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INTRODUCTION


1. WHAT IS KABBALAH?

2. OTHER PATHS TO KNOWLEDGE

3. PYTHAGORAS

4. THE TAROT

5. ADAM KADMON

6. ACT OF CREATION

7. THE TREE OF LIFE

8. THE FOUR WORLDS

9. HOD & NETZAH

 10. LIFE IS EVERYWHERE

11. LIFE AND DEATH

12. REINCARNATION

13. PSYCHOLOGY

14. THE VITAL PRINCIPLE

15. SYNCHRONICITY

16. TZIM-TZUM

17. BODIES OF MAN

18. HUMAN MIND

19. LILITH

20. KNOWLEDGE

21. OF ANGELS AND MEN

22. CREATION IN  GENESIS 2

23. THE LETTER YOD

24. TWENTY-TWO LETTERS

25. THE NAME OF GOD

26. THE ZOHAR

27. ABRAHAM AND SARAH

28. THE HEBREW LANGUAGE

29. THE PATRIARCHS

30. MALKHUT - THE LAST SEPHIRA

31 THE MYSTICAL KABBALAH

32. BETH – THE FIRST LETTER








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26. THE BOOK OF ZOHAR





THE BOOK OF ZOHAR

 

It is impossible to write about the Kabbalah without devoting at least one short chapter to the Zohar. The Sefer Zohar or the  “Book of Splendour” has been around for quite a while, though some people might say not as long as most of the Kabbalists claim. In its present form it was probably compiled by Moses de Leon (c. 1240-1305), who lived in Spain. From the very beginning there were doubts if the real author was or was not Moses de Leon, who himself ascribed the work to Shimon bar Yochai, a Kabbalist who lived in the 2nd century AD. The widow of Moses de Leon started the controversy, as apparently she had said that her husband told her several times that he chose to credit his own work to Shimon bar Yochai, whose reputation more than a thousand years after his death was still enormous in the Jewish community, and the work had more chance to sell better (!) than if it were to appear under his own name. On the other hand, two prominent Moses de Leon’s followers and students had testified that Moses did not write the work, but that he only put in writing the teachings that were transmitted orally by Shimon bar Yochai to his pupils, who passed them on in turn, and so on, throughout the centuries.

Rabbi Shimon bar Yokhai, who lived in Izrael in around 100 AD, during the time of the Roman occupation, is by the Kabbalists recognised as the author of the Sepher ha Zohar, the Book of Splendour, the most important Kabbalistic text and commentary extant. But, as we have seen, it appears in the written form only more than a thousand years after his death. According to the tradition, Shimon bar Yokhai, had to hide for thirteen years from the Romans, who had killed his teacher Akiva, in a cave in the wilderness, together with his son Eleazar. Each day he would bury himself neck deep in the ground, and this ascetism helped him to gain control over the physical world, to be able to contact the souls of Moses and the Prophet Elijah, who became his instructors. The book of Zohar that came out of all this, tells us that the Kabbalah is really oral knowledge passed on in whispers and secretly from mouth to the ear. Initially it was the gift passed on to Moses orally in parallel to the written law on the Mount Sinai. The Zohar also specifies that Adam possessed a manuscript on which were engraved the sacred teachings, and indeed, it is on the strength of this knowledge that Adam was capable of naming the animals of the land, the birds of the sky and the fish of the water.

        This chapter wil be relatively short, because the Book of Zohar itself is a rather lengthy work, which is very hard to read. Consequently, it is also hard to review. It could best be described as a somewhat lose collection of commentaries on the Torah, the most sacred text of Judaism, also known as the Five Books of Moses or the Pentateuch. The Torah consists of the first five books of the Old Testament, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The Zohar is the inner teaching, an extension on the traditional interpretations and commentaries, which were passed on orally from generation to generation and are now embodied in the Talmud and Midrash. The Zohar itself consists of the Book of Concealed Mystery, which is essentially the foundation of the Zohar; the Greater Holy Assembly, which describes the unfolding evolution of the previous book; the Lesser Holy Assembly, which supplements the first book. All 3 of these books explain the gradual development of the creative Deity. The fourth book, the House of Elohim deals with angels, demons, elemental spirits, and souls, as does the next book, the Book of Revolutions of Souls. The sixth book is called the Book of Emanations, and it defines how the Divine evolved from a negative to positive existence. The last, seventh book is Purifying Fire, and it is a work in alchemy.

        It is certainly not recommended to try to tackle the Zohar without a thorough preparation and a certain prior spiritual attainment. To those who would try to do so it would most likely appear to be a series of random tales and legends, some of them quite fantastic and unbelievable.

 

Rabbi Shimon bar-Yokhai (ficticious portrait)

THE PENTATEUCH

 

There is the long held tradition amongst the students of the Kabbalah that the Pentateuch should never be hidden underneath any of the other books of the Bible, such as the books of the prophets, etc. When the books are bound together, the Pentateuch should always be on top, because this is the book of revelation, where the word of God is imprinted. Another rule is that the book should never be left open after we have studied from it, it should always be closed and remain closed until we are ready to continue our study. By leaving the book open, we would lose some of what we have learnt. Incidentally, a similar rule should be applied when any rituals that use water are being conducted — consecrated or holy water should always be kept in a sealed container. If left unsealed it not only loses its power, it may even gather some evil powers.

27. ABRAHAM AND SARAH



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