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- 5 Things You Should Know About The Zohar | kabbalah.info
- A Ladder to The Zohar
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- Kabbalah: The Zohar
5 Things You Should Know About The Zohar | kabbalah.info
The beginning of wisdom has reference to the great object of wisdom, viz. This is the gate or way of the Lord through which everyone must pass in order to attain lento this life and live in the presence of the heavenly king. Ere this, however, there are several other gates on the upward course which must be passed through, each with their bolts and bars that have to be unloosed, and the last of which is that called "the fear of the Lord. There are in scripture two beginnings bereshith mentioned, and are united into one, viz. As it is written: "That men may know that thy name is Jehovah only. Why is the first gate called the fear of the Lord? Because it is a tree of good or evil. When a man lives uprightly, it is a tree of good to him; if unjustly, a tree of evil. It is the gate or portal through which all blessing, spiritual or temporal, comes. The words: "A good understanding," refer to those gates which, as aforesaid, are one and the same. Said Rabbi Jose: "A good understanding"; it is the tree of life without admixture or alloy of evil. Rabbi Simeon was sitting engaged in meditation and study of the secret doctrine during the night when the celestial bride becomes united to her bridegroom, for then, it is enjoined upon all the members of her retinue they should especially be present to accompany her to the nuptial dais and rejoice with her. On the eve of the heavenly union they must devote themselves to the study of the Pentateuch, the prophetical hooks, and the other parts of scripture, to the explanation of verses, and their occult meaning in which the heavenly spouse takes great delight. These students, with their acquired knowledge resulting from their studies, are "the marriage guests. Happy and blessed is their lot! Rabbi Simeon, together with his students, spent the night in study and acquiring deeper knowledge of esoteric science. Then said Rabbi Simeon: Blessed are ye! Rabbi Simeon again spake and said: "The heavens declare the glory of God. These words have already been explained, but they possess a deeper mystical meaning. At the time that the heavenly spouse is adorned in order to ascend the nuptial dais surrounded with the masters or teachers who have rejoiced with her throughout the night, beholding her husband, then is it "the heavens declare the glory of God," the heavens meaning the bridegroom who enters the nuptial chamber. The word "declare" mesapherim signifies sending forth glittering rays from one end of the wood to the other like a brilliant sapphire. During the whole of the year up to the eve of the celestial union, He is called El, but when the marriage day is consummated, he takes the name of Kobad glory. These two names are a source of reciprocal light, power and joy to each other. Rabbi Hammenuna, the aged, has said: "Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin" Eccles. Never allow thy lips to give expression to evil words and thus sin against thy flesh which has been sanctified with the seal of the holy covenant, for by so doing thou incurrest the danger of being cast into the hell of evil and wrong-doing Gehennathe ruler of which is called Duma and is always attended with destroying angels, observing those who keep the covenant over whom they have then no power to injure or afflict. It is further written: "Neither say. What firmament? In it are found and written the names of all who have kept themselves pure and undefiled. If the question be asked who resides in them? Scripture declares: "In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun," that is, the Holy One has fixed his mansion or tabernacle in the heavens wherein he is adorned and is then as a bridegroom Ps. For this reason the duration of a year is termed, thqouphatha-shana, for during that period the earth has travelled round the sun, and been the recipient of the whole of its rays of light and heat. From the beginning of this Psalm 19th the tetragrammaton or holy name I. He created six and these six letters correspond to the six first words of scripture which express. Bra, Alhim, eth, hassamayim, veath, aaretzs Alhim created the substance of the heaven and the earth 9a or thus: Alhim created the substance of fire, water and earth. At this moment Rabbi Eleazar and Rabbi Abba entered the assembly. On beholding them, Rabin Simeon exclaimed: Truly is the presence of the Schekinah with you and therefore I have called you Peniel, for ye have seen the Schekinah face to face, and now that I have explained the esoteric meaning of Benaiah, Son of Jehoida, I will explain to you the mystical meaning of yet another biblical verse: "And he slew an Egyptian, a man of great stature five cubits high" I.
A Ladder to The Zohar
The Zohar is known as the primary text of the Kabbala. Its pre-eminent place in Jewish mysticism does not derive solely from its antiquity or its authorship. Rabbi Shimon himself apparently wrote some of the Zohar…while hiding in a cave from the Roman authorities… The Zohar's importance must rather be attributed to its comprehensiveness, becoming the source for practically all the later authoritative Kabbalistic teachings of the school of R. Yitzchak Luria and others. Shalshelet HaKabbala pg. The Zohar itself attributes its disclosure of the Torah 's mysteries to R. Shimon bar Yochai known by the acronym " Rashbi "the second-century Tanna who is the central master in the Zohar, and his disciples " Chevraya " in Hebrewincluding his son R. Elazarhis scribe R. Abba, R. YehudaR. Yossi ben YaakovR. YitzchakR. ChizkiyahR. Chiya, R. Yossi, and R. Yaakov bar Idi. See also ibid. III, b and b. In addition, early sources state that the composition of the Zohar extended over the period of Rashbi, his disciples and their disciples, who recorded many of the teachings passed on orally from Rabbi Shimon to his close associates and disciples. The present form of the Zohar, in order of the parshiyot of the Torah, is of a much later date, most likely from the period of the Geonimand there are some interpolations from these late editors. The Zohar…hastens the redemption and draws forth divine effluence…. The Zohar was concealed for many centuries, as the study of the Kabbala was restricted to a select few qualified individuals. It became revealed only in the thirteenth century and was published by one of the leading kabbalists living in Spain, Rabbi Moshe de Leon. Some believed that the Ramban Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman c. Others explained that these manuscripts had been hidden in a vault for a thousand years and had been discovered by an Arabian king who sent them to Toledo to be deciphered. Some maintained that Spanish conquistadors had discovered the manuscripts of the Zohar among many others in an academy in Heidelberg Shem HaGedolim, ibid. Other explanations have also been offered. The mystics ascribe special potency to the study of the Zohar: it effects a nullification of evil decrees, eases the travails of exile, hastens the redemption, and draws forth divine effluence and blessings See R. Abraham Azulai, Foreword to Or Hachamahp. There is great merit even in the mere recitation of the sacred texts of the Zohar, even though one does not understand them R. Ideally an effort is to be made to understand and comprehend the texts. The language of the Zohar, however, is abstruse, aside from the difficulty of its mystical principles and ideas. The greater part of the Zohar is written in Aramaic. This led to various attempts to translate the Zohar into Hebrew. There were several old translations, such as one by the renowned R. Israel ibn Al-Nakavah in the fourteenth century 4 and by one R. Berachiel, apparently around the sixteenth century. Chaim Vitalthe principal disciple of R.
The Zohar Secret
It is a mystical commentary on the Torah five books of Moseswritten in medieval Aramaic and medieval Hebrew. It contains a mystical discussion of the nature of Godthe origin and structure of the universe, the nature of souls, sin, redemption, good and evil, and related topics. 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. According to Gershom Scholemmost of the Zohar was written in an exalted style of Aramaic that was spoken in Palestine during the second century of the modern era. He ascribed this work to a rabbi of the second century, Simeon ben Yohai. Jewish historiography holds that during a time of Roman persecution, Rabbi Simeon hid in a cave for 13 years, studying the Torah five books of Moses with his son Eliezar. During this time he is said to have been inspired by God to write the Zohar. The fact that the Zohar was found by one lone individual, Moses de Leontaken 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. There is a story told about how after the death of Moses de Leona rich man of Avila, named Joseph, offered the widow, who had been left without means, a large sum of money for the original from which her husband had made the copy; and she then 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 Simeon ben Yohai would be a rich source of profit. Incredible as this story seems, it at least proves that shortly after its appearance the work was believed by some to have been written entirely by Moses de Leon. Over time, however, the general view in the Jewish community came to be one of acceptance of Moses ben Shem-Tov's claims; the Zohar was held to be an authentic book of mysticism passed down from the second century. The Zohar spread among the Jews with remarkable celerity. Scarcely fifty years had passed since its appearance in Spain before it was quoted by many cabalists, among whom was the Italian mystical writer Menahem Recanati. Its authority was so well established in Spain in the fifteenth century that Joseph ibn Shem-Tov drew from it arguments in his attacks against Maimonides. It exercised so great a charm upon the cabalists that they could not believe for an instant that such a book could have been written by any mortal unless he had been inspired from above; and this being the case, it was to be placed on the same level with the Bible. 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. 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 Talmudical Judaism than are those taught by the philosophers. 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. 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. The dew that vivifies the universe flows from the just. By the practice of virtue and by moral perfection man may increase the outpouring of heavenly grace. Even physical life is subservient to virtue. This, says the Zohar, is indicated in the words "for the Lord God had not caused it to rain" Gen. The Zohar was quoted by Todros Abulafiaby Menahem Recanati, and even by Isaac of Acco, in whose name the story of the confession of Moses de Leon's widow is related. 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 Leonboth of whom assured him on oath that the work was not written by Moses. The only objection worthy of consideration 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 Simeon ben Yohai 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. As to the references in the book to historical events of the post-Talmudic period, it was not deemed surprising that Simeon ben Yohai should have foretold future happenings. The first attack upon the accepted authorship of the Zohar was made by Elijah Delmedigo. Without expressing any opinion as to the real author of the work, he endeavored to show, in his "Bechinat ha-Dat" that it could not be attributed to Simeon ben Yohai. The objections were that:. Vienna,p.