testimony of Joseph ben Todros and of Jacob, a pupil of Moses de Leon, both of whom assured him on oath that the work was not written by Moses.[1]


One objection considered by the believers in the authenticity of the Zohar was the lack of references to the work in Jewish literature; and to this they answered that Shimon ben Yochai did not commit his teachings to writing, but transmitted them orally to his disciples, who in turn confided them to their disciples, and these to their successors, until finally the doctrines were embodied in the Zohar.[1]


As to the references in the book to historical events of the post-Talmudic period, it was not deemed surprising that Shimon ben Yochai should have foretold future happenings. See below however for a more extensive explanation of these problems. [1]


It is worth noting that most of the major Halachic authorities accept the Zohar as authentic and/or have written works on the Kabala. This includes R' Yosef Karo, R' Moses Isserles, R' Solomon Luria, R' Yechiel Michel Epstein, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi (The Alter Rebbe), The Vilna Gaon and R' Yisrael Meir Kagan. Yosef Caro (sometimes Joseph Caro) (1488 - March 24, 1575) was one of the most significant leaders in Rabbinic Judaism and the author of the Shulchan Arukh, an authoritative work on Halakhah (Jewish law). ... Moses Isserles Moses Isserles (or Moshe Isserlis) (1520 - 1572), was a Rabbi and Talmudist, renowned for his fundamental work of Halakha (Jewish law), entitled HaMapah (lit. ... Rabbi Solomon Luria (1510-1574), was one of the great Ashkenazic poskim (decisors of Jewish law) and teachers of his time. ... Rabbi Yichiel Michel Epstein Yechiel Michel Epstein (1829-1907), often called the Aruch ha-Shulchan (after his main work, Arukh HaShulkhan), was a Rabbi and posek (authority in Jewish law) in Lithuania. ... Shneur Zalman of Liadi (‎) (September 4, 1745 – December 15, 1812 O.S.), was an Orthodox Rabbi, and the founder and first Rebbe of Chabad, a branch of Hasidic Judaism, then based in Liadi, Imperial Russia. ... Elijah Ben Solomon, the Vilna Gaon The Vilna Gaon (April 23, 1720 – October 9, 1797) was a prominent Jewish rabbi, Talmud scholar, and Kabbalist. ... A popular image of the Chofetz Chaim. ...


R' Solomon Luria in his responsa writes that except where the Zohar is contradicted by the Babylonian Talmud, the Halacha (Law) follows the Zohar. Rabbi Solomon Luria (1510-1574), was one of the great Ashkenazic poskim (decisors of Jewish law) and teachers of his time. ... Halakha (הלכה in Hebrew or Halakhah, Halacha, Halachah) is the collective corpus of Jewish law, custom and tradition regulating all aspects of behavior. ...


See Likeutei Sichos Vol. 33 pg. 98 where the author, quoting a response Reb Hillel Paricher related from Rabbi Shne'ur Zalman of Liadi (The Alter Rebbe), explains that where there is an argument between Kabbalah and Poskim, the former should be followed. For it is impossible to say that the Kabbalah is in contradiction with the Talmud itself, rather the Kabbalists and the Halachists have variant understanding of the explanation of the Talmud as explained by the Radvaz (Chelek 4, Siman 1,111)and the Chacham Tzvi (Siman 36)(cited in the Sha'arei Teshuvah 25:14). See also Responsa Tzemach Tzedek A.H. Siman 18,4 and Divrei Nechemia Responsa O.H. 21. It should be noted however that as Poskim, the view of the Radvaz [and of the Chacham Tzvi] is that one should follow the opinion of the Zohar only where a conclusive statement has not been made by the Gemara or Poskim or when an argument is found between the Poskim. The above quoted view, attributed to Rabbi Shne'ur Zalman of Liadi, would thus be accepted as authoritative only by followers of Rabbi Shne'ur Zalman of Liadi (The Alter Rebbe)— i.e., the Lubavitchers— the Ben Ish Chai, and other Halacha codifiers who accept to follow the rulings of Kabala over those of the Poskim. Chabad Lubavitch, also known as Lubavitch Chabad, is a large branch of Hasidic Judaism. ... Yosef Chaim (1832 - 1909) was a Hakham and a Sephardic Rabbi, authority on Jewish law (Halakha) and Kabbalist. ...


In Jewish thought today

Much, perhaps most, of Orthodox Judaism holds that the teachings of Kabbalah were transmitted from teacher to teacher, in a long and continuous chain, from the Biblical era until its redaction by Shimon ben Yochai. Many (most?) accept fully the claims that the Kabbalah's teachings are in essence a revelation from God to the Biblical patriarch Abraham, Moses and other ancient figures, but were never printed and made publicly available until the time of the Zohar's medieval publication. The greatest acceptance of this sequence of events is held within Haredi Judaism. Some claim the tradition that Rabbi Shimon wrote that the concealment of the Zohar would last for exactly 1200 years from the time of destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. The Temple of Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 CE and so before revealing the Zohar in 1270, Moses De Leon uncovered the manuscripts in a cave in Israel. This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ... “Abram” redirects here. ... Moses with the Tablets, 1659, by Rembrandt This article is about the Biblical figure. ... Haredi or chareidi Judaism is the most theologically conservative form of Orthodox Judaism. ... The Temple in Jerusalem or Holy Temple (Hebrew: בית המקדש, transliterated Bet HaMikdash and meaning literally The Holy House) was located on the Temple Mount (Har HaBayit) in the old city of Jerusalem. ...


Some in Modern Orthodox Judaism reject the above view as naive. Some Orthodox Jews accept the earlier rabbinic position that the Zohar was a work written in the middle medieval period by Moses de Leon, but argue that since it is obviously based on earlier materials, it can still be held to be authentic, but not as authoritative or without error as others within Orthodoxy might hold. Modern Orthodox Judaism (or Modern Orthodox or Modern Orthodoxy) is a movement within Orthodox Judaism that attempts to synthesize traditional observance and values with the secular, modern world. ...


Jews in non-Orthodox Jewish denominations accept the conclusions of historical academic studies on the Zohar and other kabbalistic texts. As such, most non-Orthodox Jews have long viewed the Zohar as pseudepigraphy and apocrypha. Nonetheless, many accepted that some of its contents had meaning for modern Judaism. Siddurim edited by non-Orthodox Jews often have excerpts from the Zohar and other kabbalistic works, e.g. Siddur Sim Shalom edited by Jules Harlow, even though the editors are not kabbalists. Pseudepigrapha (Greek pseudos = false, epi = after, later and grapha = writing (or writings), latterly or falsely attributed, or down right forged works, describes texts whose claimed authorship is unfounded in actuality. ... Apocrypha (from the Greek word , meaning those having been hidden away[1]) are texts of uncertain authenticity or writings where the authorship is questioned. ... A siddur (Hebrew: סידור; plural siddurim) is a Jewish prayer book over the world, containing a set order of daily prayers. ... Siddur Sim Shalom may refer to any siddur in a family of Jewish prayerbooks released by the Rabbinical Assembly and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. ... Jules Harlow (born June 28, 1931) is a rabbi and liturgist; son of Henry and Lena Lipman Harlow. ...


In recent years there has been a growing willingness of non-Orthodox Jews to study the Zohar, and a growing minority have a position that is similar to the Modern Orthodox position described above. This seems pronounced among Jews who follow the path of Jewish Renewal. Jewish Renewal is a new religious movement in Judaism which endeavors to reinvigorate modern Judaism with mystical, Hasidic, musical and meditative practices. ...


Critical view of authorship

Arguments for a late dating

The suspicion that the Zohar was found by one person, Moses de Leon, and that it refers to historical events of the post-Talmudical period, caused the authorship to be questioned from the outset.[1] A story tells that after the death of Moses de Leon, a rich man of Avila named Joseph offered Moses' widow (who had been left without any means of supporting herself) a large sum of money for the original from which her husband had made the copy.[1] She confessed that her husband himself was the author of the work. She had asked him several times, she said, why he had chosen to credit his own teachings to another, and he had always answered that doctrines put into the mouth of the miracle-working Shimon bar Yochai would be a rich source of profit.[1] The story indicates that shortly after its appearance the work was believed by some to have been written by Moses de Leon.[1] ...


Elijah Delmedigo, in his Bechinat ha-Dat endeavored to show that it could not be attributed to Shimon bar Yochai.[1] The objections were that:

  1. If the Zohar was the work of Shimon bar Yochai, it would have been mentioned by the Talmud, as has been the case with other works of the Talmudic period;[1]
  2. The Zohar contains names of rabbis who lived at a later period than that of Simeon;[1]
  3. Were Shimon ben Yochai the father of the Kabbalah, knowing by divine revelation the hidden meaning of the precepts, his decisions on Jewish law would have been adopted by the Talmud; but this has not been done;[1]
  4. Were the Kabbalah a revealed doctrine, there would have been no divergence of opinion among the Kabbalists concerning the mystic interpretation of the precepts (Bechinat ha-Dat ed. Vienna, 1833, p. 43).[1]

These arguments and others of the same kind were used by Leon of Modena in his Ari Nohem.[1] A work devoted to the criticism of the Zohar was written, Miṭpaḥat Sefarim, by Jacob Emden, who, waging war against the remaining adherents of the Sabbatai Zevi movement, endeavored to show that the book on which Zevi based his doctrines was a forgery.[1] Emden demonstrates that the Zohar misquotes passages of Scripture; misunderstands the Talmud; contains some ritual observances which were ordained by later rabbinical authorities; mentions the crusades against the Muslims (who did not exist in the second century); uses the expression esnoga, which is a Portuguese term for "synagogue,"; and gives a mystical explanation of the Hebrew vowel-points, which were not introduced until long after the Talmudic period.[1] The Talmud (Hebrew: תַּלְמוּד) is a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, customs and history. ... Halakha (Hebrew: הלכה; also transliterated as Halakhah, Halacha, Halakhot and Halachah with pronunciation emphasis on the third syllable, kha), is the collective corpus of Jewish religious law, including biblical law (the 613 mitzvot) and later talmudic and rabbinic law as well as customs and traditions. ... Leon de Modena or Yehudah Aryeh de Modena (1571-1648) was a Jewish scholar born in Venice of a notable French family which had migrated to Italy after the expulsion of the Jews from France. ... Jacob Emden was a Jewish rabbi, Talmud scholar, and opponent of the Shabbethaians. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... A synagogue (from ancient Greek: , transliterated synagogÄ“, assembly; ‎ beit knesset, house of assembly; Yiddish: or Template:Lanh-he beit tefila, house of prayer, shul; Ladino: , esnoga) is a Jewish house of worship. ...


There is a small group among the Orthodox who refuse to accept the Zohar, known as Dor Daim (דרדעים). They are mainly from the Jewish community in Yemen, and claim that the Zohar cannot be true because its ideas clash with the ideas of the Rambam (Maimonides), the great medieval rabbi and rationalist, Rabbi Saadiah Gaon, and other early representatives of the Jewish faith. Dor Daim, sometimes known as Dardaim, are adherents of the Dor Deah movement in Judaism. ... Commonly used image indicating one artists conception of Maimonidess appearance Maimonides (March 30, 1135 or 1138–December 13, 1204) was a Jewish rabbi, physician, and philosopher in Spain, Morocco and Egypt during the Middle Ages. ... Saadia Ben Joseph Gaon (892-942), the Hebrew name of Said al-Fayyumi, was a rabbi who was also a prominent Jewish exilarch, philosopher, and exegete. ...


In the mid-20th century, the Jewish historian Gershom Scholem contended that de Leon himself was the most likely author of the Zohar. Among other things, Scholem noticed the Zohar's frequent errors in Aramaic grammar, its suspicious traces of Spanish words and sentence patterns, and its lack of knowledge of the land of Israel. This finding is still disputed by many within Orthodox Judaism, although not because of any scholarly proofs, but rather because of tradition. Gershom Scholem (born December 5, 1897 in Berlin, died February 21, 1982 in Jerusalem), also known as Gerhard Scholem, was a German-born Jewish philosopher and historian. ... Kingdom of Israel: Early ancient historical Israel — land in pink is the approximate area under direct central royal administration during the United Monarchy. ... Orthodox Judaism is the formulation of Judaism that adheres to a relatively strict interpretation and application of the laws and ethics first canonised in the Talmudic texts (Oral Torah) and as subsequently developed and applied by the later authorities known as the Gaonim, Rishonim, and Acharonim. ...


Yeshayahu Leibowitz, noted professor of philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, claimed that "It is clear that the Zohar was written by de Leon as it is clear that Theodore Herzl wrote Medinat HaYehudim ("A State for the Jews")." Yeshayahu Leibowitz (1903-1994) was an Israeli scientist, philosopher and public figure noted for his outspoken and often controversial opinions regarding morals, ethics, politics, and religion. ... The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (‎, Arabic: ) is one of Israels oldest, largest, and most important institutes of higher learning and research. ... Theodor Herzl Theodor Herzl (May 2, 1860–July 3, 1904) was an Austrian Jewish journalist who became the founder of modern political Zionism. ...


Other Jewish scholars have also suggested the possibility that the Zohar was written by a group of people, including de Leon. This theory generally presents de Leon as having been the leader of a mystical school, whose collective effort resulted in the Zohar.


Another theory as to the authorship of the Zohar is that it was transmitted like the Talmud before it was transcribed: as an oral tradition reapplied to changing conditions and eventually recorded. This view simultaneously believes that the Zohar was not written by Shimon bar Yochai, but was a holy work because it consisted of his principles.


Even if de Leon wrote the text, the entire contents of the book may not be fraudulent. Parts of it may be based on older works, and it was a common practice to ascribe the authorship of a document to an ancient rabbi in order to give the document more weight. It is possible that Moses de Leon considered himself inspired to write this text.


Arguments for an earlier dating

R' Menachem Mendel Kasher in an article in the periodical Sinai refutes many of Scholem's points. He writes: Menachem Mendel Kasher was a Polish rabbi and prolific author. ...

  • 1. Many statements in the works of the Rishonim (medieval commentors who preceded De Leon)refer to Medrashim that we are not aware of. He writes that these are in fact references to the Zohar. This has also been pointed out by R' David Luria in his work "Kadmus Sefer Ha'Zohar".
  • 2. The Zohar's major opponent Elijah Delmedigo refers to the Zohar as having existed for "only" 300 years. Even he agrees that it was extant before the time of R' Moses De Leon.
  • 3. He cites a document from R' Yitchok M' Acco who was sent by the Ramban to investigate the Zohar. The document brings witnesses that attest to the existence of the manuscript.
  • 4. It is impossible to accept that R' Moshe De Leon managed to forge a work of the scope of the Zohar (1700 pages) within a period of six years as Scholem claims.
  • 5. A comparison between the Zohar and De Leon's other works show major stylistic differences. Although he made use of his manuscript of the Zohar, many ideas presented in his works contradict or ignore ideas mentioned in the Zohar. (Luria also points this out)
  • 6. Many of the Midrashic works achieved their final redaction in the Geonic period. Some of the anachronistic terminology of the Zohar may date from that time.
  • 7. Out of the thousands of words used in the Zohar Scholem finds two anachronistic terms and nine cases of ungrammatical usage of words. This proves that the majority of the Zohar was written within the accepted time frame and only a small amount was added later (in the Geonic period as mentioned).
  • 8. Some hard to understand terms may be attributed to acronyms or codes. He finds corrolaries to such a practice in other ancient manuscripts.
  • 9. The "borrowings" from medieval commentaries may be explained in a simple manner. It is not unheard of that a note written on the side of a text should on later copying be added into the main part of the text. The Talmud itself has Geonic additions from such a cause. Certainly this would apply to the Zohar to which there did not exist other manuscripts to compare it with.
  • 10. He cites an ancient manuscript that refers to a book Sod Gadol that seems to in fact be the Zohar.

Concerning the Zohars's lack of knowledge of the land of Israel, Scholem bases this on the many references to a city Kaputkia (Cappadocia) which he states was situated in Turkey not in Israel. Rishonim (ראשונים Hebrew - sing. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Nahmanides (1194 - c. ...


R' Reuvein Margolies (Peninim U' Margolies) states that in an ancient Israeli tombstone there is mentioned a village Kaputkia. In addition, the Zohar states that this village was sitiuated within a day's walk of Lod and Margolies's research corroborates this. This would imply that the author of the Zohar had precise knowledge of the geography of Israel. Reuvein Margolies ראובן מרגליות (b. ...


In the same book he cites many statements of Maimonides that could only have come from a text very similar to the Zohar. In his notes on the Zohar (Nitzotzei Zohar), he points to many corrolaries between statements in the Zohar and other Tannatic literature (Medrashim, The two Talmuds,etc.). Commonly used image indicating one artists conception of Maimonidess appearance Maimonides (March 30, 1135 or 1138–December 13, 1204) was a Jewish rabbi, physician, and philosopher in Spain, Morocco and Egypt during the Middle Ages. ...


Academic historical views

In "Zohar", the Encyclopaedia Judaica article written by the late Professor Gershom Scholem (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) there is an extensive discussion of the sources that the author of the Zohar drew upon. Scholem's views are widely held as accurate among historians of the Kabbalah, but like all textual historical investigations, are not uncriticially accepted; many of the following conclusions are still accepted as accurate, but some current academic scholars of Kabbalah have differing ideas. The Encyclopaedia Judaica is a 26-volume English-language encyclopedia of the Jewish people and their faith, Judaism. ... Gershom Scholem (born December 5, 1897 in Berlin, died February 21, 1982 in Jerusalem), also known as Gerhard Scholem, was a German-born Jewish philosopher and historian. ... This article is about traditional Jewish Kabbalah. ...


Scholem views the author of the Zohar as not writing a totally original work, but rather based the Zohar on a wide variety of Jewish sources that existed before him. The author, however, invents a number of fictious works that the Zohar supposedly quotes, e.g., the Sifra de-Adam, the Sifra de-Hanokh, the Sifra di-Shelomo Malka, the Sifra de-Rav Hamnuna Sava, the Sifra de-Rav Yeiva Sava, the Sifra de-Aggadeta, the Raza de-Razin and many others.


While many original ideas in the Zohar are presented as being from (fictitious) Jewish mystical works, many ancient and clearly rabbinic mystical teachings are presented without their real, identifiable sources being named. Academic studies of the Zohar show that many of its ideas are based in the Talmud, various works of midrash, and earlier Jewish mystical works. Scholem writes: Midrash (Hebrew: מדרש; plural midrashim) is a Hebrew word referring to a method of exegesis of a Biblical text. ...

The writer had expert knowledge of the early material and he often used it as a foundation for his expositions, putting into it variations of his own. His main sources were the Babylonian Talmud, the complete Midrash Rabbah, the Midrash Tanhuma, and the two Pesiktot (Pesikta De-Rav Kahana or Pesikta Rabbati), the Midrash on Psalms, the Pirkei de-Rabbi Eliezer, and the Targum Onkelos. Generally speaking they are not quoted exactly, but translated into the peculiar style of the Zohar and summarized....
... Less use is made of the halakhic Midrashim, the Jerusalem Talmud, and the other Targums, nor of the Midrashim like the Aggadat Shir ha-Shirim, the Midrash on Proverbs, and the Alfabet de-R. Akiva. It is not clear whether the author used the Yalkut Shimoni, or whether he knew the sources of its aggadah separately. Of the smaller Midrashim he used the Heikhalot Rabbati, the Alfabet de-Ben Sira, the Sefer Zerubabel, the Baraita de-Ma'aseh Bereshit, [and many others]...

The author of the Zohar drew upon the Bible commentaries written by medieval Jewish rabbis, including Rashi, Abraham ibn Ezra, David Kimhi and even authorities as late as Nahmanides and Maimonides. Scholem gives a variety of examples of such borrowings. Rashi (1040-1105) (Artists imagination) Rashi רשי is a Hebrew acronym for רבי שלמה יצחקי (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaqi), (February 22, 1040 – July 13, 1105), a rabbi in France, famed as the author of the first comprehensive commentaries on the Talmud and Tanakh. ... Rabbi Abraham Ben Meir Ibn Ezra (also known as Ibn Ezra, or Abenezra) (1092 or 1093-1167), was one of the most distinguished Jewish men of letters and writers of the Middle Ages. ... David Qimchi (sometimes written David Kimchi) (1160-1235) was judaic rabbi also known as RaDaK and a son of rabbi Joseph Kimchi. ... Nahmanides (1194 - c. ... Commonly used image indicating one artists conception of Maimonidess appearance Maimonides (March 30, 1135 or 1138–December 13, 1204) was a Jewish rabbi, physician, and philosopher in Spain, Morocco and Egypt during the Middle Ages. ...


The Zohar draws upon early mystical texts such as the Sefer Yetzirah and the Bahir, and the early medieval writings of the Hasidei Ashkenaz. Sefer Yetzirah (Hebrew, Book of Creation[1], ספר יצירה) is the title of the earliest book on Jewish esotericism. ... Bahir or Sefer Ha-Bahir סֵפֶר הַבָּהִיר (Hebrew, Book of the Brightness) is an anonymous mystical work, attributed pseudepigraphically to a first century rabbinic sage Nehunya ben ha-Kanah (a contemporary of Yochanan ben Zakai) because it begins with the words, R. Nehunya Ben Ha-Kanah said. It is also known as...


Scholem's studies concluded that the author of the Zohar "develops tendencies which appeared first in the writings of the circle of the Gnostics in Castile in the middle of the 13th century ." While this view is still widely accepted as plausible, it is currently being argued that perhaps Scholem has this conclusion backwards. Moshe Idel has argued that the Gnostic views found within the Zohar developed indigenously within Judaism, and from there extended outwards towards adherents of Gnostic theology. A similar approach has been taken by other scholars as well, for example, Yehuda Liebes and Eliiot R. Wolfson. A careful reading of Scholem indicates that Idel's critique is only partially correct. Scholem was equivocal on this point, sometimes arguing that medieval kabbalah was a gnostification of rabbinic thought and practice, and at other time arguing that underlying the ancient gnostic sources we could find a jewish heterodoxy. The latter position is not at odds with the more recent work of Idel, Liebes, and Wolfson.


Zohar's ditheistic theology

In Eros and Kabbalah, Moshe Idel (Professor of Jewish Mysticism, Hebrew University in Jerusalem) argues that the fundamental distinction between the rational-philosophic strain of Judaism and theosophic-mystical Judaism, as exemplified by the Zohar, is the mystical belief that the Godhead is complex, rather than simple, and that divinity is dynamic and incorporates gender, having both male and female dimensions. These polarities must be conjoined (have yihud, "union") to maintain the harmony of the cosmos. Idel characterizes this metaphysical point of view as "ditheism," holding that there are two aspects to God, and the process of union as "theoeroticism." This ditheism, the dynamics it entails, and its reverberations within creation is arguably the central interest of the Zohar, making up a huge proportion of its discourse (pp. 5-56).


Mention should also be made of the work of Elliot Wolfson (Professor of Jewish Mysticism, New York University), who has almost single-handedly challenged the conventional view, which is affirmed by Idel as well, although in the above passage Idel's views were presented as unique. Wolfson likewise recognizes the importance of heteroerotic symbolism in the kabbalistic understanding of the divine nature. The oneness of God is perceived in androgynous terms as the pairing of male and female, the former characterized as the capacity to overflow and the latter as the potential to receive. Where Wolfson breaks with Idel and other scholars of the kabbalah is in his insistence that the consequence of that heteroerotic union is the restoration of the female to the male. Just as in the case of the original Adam, woman was constructed from man, and their carnal cleaving together in portrayed as becoming one flesh, so the ideal for kabbalists is the reconstitution of what Wolfson calls the male androgyne. Much closer in spirit to some ancient Gnostic dicta, Wolfson understands the eschatological ideal in traditional kabbalah to have been the female becoming male (see his Circle in the Square and Language, Eros, Being). If his reading is accepted, then Idel's ditheism may not be the most felicitous term to characterize kabbalistic theology.


Mysticism

Woe unto the man, says Shimon ben Yochai, who asserts that this Torah intends to relate only commonplace things and secular narratives; for if this were so, then in the present times likewise a Torah might be written with more attractive narratives. In truth, however, the matter is thus: The upper world and the lower are established upon one and the same principle; in the lower world is Israel, in the upper world are the angels. When the angels wish to descend to the lower world, they have to don earthly garments. If this be true of the angels, how much more so of the Torah, for whose sake, indeed, the world and the angels were alike created and exist. The world could simply not have endured to look upon it. Now the narratives of the Torah are its garments. He who thinks that these garments are the Torah itself deserves to perish and have no share in the world to come. Woe unto the fools who look no further when they see an elegant robe! More valuable than the garment is the body which carries it, and more valuable even than that is the soul which animates the body. Fools see only the garment of the Torah, the more intelligent see the body, the wise see the soul, its proper being; and in the Messianic time the 'upper soul' of the Torah will stand revealed.

—Zohar In Judaism and Jewish eschatology, the Messiah (Hebrew: משיח; Mashiah, Mashiach, or Moshiach, anointed [one]) is a term traditionally referring to a future Jewish king from the Davidic line who will be anointed (the meaning of the Hebrew word משיח) with holy anointing oil and inducted to rule the Jewish people during...

[1]

Pardes and Biblical exegesis

The Zohar assumes four kinds of Biblical exegesis: Peshat ("simple/literal meaning"), Remez ("hint/allusion"), Derash ("interpretative/anagogical), and Sod ("secret/mystic").[1] The initial letters of the words (P, R, D, S) form together the word PaRDeS ("paradise/orchard"), which became the designation for the fourfold meaning of which the mystical sense is the highest part.[1] Note also the similarity to the word and concept of "paradise."


The mystic allegory in the Zohar is based on the principle that all visible things, including natural phenomena, have both an exoteric reality and an esoteric reality, the latter of which instructs Man in that which is invisible.[1] Exoteric knowledge is knowledge that is publicly available, in contrast with esoteric knowledge, which is kept from everyone except the initiated. ... Etymology Esoteric is an adjective originating during Hellenic Greece under the domain of the Roman Empire; it comes from the Greek esôterikos, from esôtero, the comparative form of esô: within. It is a word meaning anything that is inner and occult, a latinate word meaning hidden (from which...


This principle is the necessary corollary of the fundamental doctrine of the Zohar.[1] According to that doctrine, as the universe is a gradation of emanations, it follows that the human mind may recognize in each effect the supreme mark, and thus ascend to the cause of all causes.[1]


This ascension, however, can only be made gradually, after the mind has attained four various stages of knowledge; namely: (1) the knowledge of the exterior aspect of things, or, as the Zohar calls it (ii. 36b), "the vision through the mirror that projects an indirect light"; (2) the knowledge of the essence of things, or "the vision through the mirror that projects a direct light"; (3) the knowledge through intuitive representation; and (4) the knowledge through love, since the Law reveals its secrets only to those who love it (ii. 99b).[1]


After the knowledge through love comes the ecstatic state which is applied to the most holy visions.[1] To enter the state of ecstasy one had to remain motionless, with the head between the knees, absorbed in contemplation and murmuring prayers and hymns.[1]


There were seven ecstatic stages, each of which was marked by a vision of a different color.[1] At each new stage the contemplative entered a heavenly hall (hekal) of a different hue, until he reached the seventh, which was colorless, and the appearance of which marked both the end of his contemplation and his lapse into unconsciousness.[1]


The Zohar gives the following illustration of an ecstatic state:


One of the most central parts of the Zohar is its interpretation of Biblical text. The Biblical exegesis of the Zohar has been described in the past as a "Mystical interpretation of Biblical verses," however this does not accurately describe the Zohar's relationship to the biblical text. As is often the case in mystical traditions, the author or authors of the Zohar are not satisfied examining anything from a superficial level. This is especially true regarding the Biblical text, where four different levels of increasingly secretive reading are presented. Collectively known as PaRDeS, they include Peshat (most simple) Remez , Drash and Sod (most secretive). Interestingly, unlike many philosophical books of its time, the Zohar works closely with the Biblical text. Its authors closely analyze verses from the Bible, trying to make sense of them without imposing any ideology on to them from the outside. Often, the most enigmatic verses can be understood only after the nuances in the biblical text have been sufficiently understood. Unlike many medieval commentators, the Zohar does not apply any sort of order to systematic thought when trying to understand the Bible. In his book Mishnat Hazohar, Isaiah Tishby describes the style of the Zohar as a "homiletical exegesis." Similarly the style is associative and many verses are explained multiple ways through a constructed dialogue. However Tishby also notes that this lack of structure also has its downsides. The reader who is unfamiliar with the internal logic of the Zohar will find it very difficult to decipher its message.


Perhaps the most unique aspect of the Zohar's exegesis is its relationship to the Bible itself. Unlike most commentators who develop a subject-object relationship with the text, the Zohar describes a different sort of relationship, comparing the Torah to a lover. This sort of subject-subject relationship allows the reader of the Torah (the author of the Zohar) to engage in a sort of playful dialogue with the text. Significant is Elliot Wolfson's argument in "Beautiful Maiden Without Eyes: Peshat and Sod in Zoharic Hermeneutics,” in The Midrashic Imagination: Jewish Exegesis, Thought, and History, edited by Michael Fishbane (State University of New York Press, 1993), 155-203, that the zoharic understanding of the literal and mystical is such that the two are in essence one. For one who first sets out on the path, it seems as if the inner and outer are separate, but as one becomes enlightened, one comes to understand that the external is the internal, and the internal is external. In more recent work, for example, in Language, Eros, Being, Wolfson develops his earlier insight by speaking of the dialectic of concealment and disclosure. Prone to paradoxical modes of expression, Wolfson has argued that the secret is seen from within the garment of the text, and not by discarding that garment. In Wolfson's formulation, the mystery lies right on the surface. In that sense, the text of Torah comprises everything; indeed, from the standpoint of the Zohar, the Torah is the name of God, and just as the name is hidden (the written form YHWH is not pronounced) and revealed (it is vocalized by its epithet Adonai), so the Torah is hidden and revealed. The mystic sage, who is the lover of the Torah, knows, however, that the hidden and the revealed are not paradoxically the same. Wolfson has also argued (in the fifth chapter of Language, Eros, Being) that this insight on the part of the zoharic kabbalists is a tacit polemic against Christian exegesis, which is based on a sharper distinction between the literal and the mystical. The kabbalist resists any notion of reaching the spirit of the text without taking hold of the letter.


Effects on Judaism

On the one hand, the Zohar was lauded by many rabbis because it opposed religious formalism, stimulated one's imagination and emotions, and for many people helped reinvigorate the experience of prayer.[1] In many places prayer had become a mere external religious exercise, while prayer was supposed to be a means of transcending earthly affairs and placing oneself in union with God.[1]


On the other hand, the Zohar was censured by many rabbis because it propagated many superstitious beliefs, and produced a host of mystical dreamers, whose overexcited imaginations peopled the world with spirits, demons, and all kinds of good and bad influences.[1] Many classical rabbis, especially Maimonides, viewed all such beliefs as a violation of Judaic principles of faith.


Its mystic mode of explaining some commandments was applied by its commentators to all religious observances, and produced a strong tendency to substitute mystic Judaism in the place of traditional rabbinic Judaism.[1] For example, Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath, began to be looked upon as the embodiment of God in temporal life, and every ceremony performed on that day was considered to have an influence upon the superior world.[1] This article or section cites very few or no references or sources. ...


Elements of the Zohar crept into the liturgy of the 16th and 17th centuries, and the religious poets not only used the allegorism and symbolism of the Zohar in their compositions, but even adopted its style, e.g. the use of erotic terminology to illustrate the relations between man and God.[1] Thus, in the language of some Jewish poets, the beloved one's curls indicate the mysteries of the Deity; sensuous pleasures, and especially intoxication, typify the highest degree of divine love as ecstatic contemplation; while the wine-room represents merely the state through which the human qualities merge or are exalted into those of God.[1]


Originally, many held that only Jewish men who were at least 40 years old could study Kabbalah, and by extension read the Zohar, because they were believed to be too powerful for those less emotionally mature and experienced.


Influence on Christian mysticism

The enthusiasm felt for the Zohar was shared by many Christian scholars, such as Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, Johann Reuchlin, Aegidius of Viterbo, etc., all of whom believed that the book contained proofs of the truth of Christianity.[4] They were led to this belief by the analogies existing between some of the teachings of the Zohar and certain Christian dogmas, such as the fall and redemption of man, and the dogma of the Trinity, which seems to be expressed in the Zohar in the following terms: "The Ancient of Days has three heads. He reveals himself in three archetypes, all three forming but one.[4] He is thus symbolized by the number Three. They are revealed in one another.[4][These are:] first, secret, hidden 'Wisdom'; above that the Holy Ancient One; and above Him the Unknowable One.[4] None knows what He contains; He is above all conception.[4] He is therefore called for man 'Non-Existing' [Ayin]"[4] (Zohar, iii. 288b). Pico della Mirandola. ... Johann Reuchlin (January 29, 1455 - 1522) was a German humanist and Hebrew scholar. ... Aegidius of Viterbo was a cardinal, theologian, orator, humanist, and poet, born at Viterbo, Italy; died at Rome, 12 November 1532. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations · Other religions Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      Christianity is... This article is about the Christian Trinity. ...


This and other similar doctrines found in the Zohar are now known to be much older than Christianity; but the Christian scholars who were led by the similarity of these teachings to certain Christian dogmas deemed it their duty to propagate the Zohar.[4] Shortly after the publication of the work (Mantua and Cremona, 1558) Joseph de Voisin translated extracts from it which deal with the soul.[4] He was followed by many others.[4]


The disastrous effects of the Sabbatai Zevi messianic movement on the Jewish community dampened the enthusiasm that had been felt for the book in the Jewish community.[4] However, the Zohar is still held in great reverence by many Orthodox Jews, especially the Hasidim (Hasidic Jews).[4] This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This article is about the Hasidic movement originating in Poland and Russia. ...


Appendices and additions

The Zohar is not considered complete without the addition of certain appendixes, which are often attributed either to the same author, or to some of his immediate disciples. These supplementary portions are almost always printed as part of the text with separate titles, or in separate columns. They are as follows:[1]

  • Sifra di-Tsni`uta, consisting of five chapters, in which are chiefly discussed the questions involved in the Creation, such as the transition from the infinite to the finite, that from absolute unity to multifariousness, that from pure intelligence to matter, etc;[1]
  • Idra Rabbah, in which the teachings of the preceding portion are enlarged upon and developed;[1] and Idra Zuta, giving a résumé of the two preceding sections.[1]

To the larger appendixes are added the following fragments: The Idra, which means threshing floor in Aramaic, is a Kabbalistic work included in printings of the Zohar, and was probably written and appended to the main body of the Zohar at a later date. ...

  • Raza de Razin, ("Secret of Secrets") dealing with the connection of the soul with the body;[1]
  • Sefer Hekalot, describing the seven heavenly halls, paradise, and hell;[1]
  • Raya Mehemna, giving a conversation between Moses, the prophet Elijah, and Shimon ben Yochai on the allegorical import of the Mosaic commandments and prohibitions, as well as of the rabbinical injunctions.[1]
  • Sitre Torah, on various topics;[1]
  • Midrash ha-Ne'elam, explaining passages of Scripture mystically by way of hints and gematria (mystical numerology);[1]
  • Saba, containing a conversation between the prophet Elijah and Shimon ben Yochai about the doctrine of metempsychosis;[1]
  • Yanuḳa, on the importance of washing the hands before meals and on similar subjects, written in the name of a child of Hamnuna Saba, whence the title Yanuḳa ("child");[1]
  • Tosefta and Matnitin, in which are sketched the doctrines of the Sefirot, the emanation of the primordial light, etc.

[1] Elijah, 1638, by José de Ribera This article is about the prophet in the Hebrew Bible. ... Midrash (Hebrew: מדרש; plural midrashim) is a Hebrew word referring to a method of exegesis of a Biblical text. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The Tosefta is a secondary compilation of the Jewish oral law from the period of the Mishnah. ...


English translations

  • Matt, Daniel C., trans. Zohar: Pritzker Edition (4 vols. to date). Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004-2007. (The first four volumes of a projected 12-volume, comprehensively-annotated English translation)
  • ____. Zohar: Annotated and Explained. Woodstock, Vt.: SkyLights Paths Publishing Co., 2002. (Selections)
  • ____. Zohar: The Book of Enlightenment. New York: Paulist Press, 1983. (Selections)
  • Scholem, Gershom, ed. Zohar: The Book of Splendor. New York: Schocken Books, 1963. (Selections)
  • Sperling, Harry and Maurice Simon, eds. The Zohar (5 vols.). London: Soncino Press, . (The only complete English translation)
  • Tishby, Isaiah, ed. The Wisdom of the Zohar: An Anthology of Texts (3 vols.). Translated from the Hebrew by David Goldstein. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.

Pritzker is a family name and may refer to: Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago Pritzker Architecture Prize Jay Pritzker, founder of Hyatt & philanthropist Linda Pritzker Abram Nicholas Pritzker, Ukrainian-Jewish immigrant and father of the family of Pritzker Robert Pritzker Thomas Pritzker Liesel Matthews, the stage...

See also

This article is about traditional Jewish Kabbalah. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Sefer Yetzirah (Hebrew, Book of Creation[1], ספר יצירה) is the title of the earliest book on Jewish esotericism. ... Bahir or Sefer Ha-Bahir סֵפֶר הַבָּהִיר (Hebrew, Book of the Brightness) is an anonymous mystical work, attributed pseudepigraphically to a first century rabbinic sage Nehunya ben ha-Kanah (a contemporary of Yochanan ben Zakai) because it begins with the words, R. Nehunya Ben Ha-Kanah said. It is also known as... This article is about a type of Jewish religious music, Baqashot. ...

Academic references

  • Blumenthal, David R. Three is not enough: Jewish Reflections on Trinitarian Thinking, in Ethical Monotheism, Past and Present: Essays in Honor of Wendell S. Dietrich, ed. T. Vial and M. Hadley (Providence, RI, Brown Judaic Studies:
http://www.js.emory.edu/BLUMENTHAL/Trinity.html
  • The Encyclopedia of Jewish Myth, Magic, and Mysticism, Geoffrey Dennis, Llewellyn Worldwide, 2007
  • Studies in the Zohar, Yehuda Liebes (Author), SUNY Press, SUNY series in Judaica: Hermeneutics, Mysticism, and Religion, 1993
  • Challenging the Master: Moshe Idel’s critique of Gershom Scholem Micha Odenheimer, MyJewishLearning.Com, Kabbalah and Mysticism
http://www.myjewishlearning.com/ideas_belief/Kabbalah_and_Mysticism/Overview_Modern_Times/The_Academic_Study_Of_Mysticism/Mysticism_IdelSch_Oden.htm
  • Scholem, Gershom, Zohar in Encyclopadeia Judaica, Keter Publishing
  • Scholem, Gershom, Kabbalah in Encyclopadeia Judaica, Keter Publishing
  • Margolies, Reuvein "Peninim U' Margolies" and "Nitzotzei Zohar" (Heb.), Mossad R' Kook
  • Luria, David "Kadmus Sefer Ha'Zohar" (Heb.)
  • Unterman, Alan Reinterpreting Mysticism and Messianism, MyJewishLearning.Com, Kabbalah and Mysticism
  • Adler, Jeremy, Beyond the Law: the artistry and enduring counter-cultural power of the kabbala, Times Literary Supplement 24 Feb 2006, reviewing: Daniel C Matt, translator The Zohar; Arthur Green A Guide to the Zohar; Moshe Idel Kabbalah and Eros.
http://www.myjewishlearning.com/ideas_belief/Kabbalah_and_Mysticism/Overview_Modern_Times/The_Academic_Study_Of_Mysticism/Mysticism_Liebes.htm

Articles and texts

Wikisource has original text related to this article:
The Zohar and Later Mysticism
Kabbalah Portal

Image File history File links Wikisource-logo. ... The original Wikisource logo. ... This Judaism-related article is in need of attention. ... PDF is an abbreviation with several meanings: Portable Document Format Post-doctoral fellowship Probability density function There also is an electronic design automation company named PDF Solutions. ... Image File history File linksMetadata No higher resolution available. ...

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf Jacobs, Joseph; Broydé, Isaac "Zohar". Jewish Encyclopedia. Funk & Wagnalls Company. 
  2. ^ Scharfstein, Sol (2004). Jewish History and You II, Jewish History and You. Jersey City, NJ, USA: KTAV Publishing House, p. 24. 
  3. ^ http://www.ou.org/chagim/lagbaomer/yochai.htm
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Jacobs, Joseph; Broydé, Isaac "Zohar". Jewish Encyclopedia. Funk & Wagnalls Company. 

  Results from FactBites:
 
Zohar (2350 words)
The fact that the Zohar was found by such an unreliable sponsor as Moses de Leon, taken together with the circumstance that it refers to historical events of the post-Talmudical period, caused the authenticity of the work to be questioned from the outset.
The mystic allegorism is based by the Zohar on the principle that all visible things, the phenomena of nature included, have besides their exoteric reality an esoteric reality also, destined to instruct man in that which is invisible.
However, the Zohar is still held in great reverence by many Orthodox Jews, especially the Hasidim, who, under its influence, assign the first place in religion not to dogma and ritual, but to the sentiment and the emotion of faith.
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