Summary: Continuing to debunk Rabbi Moshe Miller's debunkings. This time, based on the word ארחיה. Here are some earlier posts responding to the article on the basis of Rabbi Yesa, Rabbi Abba, Cappadocia, and Kefar Kanya, as mentioned in the Zohar.
Post: Rabbi Moshe Miller wrote a seemingly erudite article debunking many proofs of late authorship of the Zohar. But when we actually look up the sources, we see that he is either incapable of understanding peshat in a gemara or else is deliberately misleading his readers.
Here is what Rabbi Miller writes:
The claim is that Hebrew expressions first used in medieval times were used by the author of the , showing that it must have been compiled by someone [i.e., de Leon] during this era. As demonstrated below, many of these expressions are also found in early sources, contrary to the skeptics' claims.Demonstrate away!
Archeiha, meaning "manner" or "way" found many times in Zohar. Also found in 20b. This is also written many times as orcheiha in Zohar and in 11b, 123b, Eruvin 42a, 68a; 15a; Ketuvot 31b, etc., etc.(It seems that Rabbi Miller does not know the correct nikkud for this Aramaic word.) So, if we look at Niddah 20b, will we find the word archeiha, or rather archeih, meaning "manner" or "way"? This is the gemara in Niddah:
דההיא אתתא דאייתא דמא לקמיה דרבי אלעזר הוה יתיב רבי אמי קמיה ארחיה אמר לה האי דם חימוד הוא בתר דנפקה אטפל לה רבי אמי א"ל בעלי היה בדרך וחמדתיו קרי עליה (תהלים כה, יד) סוד ה' ליראיו אפרא הורמיז אמיה דשבור מלכא שדרה דמא לקמיה דרבא הוה יתיב רב עובדיה קמיה ארחיה אמר לה האי דם חימוד הואSo the word appears. But what does it mean?
This is NOT the word orach, as a translation of the word derech! Rather, it would appear to be based on the word re'ach, smell.Because a woman once brought some blood before R. Eleazar when R. Ammi sat in his presence. Having smelt it he6 told her, 'This is blood of lust'.7 After she went out R. Ammi joined her and she told him, 'My husband was away on a journey but I felt an intense longing for him'. Thereupon he8 applied to him6 the text, The counsel of the Lord is with them that fear Him.9
What about the other examples? It seems that Rabbi Miller has changed the goalposts. He is inserting a vav into the word, to make it urcheih. Is this part of the original claim? I would guess not, and that the point was that in the Zohar, all these times, it says archeih instead of urcheih.
But the word with a vav indeed appears in Shabbat 11b:
א"ל אביי אימור דשמעת ליה לרבי מאיר במידי דלאו היינו אורחיה במידי דהיינו אורחיה מי שמעת ליהOr, in English:
Abaye said to him. When have you heard R. Meir [to give this ruling], in respect to something which it is not natural [to carry thus]; but have you heard him in respect to something which demands that mode [of carrying]?Thus, his normal way or manner of carrying. I won't bother investigating these other cases, because I agree that orcheih / urcheih would mean that. But this does not seem to match the argument put forth by the Zohar skeptics.
Of course, he could simply claim that all these chaser vav examples are scribal errors, or that the word is similar enough that it would have existed in all these forms. Whether one finds this plausible is another story, but regardless, he hasn't uprooted the question posed by these scholars.