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Zohar: Annotated & Explained (SkyLight Illuminations) Paperback – June 1, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
If you like this book, you might also be interested in the same translator's new, complete translation of the entire Zohar. It's being published volume-by-volume by Stanford University Press. But if you just want the highlights, if you just want to see what this text is about, then this Skylight edition is the way to go.
The introduction deals with the history and contents of the Zohar, a commentary on the 5 books of Moses written in the form of a mystical novel. The questions of its original author/s, the language, and the Ten Sefirot are also discussed here. I found this interpretation of the first words of Genesis very interesting, as well as the insight that the Zohar urges us to regain cosmic consciousness, a closer connection to the divine.
From a linguistic perspective, it is valuable to learn of the neologisms and the use of multiple connotations, oxymorons, puns, parables and puzzles in the text. A chart of the Sefirot is provided. Chapters 1 to 17 consist of selected passages from the Zohar on the right-hand page, with commentary on the left. Chapter titles include The Essence Of Torah, The Creation Of God, The Hidden Light, Adam's Sin, The Binding Of Abraham and Isaac, Jacob's Garment Of Days, the Secret Of Sabbath, The Aroma Of Infinity, God, Israel and Shekhinah, and The Wedding Celebration.
The book concludes with notes, a glossary, a bibliography and an index of Zohar Passages. I did not find this book very clear or accessible at first. It was only after I had read The Essential Zohar: The Source of Kabbalistic Wisdom by Rav P S Berg that I returned to this one and it made sense.Read more ›
The book's forward is very good in offering seven 'wonders' of Kabbalah, as a preface to embarking further - like 1) vision of the infinite, Ein Sof, 2) fusion of male/female, good/evil and light/dark, 3) flowing of the Ten Sefirot, 4) Shekhinah - feminine side of God, body of the soul, 5) creativity of Kabbalah, 6) God needs us as we need God - tikkun ha nefesh (mending the soul) and tikkun olam (mending the world), and 7) the glory of living a 'divine' life.
Some other things from the book I think worth mentioning are:
1. Parts of Kabbalah may have been composed by 'automatic writing' - the authors writing while in a state of meditation - writing more from inspiration than analytical thought.
2. The Zohar is poetic, mysterious - only suggests, hints.
3. Zohar means 'radiance' - hidden power.
4. Light shows for the righteous - understanding the Torah.
5. God at Sinai reveals himself through letters.
6. The Sabbath - brings in Shekhinah
Overall, the book is very good, but really just an introduction.
Zohar means "luminous" and alludes to the notion that God illuminates the people through mysticism. But while dealing with enlightenment, Zohar is usually very difficult to understand and many of its ideas do not appear to be rational.
Many people are convinced that Zohar was composed by Rabbi Simeon bar Yochai around the year 130 CE. However, scholars have assembled well over a hundred proofs showing that Zohar is not an ancient document. They recognize that Moses d' Leon, a Spaniard living in Granada, wrote it around 1286, and that parts of the book were added by others after his death.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A lead up and introduction to the 9 expanded volumes the author did later in his translation and longer annotation of the Zohar Pritzker edition. Read morePublished 2 days ago by thirdtwin
Thought there would be a little more content. If you are looking for something with ideas and great explanations, don't buy this...Published 17 months ago by Rabbi
Good companion to all Hebrew Studies. East to follow and understand. Recommend it
if your are a serious student of Hebrew studies
This a very easy to read translation with plenty of clear useful commentary. I actually enjoyed reading it as no other I have seen. Read morePublished on November 8, 2013 by Joel Etra
great text book on the mystical side if the Jewish Bible yet for the serious student this book is far to incompletePublished on November 3, 2013 by John Busch