Kabbalah - Zohar
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Judaism
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Composed in Middle-Age Spain (c.1100 - c.1400 CE). The Zohar (Splendor or Radiance) is the foundational work in the literature of Jewish mystical thought known as Kabbalah. It is a group of books including commentary on the mystical aspects of the Torah (the five books of Moses) and scriptural interpretations as well as material on mysticism, mythical cosmogony, and mystical psychology. The Zohar contains discussions of the nature of God, the origin and structure of the universe, the nature of souls, redemption, the relationship of Ego to Darkness and "true self" to "The Light of God", and the relationship between the "universal energy" and man.
Kabbalah -Zohar

Volume 1:1a

Rabbi Hizkiyah opened, “It is written, as a rose among thorns.” (Song of Songs 2:2) What is the Rose? It is the Congregation of Israel. Because there is a rose, and there is a Rose [Nukvah/Zeir Anpin]. Just as the rose among the thorns is tinged with red and white, so is the Congregation of Israel affected by the qualities of Judgment and Mercy. Just as a rose has thirteen petals, the Assembly of Israel is surrounded on all sides by the thirteen attributes of Mercy. Thus, between the first mentions of the name Elohim,[in the Torah] these [thirteen] words surround and guard the Congregation of Israel.

After this,[the name “Elohim”] is written again in the text. And why is it mentioned again? In order to bring out the five rigid leaves that surround a rose. And these five represent the five gates of salvation. And this secret is written about in the verse, “I will raise the cup of salvation” (Pslams 116:13) This is the cup of benediction which is raised after a meal. The cup of benediction must rest on five fingers, and no more, just as a rose rests on five rigid leaves. And this Rose is the cup of benediction. From the second to the third mention of the name Elohim [in the Torah], there are five words. From this point the Ohr [light] was created [hence “Let there be Light.”] and concealed and enclosed within that covenant that entered the rose and fructified it. This is referred to as a “fruit-tree bearing fruit after its kind, wherein is the seed thereof.” [Genesis 1:11] This seed is the Covenant. And just as the Covenant is sown by forty-two birthings from that same seed, so is the engraved and holy name sown, by the forty-two letters that describe the works of Creation.

“In the beginning,” Rabbi Shimon opened, “the flower buds appeared on the earth.” (Song of Songs 2:12) “The flower buds” refer to the act of Creation. When had they “appeared on the earth”? On the third day, as it is said, “And the earth brought forth grass.” [Genesis 1:12] That was when they appeared on the earth. The time of “pruning doves” [Song of Songs 2:12] has come, alluding to the fourth day, when the “pruning of the tyrants” took place.[“stars” in Gen. 1:14 shares a spelling with “curses”] The voice of the turtle dove [Songs 2:14] refers to the fifth day, where it is written, “Let the waters swarm,” [Gen. 1:20] so as to produce offspring. “It is heard” [Songs 2:12] refers to the sixth day, where it is written, “Let us create man,” [Gen 1:26] and there it is said, “All that [the LORD] has spoken we will faithfully do.” [Exodus 24:7]


Volume 1:1b

“In our land” [Songs 2:12] refers to the day of Shabbat, which represents the Land of Life.[the World to Come]

Another explanation is that the flowers are the Patriarchs who come to mind, and came into the World to Come, where they were hidden. They emerged from there secretly and hid themselves within the true prophets. Joseph was born, and they concealed themselves in him. When Joseph entered the Holy Land, he revealed their presence and then they appeared on the earth and were seen there. When are the Patriarchs seen? When the rainbow is seen in the sky. It is when the rainbow is seen that they are revealed. And at that moment, “the time of pruning has come.” This means that the time has come to eradicate the wicked from the world. Why were the wicked saved [until now]? Because the flower buds can be seen in the earth. And if they could not be seen,[the wicked] would not have remained in the world, and the [pre-Messianic] world would not be able to exist.

And who sustains the world, and causes the Patriarchs to appear? It is the voice of the children, who study the Torah. And the world is sustained for the sake of these children. In deference to them, it is written, “We will make you necklets of gold” (Songs 1:11). This refers to the children, boys and young men, as is written, “And you shall make two Cherubs of gold” (Exodus 25:18).

“In the beginning,” Rabbi Elazar opened, “Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who has created these things.” (Isaiah 40:26) Lift up your eyes, to what place? To the place where all eyes are turned. And who is He, that has “created these things”? He is one who opens those eyes.[Arich Anpin, which is Malkuth] And you will know this. It is the concealed Atika,[Atika Kadisha, which is Keter] wherein lies the question, ‘Who has created these?’ And who is He? WHO.[M”I] He is called from the ends of Divine Heaven on high,[‘on high’ as in, that which is Binah, since Binah is above Malkuth] where everything belongs to Him as everything is in His domain. And since one can ask about Him though He is concealed and not revealed, He is called WHO, because beyond Him, one may not pose such questions. Thus, the end of heaven is called WHO.

And there is another below, called WHAT [M”H]. What is between ‘WHO’ [M”I] and ‘WHAT’ [M”H]? The first one, which is called WHO, is concealed. It remains a question: Once man has searched and inquired in order to understand and climb from one level to another, and has finally reached the end level of all [of Malkuth] he is asked: WHAT?[M”H] What have you learned? What have you seen? What have you investigated, since everything is still concealed, just as it was before?

Of this secret, it is written, “What can I take as witness or liken to you, O Fair Jerusalem? What can I match with you to console you, O Fair Maiden Zion?” (Lamentations 2:13) This is because, after the Temple was destroyed, a voice came forth and said, “What shall I take to witness for you, and what shall I liken to you?” This means that using ‘WHAT’[M”H] I shall witness about you each and every day since the Ancient Days. As it is written: “I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day,” (Deuteronomy 30:19) which is what I liken to you. In the very same manner I crowned you with holy crowns and made you ruler over the world. As is written: “Is this the city that men call the perfection of beauty?” (Lamentations 2:15). I have called you, “Jerusalem, built as a city that is compact together” (Psalms 122:3).

“What shall I equal to you?” (Lamentations 2:13). Just as your situation is here, so it is seemingly above! Just as now the holy nation does not enter below with the sacred arrangements, so I swear to you that I will not enter above, until your throngs come to you down below. This is your consolation that I equate you with this level, in every respect. And now you are here, “your breach is great like the sea” [Lam. 2:13] And if you say that there is no existence or remedy for you, then, then who shall heal you? Namely, that same concealed supernal level WHO [M”I] through which everything exists, shall heal and uphold you.

WHO [M”I] is the upper edge of Heaven [that is, Tevunah and Yisrael-Saba, the partzufim of Chokhmah and Binah, respectively] and WHAT [M”H] is the lower edge of Heaven [that is, Malkuth]. This was inherited by Jacob [or rather, by Zeir Anpin], as he “shall reach from end to end” (Exodus 26:28) From the end above, which is WHO, down to the lower end, which is WHAT. Therefore, he stands in the middle, and “WHO [Yisrael-Saba and Tevunah] has created THESE” [Zeir Apin and its feminine manifestation Nukva].

Rabbi Shimon [who wrote the Zohar] said, “Elazar, my son, stop talking lest the supernal hidden secret, which humans know nothing about, be revealed.” Rabbi Elazar was silent. Rabbi Shimon wept, and stood still for a moment. Rabbi Shimon then said, “Elazar, what is this ‘THESE’? You say the stars and the signs of the zodiac, but have they not always been seen? And were they not created by WHAT [M”H], as it is written, “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made”? (Psalms 33:6) And if ‘THESE’ denoted some hidden things, then there is no need to write ‘THESE’, because they [the planets are stars] are visible, and revealed!”

This secret was never before revealed, until one day when I was on the seashore, Elijah came and asked me: Sir, do you know what “Who has created these” means? I answered, ‘these’ are the heavens and their hosts, the works of the Holy One, Blessed Be He. And man should look at them, and bless Him, as is written, “When I behold Your heavens,


Volume 1:2a