Monday, January 01, 2007

The Zohar

Anotated Zohar

The Zohar

"The chief expression of the Kabbalah is a work know as the Zohar ('Splendor') which was written as a commentary on the Pentateuch. Though it is ascribed to a rabbi of the second century, the work, in the form in which circulated in the last part of the thirteenth century A.D. was composed only a little earlier than then. Since Kabbalism originated in Europe, chiefly in Provence and Spain, the book can probably be ascribed to Moses de Leon, a native of Granada, who died in 1305."
- Ninian Smart, The Religious Experience of Mankind

"When Moses of Leon sat down to write the Zohar, he had to do it in Aramaic He was claiming that it was a transcript of an ancient manuscript which he had acquired, so he had to use the language of a much earlier period....He had learnt the ancient traditions in Ladino, a Spanish-type language spoken by the Jews of Spain and Portugal, and had to translate them; as a result, there are many Spanish words in the text, and some from other languages as well."
- George Sassoon and Rodney Dale, The Manna Machine

"The Zohar is a mystical novel based on the Torah. Its characters include Rabbi Shim'on and his Comrades, biblical figures, and the sefirot, the various aspects of God's personality."
"Gershom Scholem...sifted the writings of Kabbalists, critics, and scholars. He examined the Zohar'/s language, terminology, ideas, and symbolism in the context of early Kabbalah and medieval Hebrew thought and literature. He explored the literary structure of the Zohar, its fictional format, and historical allusions. [In 1925] Scholem demonstrated that the peculiar Aramaic was constructed from literary sources, particularly the Babylonian Talmud and Targum Onqelos; it contains grammatical errors and medieval Hebraisms. The mystical theosophy of the work proved to be pure thirteenth-century Kabbalah, which derived from medieval Jewish Neoplatonism and Gnosticism."

"Parts of the Zohar may have been composed by automatic writing, a technique that is well attested in the history of mystical literature. Joseph Abulafia, an acquaintance of Moses, possessed 'the writing name' (shem ha-kotev), a holy name that focuses meditation and placed one in a trance in which automatic writings were produced."
"The Zohar's style of commentary embraces the precision of textual analysis and the abandon of contemplative fantasy. Its creativity is motivated both consciously and unconsciously."
- Arthur Green in the Preface to the Zohar (Daniel Chana Matt Editor)

"This manuscript, he [Moses of Leon] said, contained the teachings of a well-known Rabbi, Simon bar Yochai, who lived in about +200. Moses of Leon claimed to have edited the manuscript, and to be publishing it for the first time.....The Zohar was an immediate success. Hand-written copies circulated widely until the invention of printing, and many of them still exist.....After Moses' death, his wife admitted that there had been no manuscript; he had invented the whole story as a device to gain publicity for the book."
"It is clear from the Zohar that Moses of Leon must have been a member of a society known as the Reapers of the Holy Field. there were many such societies, whose purpose was to pass on the secret, traditional knowledge of the Jews, the Oral Law, which was said to have been given by the Lord to Moses on the mountain."
"Modern Masons, like ancient Reapers, spend much time memorizing details of the Ancient of Days."
- George Sassoon and Rodney Dale, The Manna Machine

In the first of the Daniel stories (chapter 7), "Daniel sees four monstrous beasts (four successive kingdoms in Asia), the last of which (Alexander's heirs) is sprouting an eleventh horn (King Antiochus IV). This eleven-horned beast is slain by a deeply significant figure, the 'Ancient of Days', the first passage in scripture [168/7 BC] which envisages God as old and white-haired."
- Robin Lane Fox, The Unauthorized Version

"The Reapers of the Field are the Comrades, masters of this wisdom, because Malkbut Shekhinab [the feminine Divine Presence], is called the Apple Field, and She grows sprouts of secrets and new flowerings of Torah. Those who constantly create new interpretations of Torah are harvesting Her."
- Moses Cordovero, Or ha-Hammab

"Come and see:
Every single day, dew trickles down from the Holy Ancient One to the Impatient One,
and the Orchard of Holy Apple Trees is blessed.
Some of the dew flows to those below;
holy angels are nourished by it, each according to his diet, as it is written: '
A human ate angel bread' (Psalms 78:25)
Israel ate of that food in the desert.

Rabbi Shim'on said 'Some people are nourished by it even now!
Who are they?
The Comrades, who engage Torah day and night.
Do you think they are nourished by that very food?
No, by something like that very food; two balancing one."
- Zohar (Daniel Chana Matt Editor)

the Orchard of Holy Apple Trees Shekhinah . The apple trees are the sefirot from Hesed to Yesod, which fill Her. The image originates in the Talmud as a midrashic comment on Genesis 27:27: 'as the fragrance of a field that YHVH has blessed'."
angel bread Hebrew, lebem ahhirim, 'bread of powerful beings'. The verse describes the manna from heaven. In Talmud, Yoma 75b Rabbi Akiva takes the phrase to mean 'bread that the ministering angels eat'. The Zohar adopts this view and sees the manna as a product of divine emanation..."
The Comrades Aramaic, havrayya, 'companions, colleagues, comrades'; the circle of rabbis who gather around Rabbi Shim'on son of Yohai, the master. They constantly engage Torah, searching for her mystical secrets"
two balancing one The mystical Comrades, striving to attain wisdom, are nourished from the sefirah of Wisdom, Hokhmah, which is higher than heaven (Tif'eret), the source of manna...The food of the Comrades is twice as holy as manna!".
- Notes on the Zohar (Daniel Chana Matt Editor)

"The learned commentators of the Talmud, the Rabbis of the synagogue, explain that the garden of delight, in which those four personages are made to enter, is but that mysterious science, the most terrible of sciences for weak intellects, which it leads to insanity."
- A. Franck, Kabbalah


At 1:24 AM, Blogger Seven Star Hand said...

Hello Adrian,

Good Article.
Much of what has been interpreted about the Zohar and presented in Kabbalah is almost accurate, but still in error. If you want to truly understand the nature and purpose of the ancient wisdom symbology evidenced throughout these ancient texts and traditions, follow the links on my profile page and download a free copy of my EBook. I think you'll be both pleased and amazed.



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