Talk:Zohar

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Citing the Zohar[edit]

There seems no standardized way to cite the Zohar in references. For example, I have no idea what "(Zohar iii, 288b)" means. Where exactly is this text?! The Zohar is a big book. I have several editions of the Zohar from various publishers - in Aramaic, Hebrew, as well as English - online and hardcopy - and none of them are indexed in the way above. Each publication seems to organize the Zohar text according to its own method. Some simply give each section its own name without using any numbering system at all. Obviously citing the Zohar with page numbers is useless because different editions have different page numbers, and online editions often have no page numbers at all. Probably Ashlag's Sulam (in Hebrew) with section names and section numbers should be the standardized method for citing the Zohar. It would be helpful if the Wiki article included a table with the equivalent referencing method of each publication. User:Haldrik 6:42, 1 Aug 2006 (UTC)

See the updated Zohar#Contents section and this will become clear. Nissimnanach (talk) 01:03, 2 March 2012 (UTC)Nissimnanach

Zohar and Choseness[edit]

I have a beef. The entry on choseness states "This view of Jews as superior to non-Jews later resurfaced in a part of the Zohar, the classic book of Kabbalah (Jewish esoteric mysticism), and this view has been repeated in a few later Hasidic texts such as the Tanya. " But the entry on Zohar says nothing about these contraversial sections.

The text does not say that the Zohar comments on the Tanya (The Tanya was written centuries later than the Zohar.) Rather, it says that a certain idea in the Zohar (an early work) is repeated in the Tanya (a later work). Or do I misunderstand your question? RK 16:48, 29 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Yes you misunderstand, my beef is with the inconsistency between the Choseness and Zohar entries. The Choseness entry says that the view of Jews as superior to non-jews surfaced in a part of the Zohar. Why does the entry on Zohar say nothing specific of this?

Ok, now I understand your question. The entry on the Zohar is still very incomplete, like many Wikipedia entries on books of philosophy and theology. This is all a work in progress. However, I am compiling information on this very topic as we speak, and should have something very soon. RK 21:05, 29 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Binyamin Writes:

Chosenness comes from the Torah itself. The words are "am segula" In Hebrew "Segol" means purple which is a royal colour and it is also the name for the vowel with three dots. The concept of the trinity in creation is the people of Israel, the land of Israel, and the Torah.

The chosenness of Israel is not because they are better or more intelligent. The chosenness is a task. What is the nation of Israel chosen for? The torah writes clearly "to be a holy people unto me"

Ishmael (now Islaam) inherited an aspect of Abraham's initial mission. The spreading of monotheisism. But they did not inherit the land of Israel and the Torah. This is the "Segola". Being holy is setting an example. It is separating oneself and attaining complete perfection and connection to God. This is the chosenness of Israel. Through their efforts, work, and connection to God they will attain perfection and be an example to all the other nations. Chosenness is thus a very high responsiblility and not "betterness".

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Chosen_People"


View of "The Rishonim", Artscroll publications[edit]

About 15 years ago, Artscroll published a book called "The Rishonim", by Rabbi Hirsch Goldwurm. In his entry on Moses De Leon, he briefly mentions how Moses claimed to come across the Zohar and how it contradicted some of his own philisophical works. However, due to limited resources, I cannot pursue this topic. I would like to ask the Wikipedia community to pick up on this topic.

More publishing information can problably found on their website.

And what about the zohar in Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht

Thanks. --Arithmomaniac38 June 28, 2005 23:27 (UTC)

I've got a copy and will try to condense that POV for this article. It will probably meet with the usual resistance, as secularists tend to dismiss the whole thing as fairytales. JFW | T@lk 12:23, 10 July 2005 (UTC)

AFD result[edit]

This article was nominated for deletion on 10 October 2005. The result of the discussion was speedy keep. An archived record of this discussion can be found here.

--Angr/tɔk tə mi 10:45, 11 October 2005 (UTC)

85.64.76.154[edit]

85.64.76.154 (talk · contribs) has been campaigning hotly to have this article deleted. However, his arguments seem more to indicate that he/she feels there is an NPOV issue here.

The anon feels there is a lack of objective tone, no discussion about whether the legalistic material in the Zohar is legally binding, and too limited coverage on the various rates of acceptance within orthodox Judaism.

Some points:

  • The halakhic role of the Zohar indeed needs to be mentioned, as it contradicts the Talmud frequently.
  • The tone is fairly objective.
  • Belief in the authorship of the Zohar is not a principle of Jewish faith. One can get into a mightly lot of trouble for saying that it was of Rishonic authorship, but it is still not a capital crime.

I would recommend to 85.64.76.154 that small edits with a good edit summary will probably not cause a stir, and larger edits need discussing here. JFW | T@lk 17:00, 11 October 2005 (UTC)

Kabbalah Center translation[edit]

This is perhaps not the best place to ask this question, but could anyone comment on the Kabbalah Center translation in the External Links? I'm sort of torn between "Wow! what a wonderful thing" and trepidation about the quality considering who is responsible for it. That I can find on the site there is no indication who did the translation. Was it by a reputable scholar or some Kabbalah Center nut case? < Puck 04:47, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

Their translations are widely considered to be terrible and unreliable. No one in academia relies upon the translations of the Kabbalah Center. Also, as far as I know, no Orthodox yeshiva trusts their work. Mark3 15:24, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

Well, I am not exactly an expert in Zoharic Aramaic (i.e. I am far from it) but the translation of the Hebrew is odd too...They translate "Shoshana" as Lily.....its actually a Rose.....I believe a Lily is Chavatzeleth.....I would get a different translation....especially for the finer points....

In modern Hebrew, שושנה means "rose". However in Biblical Hebrew, it means "lily". Haldrik 09:41, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

As a note, Daniel Matt's translation gives both, but claims "rose" based on a Ladino translation of the verse in question, perhaps based on contemporary 12th/13th century language vs. Biblical language. MSJapan 09:46, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

Presumably this word, "Shoshana" is where the King James Edition gets the phrase "Rose of Sharon" in its translation of the Song of Songs. Interestingly, think how different we would view the Christian message if we had got "Consider the Roses of the Field" rather than "Consider the Lilies of the Field" (although I know the NT was written in Koine Greek!). I assume the Lily, like the Rose to Europeans and the Lotus to Indians, Chinese etc was conisdered a Sacred Flower to the Jews. ThePeg 11:54, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

Hey. I'd added a link to the Kabbalah Center's Zohar translation in the links a while ago, and I recently found out that you have to sign up with the organization to read their free translation. Should the link stay up, or should it be taken down? Sean 0000001 (talk) 04:09, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Missing Extract[edit]

A really interesting article but there's a bit missing it seems... The article breaks off at one point to quote a description of the ecstatic state of a Kaballist achieving union with God but the extract doesn't seem to be there. Could it be reinstated? ThePeg 11:51, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

Controverisal origins of the Zohar and Kabbalah[edit]

I would add that this article is very dated and somewhat misinformed. There are several layers within and after Scholem. For example, Scholem's student, Isaiah Tishby, also thought the Zohar was the work of Moshe de Leon but he also added the earliest refutation was back in the early 13th century. Yehuda Liebes (another descendent of scholem, et al) has an amazing work from 15 years ago that demonstrates an alternative, and more probable origin for the work in a 'circle' of Kabbalists whom he identifies in detail. Furthermore, I really don't see the necessity to speak of the Christian Kabbalists here, but Liebes does have a very interesting article in the same book on Christianity in the Zohar ... if that is not too sensitive a subject.

Your points are well taken. I have started a section on historical analysis of the Zohar, with an emphasis on the origin of the Zohar's innovative teachings. This indeed would be too senstive a subject for an Orthodox Yeshiva, and could also be too sensitive for those true adherents of Kabbalah within liberal Judaism, like Jewish Renewal. But it is a valid academic topic, the quotes from the Zohar on the Trinity are too widely known to be ignored, and Wikipedia won't restrict itself from summarizing academic debates on controversial issues. I brought forth referenced quotes by Liebes, and ideas from other scholars on the same subject.
I don't know what to make of any of this. I can't see any of Kabbalah as being Jewish. It seems like a foreign theology that was somehow accepted lock-stock-and-smoking-barrel into all streams of Judaism. The Trinity of the Zohar just is icing on a very rich cake of things that seem to make no Jewish sense. I have been informed that many deep adherents of kabbalah say that it can't really be understood by humans, so I do not understand the point of it at all.
But some Jews like it and view it as compatible with Judaism, so there you have it! I can't veto this widespread acceptance.
We do need much more information on the studies on Gersom Scholem, Moshe Idel, Isaiah Tishby, and others. That is necessary not only for this article, but for the other articles on Kabbalah, Gnosticism, and Hasidism. Mark3 02:46, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

I am now adding material on historical academic views of the Zohar's origins. Alternate views, both academic historical and traditional rabbinic, would also be appropriate. Would anyone care to add the views of Modern Orthodox rabbis, or of current day scholars like Moshe Idel? Mark3 15:24, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

This article or section does not cite its references or sources[edit]

I have added specific sources for all the new material entered yesterday and today. These sources also support most of what aleady is in the article. More sourcing would be welcome. Mark3

The manic pressure requiring "sources", "sources", "sources", as depicted in Wikipedia:Citing sources is sometimes absurd. Imagine having Albert Einstein himself contributing an article on his General Relativity theory. In no time at all, an Admin would sprout out of nowhere, and would not think twice before tagginig the article with such nonsense requiremet. Is not simple, plain knowledge sufficient grounds for writing a valid article? As the above text clearly explains, the article already cites several sources. I've removed the tag. --AVM 12:51, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

Acceptance[edit]

There is no source that the Zohar was just accepted over time. Actually to say it somehow mystically was accepted over some time while you see major opposition to it in every generation is very illogical. While it is mostly kept hidden to the public almost all historians will tell you on the Sabbatai Zvi incident that along with it came the mainstream acceptance of the Zohar and obviously Luraic Kabbalah. Which answers the question why virtually all of the kabbalistic schools are Luraic in basis. This isn't original research. You can hear it plain out by Elisheva Carlebach in her lecture on the subject which can be found on the Sephardic Institutes' website. Or ask your LOHR (local orthodox historian rabbi). 203.206.248.147 18:52, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Arguments for (unsuccessful) deletion: are these settled?[edit]

Below I've copied some arguments that motivated the deletion attempt, for the reason that they seem important to this discussion, and the suspicion that they have not been completely settled yet: --AVM 15:30, 7 March 2007 (UTC)


This article purposefully ignores a large amount of documented, historical data, regarding the non-authenticity and non-acceptance of the Zohar that does (and did) exist within the current and previous generations of the observant, Jewish world. Also, the article minimalizes the truth by using many emotive words, that display a terrible level of bias, and assume the truth and acceptance of the Zohar (from the start), while totally ignoring many strong and real arguments that have been made since its inception. Objective words like "claim" and "purport to" are totally left out of the discussion, when they rightfully should be the terms of choice. In addition, the author picks and chooses from an extremely limited level of chosen arguments (against his own position), which he/she then immediately answers in an extremely non-scholarly fashion, that leaves out the true complexities of the original objections that have been made over the past 1,000 years. In short, this reads more like an advertisement for book publishers of the Zohar than it does for an encyclopedic article. And whoever this author is, he is lightning quick to replace a copy of his original article back on line, after edits have been attempted. This just is not fair!
--Concepts (such as the position of the Zohar in Jewish Law) are totally glossed over, without any serious attention to it at all. The author makes it appear that the Zohar was universally accepted. Any old, legitimate, and dissenting opinions appear totally insignificant in selling of this article. Nor does he/she mention these specific objections. Only his/her own, which he/she is able to answer.
--The four main legitimate positions in today's observant Jewish world are ignored -- which are:
  1. - Partial acceptance: (portions of the work may be old and midrashic but not written by rabbi Shimon ben Yohai)
  2. - Some may may have been written by him, and some was not.
  3. - All was written by him
  4. - None was written by him

I simply do not understand. If wikipedia purports to be an encyclopedia, then it simply cannot feature articles of such poor research. There is little to no understanding of the academic work on the zohar, such as that by Scholem, Tishby, Liebes, Wolfson, etc. It's really shameful. As with many articles featured here on Judaism, there is little historical research or understanding. The article is filled with anachronistic definitions and criteria (for instance, the shoddy lay-out of how current Jewish movements consider the authorship of the Zohar). The article has a clear bias towards Orthodoxy, and a poor understanding of the shape of the Jewish world today. Can someone please come in and give this article a complete overhaul? It is next to useless.


Menachem Kasher[edit]

The aticle of Menachem Mendel Kasher hereDaat is I think of tremendous importance. His points are: 1.Comparison bet. Zohar and De Leon's other works show major differences. 2. Scholem out of 1700 pages containing millions of words finds exactly two words that seem to be "modern". well 999,998 out of a milion ain't bad. (especially as said words are mentioned in the geonic works and final redaction on many midrashim was in the Geonic period.) 3. Possibilty of the Zohar's terminology stemmming from ancient Syriac 4. points to an old manuscript in which many "new" words are formed from acronyms, numerical codes (gematryo) and the like. 5. It's quite common that notes written on the side of a manuscript found their way into the main text. "the author of the Zohar drew upon the Bible commentaries written by medieval Jewish rabbis" can be explained like this. 6. Reuvain Margolies points to many halachos in Maimonides that could only have come from a text similar to the Zohar.

This I have from a quick skim of the article. Is it worth making a breakoff article of criticism and defense of Zohar or a seperate section? I've focused on the philogical difficulties but I'm also aware of refutations to the other problems. This article (and many others on wikipedia) draws a good deal from the Jewish Encyclopedia, being as that is a Reform publication, I find that there are definite POV problems with articles based on it. I will await suggestions before editingWolf2191 04:19, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

The Jewish Encyclopedia wasn't truly a "Reform publication," but it advocated a "scientific" approach, relying heavily on 19th-century Wissenschaftliche scholarship. Some of its contributors would be classified today as Conservative and perhaps some even as Modern Orthodox. In any case, its "Zohar" article discusses both sides of the issue but leans toward the view that Moses De Leon was not the author. It was Scholem who really made De Leon authorship the academic conventional wisdom. —חנינא

It's worth mentioning that there isn't a reputable halachic authority that does not accept the Zohar. This includes R Yosef Karo, the Marshal, R' Moshe Isserles (I've seen his commentary on Zohar), The Gr"a, the Mishna Berura, the Aruch Ha"shulchan. Re: Halacha and the Zohar Maharshal states that if the Zohar doesn't contradict Halcha we follow the Zohar (this is the accepted Halacha). I will try to find the exact responsa if desired. Wolf2191 04:42, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

I edited a major addition to the authenticity of the Zohar section. It may be worth placing the authenticity issue in a seperate page.Wolf2191 02:32, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

That addition about the Shulchan Arukh Harav is odd because it isn't reflected in his halachic work AFAIK. Wolf2191 01:37, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

"The only 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"

This is biased. It makes believers in Cabal sound awfully naive (see below for Kasher' refute) will edit such sentences.

Kasher's criticism of Scholem hardly proves that the zohar originated in 1st century Palestine. The cobbled-together nature of the aramaic of the zohar plainly shows the medieval origins of this work. this is obvious to anyone who has studied the work. the language is simply not Talmudic-era aramaic.

"Book of Splendor"?[edit]

The Drudge Report today announced that: "Madonna: I'm an 'Ambassador for Judaism'." It would appear that Modonna gave something called the "Book of Splendor" to the President of Israel, Shimon Peres. Is this "Book of Splendor" the Zohar? If so, this article should make reference to this English-language term.

You are correct. I was wondering why the Kabbalah Centre translation/version of the Zohar is not listed among the english translations, why is this? I thought the Kabbalah centre's version was in english. If so, could someone index this in the article? 72.49.203.96 20:05, 7 October 2007 (UTC) Joshua

Sources, original research, etc.[edit]

I've removed some stuff that was obviously the thoughts of various editors -- see WP:OR and WP:Verify. I think that there is quite a bit still that needs specific citations - for books, this means page numbers. Cited authors need to discuss the specific claim being made in the article, remember. And citations should all be of the same style, see WP:CITE. Thanks. Dougweller (talk) 07:55, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

too much and not enough[edit]

Too much of this article discusses critiques of Zohar and not enough describes its structure or format. Patrij (talk) 15:05, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

Zohar Article Rework[edit]

I agree that we need more on the structure of the Zohar itself, and its traditional history. I will also do a section for the Sulam Commentary by Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag. If there is anything else we need to do to make this article class A. Need to research for this edit. Empireheart (talk) 08:43, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

One month later[edit]

After a lot of sweat and tears, I think we have a good article for the Zohar. Need more formatting on the structure section to make it look nicer to the eyes. A history of editing can be found here, also added the edits on the article since I started my editing, one drawback to editing in a sandbox. Editing History —Preceding unsigned comment added by Empireheart (talkcontribs) 23:27, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

Hi Empireheart; did you notice that in the intervening month I substantially changed the structure of the article, expanded the introduction, etc? Maybe we could work on synthesizing instead of tossing it all out? Kaisershatner (talk) 03:24, 24 December 2009 (UTC)

There is still a large amount of direct quotation and paraphrase from the Jewish Encyclopedia without attribution Markdf10825 (talk) 17:04, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

Reception today?[edit]

I wonder if anyone could tell me how Jews receive the book of Zohar today? Is it commonly accepted and used? Or is it used and accepted only in certain, specialized kabbalisitc Jewish schools? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 92.75.192.138 (talk) 23:10, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

The Zohar is accepted by all orthodox Jews, and is used by many. It is accepted by most other Jews that believe in God, and is used by some. Kabbalah is a major trend, and the Zohar is an essential source of Kabballah. MS444 3 Sep 2010 —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ms444 (talkcontribs) 10:27, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
In the case of the Zohar, common acceptance does not necessarily equate to common use. And while the Zohar may be accepted by all Hasidic sects it did not attain the same across the board acceptance by non-Hasidic Orthodox groups (e.g., Rabbis Eliyahu Dessler and Gedaliah Nadel). As to its use, while Hasidim in particular are known for reading it, it not nearly as usual for non-Hasidic Jews - even those who believe in it (whatever the extent of that belief) - to so much as read it. Contributor613 (talk) 20:39, 26 December 2014 (UTC)

Neo-platonist influence[edit]

There should be some discussion of neo-platonist influence on the Zohar, particularly the theory of emanations.86.44.85.109 (talk) 11:27, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

"Castille Gnostics"[edit]

I believe the analysis in the following paragraph here is incorrect. When Scholem was talking about "Gnostics in Castile", he wasn't talking about non-Jewish gnostics. "Castille Gnostics" was his special term for a group of Kabbalists he had found in his research, that wrote about the "left hand emanation" (sitra ahra). Scholem was saying that this influenced the "sitra ahra" of the Zohar. Maybe it's a mistake that he called them "gnostics", but anyway, they were just another influence of Jewish Kabbalists on the Zohar. I or someone else can change the wording to reflect this (there are plenty of refs for it).

"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 Elliot R. Wolfson."[end quote]Jimhoward72 (talk) 08:28, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

Daath??[edit]

In the picture on this page, "Daath" (דעת) appears as דצת. What the hell? Myrkkyhammas (talk) 00:10, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

more video[edit]

Chabad has a Daily Zohar study section with videos. Granted this is from a Chassidic point of view; at least it is complete. 108.45.122.74 (talk) 13:56, 5 August 2012 (UTC)

it sounds great!--Noah Bernstein (talk) 16:11, 21 September 2012 (UTC)

could you provide me a link to some of those videos? or some reference?Thanks--Noah Bernstein (talk) 13:08, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

link rot[edit]

The link to Zohar with English on archive.org doesn't work; archive.org has posted a message about its content. Please remove until this is resolved. 96.255.124.231 (talk) 12:20, 4 November 2013 (UTC)

Contemporary religious view[edit]

In the section, Contemporary religious view, the author in his own voice writes, "He [, Menachem Mendel Kasher,] writes: 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 ..."

I have added the bolding. So who is "we"? the reference is obviously not to Menachem Mendel Kasher because the next sentence refers to him again in the 3rd person. With this statement, the writer of this article apparently referring to -- himself and other rabbis? -- other students of Judaism?

This does not satisfy the neutral point of view. I have not been able to find the original editor who introduced this WP:NPOV issue, but it seems to be more than 5 years ago. Will some interested and informed editor please fix? Slade Farney (talk) 23:24, 6 February 2015 (UTC)

However R Soloman Luria admits in responsa 98 that the zohar can't override a minhag.[edit]

I wrote this a while back but the truth is "admits" isn't the right word "admonishes" is better but that didn't fit in the paragraph so i just wrote admits Sadya goan (talk) 13:20, 14 October 2015 (UTC)