Friday, February 29, 2008

The Authenticity of the Zohar -- pt i

This continues Shadal's Vikuach al Chochmas HaKabbalah into the next chapter. Having set out a post-Talmudic date for development of our nikkud and trup, he uses it to assess the authenticity of the Zohar. (See previous segment.)


And it was in the morning, and the man came to my house, and sat to my right, and this is how he opened his words:

"Do you still hold firm to that which we decreed yesterday, that the nekudot and trup were not, not were created, until after the closing of the Talmud, as is the opinion of Rabbi Eliyah {Bachur}?"

The author: I acknowledge, and I credit in my place the great grammarian Rabbi Eliyah, against all who argue on him in this matter.

The guest: Now you should know, my dear friend, that in this matter which you have said, you are destroying the wall of the Zohar and all of the kabbalah, until the foundation of it.

The author: Forfend to me if I think this.

Have I not told you at the start of our conversation in investigating the age of nikkud, that even though I know that the sefer haZohar and its fellows mention many times the nikkud and the trup, I do not think because of this that such an investigation is unfit for a man who believes in the wisdom of the kabbalah. For the sefer haZohar and its fellows were written with ruach hakodesh {Divine Inspiration}, and via ruach hakodesh the nikkud is mentioned in them, in the same way that {Mohammed} the prophet of the Ishmaelites it mentioned {though he was post-Talmudic}, and the two pairs of tefillin {Rashi and Rabbenu Tam}.

And now, who do you return to cloud my soul with your doubts, when I love you?

The guest: But because I also love you, and because I know your wisdom, your righteousness, and the straightforwardness of your path, I will not hold back until I turn away your feet from the bad path to the true path, to fulfill what is stated {Mishlei 9:8}:
ח אַל-תּוֹכַח לֵץ, פֶּן-יִשְׂנָאֶךָּ; הוֹכַח לְחָכָם, וְיֶאֱהָבֶךָּ. 8 Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee; reprove a wise man, and he will love thee.
Is it not for you to know, my dear friend, that if the sefer haZohar only mentioned the nekudot and trup, I would have remained silent. But it is not the end of the matter that it mentions them, but it expounds upon them deep secrets of wondrous wisdom; Do you not see in it (chelek 3, page 205b):
{Bemidbar 27:3}:
ג אָבִינוּ, מֵת בַּמִּדְבָּר, וְהוּא לֹא-הָיָה בְּתוֹךְ הָעֵדָה הַנּוֹעָדִים עַל-יְהוָה, בַּעֲדַת-קֹרַח: כִּי-בְחֶטְאוֹ מֵת, וּבָנִים לֹא-הָיוּ לוֹ. 3 'Our father died in the wilderness, and he was not among the company of them that gathered themselves together against the LORD in the company of Korah, but he died in his own sin; and he had no sons.
אָבִינוּ -- this trup is similar to a snake."
Behold, for you to see that he bases his secret on the {trup symbol} zarka which is on the word avinu, which is similar in its form to a snake.

And behold, after it was made clear by us with proofs which have no push-off that the form of the nikkud and trup are only craftsmanship which the later people brought out after the closing of the Talmud, so that the Torah should not be forgotten from Israel, how is it possible to build upon the form of the trup -- which is the work of man, not of a prophet or the son of a prophet -- wondrous secrets?

1 comment:

Yehuda said...

This is a great series. Nice work.


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