Zohar, the Book of Enlightenment

By Daniel Chanan Matt | Go to book overview

FOREWORD & INTRODUCTION

Foreword
1.
Literally, zohar means "splendor, radiance." In the Zohar the root zhr often appears in the context of mystical perception or an enlightened state of being; see Zohar 1:52a-b, 234a (Tosefta); 2:2a, 23a-b; 3:202a; cf. Daniel 12:3: "The enlightened will shine like the zohar of the sky," cited frequently in the Zohar; Psalms 19:12; Mitchell Dahood, Psalms (New York, 1965), 1:121, 124; Efraim Gottlieb, Meqarim be-Sifrut ha-Qabbalah, pp. 210-1 (hereafter cited as Meqarim).

Introduction
1.
Benjamin Mintz, ed., Shivei ha-Besht (Tel Aviv, 1961), p. 61; Gershom Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism, pp. 156-7 (hereafter cited as Major Trends).
2.
Isaac's diary, Sefer Divrei ha-Yamim, is cited in Sefer ha-Yuasin, written by the astronomer and historian Avraham Zacuto. Zacuto himself believed in the antiquity of the Zohar despite the critical conclusions that could be drawn from the story. For an analysis of the document see Scholem, Madda'ei ha- Yahadut 1 (1926): 16-29; idem, Major Trends, pp. 190-2; Isaiah Tishby, Mishnat ha-Zohar 1:28-33 (Introduction), who includes a corrected text of the citation.
3.
On the chanting of Zohar, cf. the remark by the eighteenth-century scholar Moses Hayyim Luzzatto (cited by Tishby, Mishnat ha-Zohar, 1:44 (Introduction): "Even if one does not understand, the language is suited to the soul."
4.
Sheqel ha-Qodesh, ed. A. W. Greenup, p. 3.
5.
This MS is described in the catalogue of the Guenzberg collection (no. 771), now in Moscow; see Israel Zinberg, A History of Jewish Literature, trans. Bernard Martin, 3:41; Scholem, Major Trends, p. 194.
6.
On the early stages of Kabbalah see Scholem, Ursprung und Anfange der Kabbala (hereafter cited as Ursprung); idem, Kabbalah, pp. 8-57.
7.
The Hebrew text appears in Scholem, Major Trends, pp. 397-8, n. 154. On the role played by Kabbalah in the Maimonidean controversy see idem, Ursprung, pp. 357-66; Daniel J. Silver, Maimonidean Criticism and the Maimoni- dean Controversy, pp. 182-98 (hereafter cited as Maimonidean Criticism).
8.
Or Zaru'a, ed. Alexander Altmann, Qoveal Yad, n.s. 9 (1980): 249. On the last lines see 1 Samuel 14:29; Isaiah 2:5. On the concept of "Know yourself"

-193-

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Zohar, the Book of Enlightenment
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Zohar - The Book of Enlightenment *
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments *
  • Preface xiii
  • Foreword xv
  • Introduction *
  • How to Look at Torah 43
  • Zohar on Genesis *
  • The Creation of Elohim 49
  • The Hidden Light 51
  • Adam's Sin 54
  • Male and Female 55
  • After the Flood 57
  • Abram, the Soul-Breath 60
  • Abram's Descent into Egypt 63
  • Openings 65
  • An Offering to God 69
  • The Binding of Abraham and Isaac 72
  • Jacob's Journey 75
  • Joseph's Dream 80
  • Seduction above and below 84
  • Jacob's Garment of Days 91
  • Zohar on Exodus *
  • The Birth of Moses 99
  • Moses and the Blazing Bush 102
  • Moses and His Father-In-Law 105
  • Colors and Enlightenment 107
  • Pharaoh, Israel, and God 111
  • Manna and Wisdom 113
  • Is There Anyone like Moses? 117
  • All of Israel Saw the Letters 119
  • The Old Man and the Beautiful Maiden 121
  • The Gift of Dwelling 127
  • The Secret of Sabbath 132
  • The Golden Calf 133
  • Zohar on Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy *
  • Qorban and Olah, Drawing near and Ascending 145
  • Guests in the Sukkah 148
  • God, Israel, and Shekhinah 153
  • Threshing out the Secrets 163
  • The Rabbis Encounter a Child 170
  • Miracles 177
  • The Wedding Celebration 182
  • Notes *
  • Foreword & Introduction 193
  • Zohar 204
  • Appendix *
  • Glossary 303
  • Bibliography 307
  • Index to Zohar Passages 311
  • Index to Preface, Foreword, Introduction and Notes 313
  • Index to Text 316
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