Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Zohar

What are the very first words of the Bible? Everyone knows that: In the beginning God created... But for the Zohar, which insists on interpreting the original Hebrew words in their precise order, the verse means something radically different: With beginning, It [Ein Sof] created God [one of higher sefirot].

There is divine reality far beyond our normative conception of "God." Immediate reality of God is not foreign to us; it was once our original nature. (1)

"See how many hidden causes there are ... hidden
from the comprehension of human beings ...
There are lights upon lights, one more clear than
another, each one dark by comparison with the one
above it from which it receives its light. As for the
Supreme Cause, all lights are dark in its presence."

-- The Zohar (2)

(1) -- Zohar : Annotated & Explained
Translation and Annotation by Daniel Chanan Matt
Published by Paulist Press (1983)
Mahwah, N.J.

(2) The Book Of Lights
by Chaim Potok
Published by Alfred A. Knopf
New York - 1981


Ein Sof: There is no end, the boundless, the Infinite; the ultimate reality of God beyond all specific qualities of the sefirot.

Sefirah (pl. sefirot): One of ten aspects of God's personality. See: "Introduction to the Zohar," p. xxii and pp. xxvi-xxix.

Click for More Excerpts from Zohar: Annotated & Explained by Daniel Chanan Matt