Concept - Zohar
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Beginning Kabbalah > Concepts of Kabbalah > Zohar

The Zohar
The Zohar is widely considered the most important part of the Kabbalah. The translation of Zohar is Radiance. Written in Aramaic it is a mystical commentary on the Torah. In the Zohar is 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 the relationship between Man and G'd.
The Zohar is a group of books including scriptural interpretations as well as material on theosophic theology, mythical cosmogony, mystical psychology, and what some would call anthropology. Gershom Sholem stated that the Zohar is written in an eccentric style. Aramaic is a language that was spoken during the roman period in the first centuries of the common Era. Moses de Leon published the Zohar in Spain in the first century. He wrote several mystical and cabalistic works in quick succession. He himself ascribed the book to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai who had to hide from Roman persecution for 13 years in which Elijah the Prophet revealed him the Zohar.
In orthodox Judaism it is widely accepted that Kabbalah is transmitted from teacher to teacher dating back to Moses who received the Torah on Sinai. Kabbalah was revealed to our forefathers but not written down until the time when it was written down from Moses de Leon.
" 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."


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