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The Zohar: Five Volume Set (Simon & Sperling) (New)
by Simon, Maurice
Publisher: Soncino Press Limited
Book ID: 9780900689390, 0900689390
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The Zohar, translated in English for the first time, is the fundamental work of the Spanish Kabbalah, taking the form of a commentary on the Pentateuch and providing a significant text-boook on Jewish medieval mysticism. The work, originally written in Hebrew and partly in Aramaic, purports to be a record of discourses between Rabbi Simeoon ben Yohai, of the second century of the common era, and contemporary Jewish mystical exegetes. Whilst the authorship of the Zohar has been long disputed, its considerable influenceon the Jewish people at the time of the Spanish expulsion remains unquestioned. In fact at times it reached a degree of importance comparable with the Bible and the Talmud.
Within its several parts will be found The Book of the Veiled Mystery consisting of chapters inserted into the Book of Exodus and dealing with the Creation, the human soul, and the relation between spirit and matter. Another, deals with The Secrets of the Torah, treating of Kabbalistc angelology and the mysterous clustering around the Divine Name and the Divine Unity. A third part, The True Shepherd, lays down definite precepts and rules of conduct. The fifth section concentrates on Gematria, i.e., the permutations and combinations of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet and the Hebrew numerals.
But perhaps most significant is its own view of the correct method of Bibical exegesis in which it says: "Woe unto those who seein the Law nothing but simple narratives and ordinary words. Were this really the case then could we not, even today, compose a Law equally worthy of admiration. But it is quite otherwise... Every word of the Law contains an elevated sense and a sublime mystery... The narratives of the Law are but the raiment in which it is swathed. Do not mistake the raiment for the Law itself..."
Since its compilation few works have exercised such an influence on people as the Zohar of which it is said that if a mortal had writte it he must have been inspired from above.
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