Monday, March 03, 2008

The Authenticity of the Zohar -- pt ii

Shadal continues his Vikuach al Chochmat haKabbalah. (See previous segment.) The guest had argued that references to, and derashot on nikkud and trup, showed that the Zohar was composed much later than Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. The author now raises the defense that it was only these statements which were added later. He notes Rav Yaakov Emden, who showed that there were 280 additions to the Zohar, and that the Raaya Mehemna and Tikkunim were entirely forged. The guest points out that this is problematic for those believing that the Arizal had ruach hakodesh, for how did he not know this, and how did he base himself upon them? The author suggests that the Raaya Mehemna and Tikkunim were also merely subject to additions, a point will be addressed in a later segment. The text of the Vikuach follows:

The author: The limit of what you are able to prove with this proof is only that this particular statement, and a few other statements like it, were added to the sefer haZohar at a time from the time, in the later generations. And even this matter no man of intellect will dispute.

And there is already in my hands the Sefer Mitpachat Sefarim, to the Gaon Yabetz z"l {Rav Yaakov Emden}, in which he proves with 280 proofs, that hands befell the sefer haZohar, and many additions were added to it at the hands of the Acharonim; And already the great sage Rambm"n {=Moshe Mendelsonn = Moshe ben Mendel} z"l in the introduction to Netivot haShalom {=the Biur} reinforced his words, and said that his proofs have no rejoinder. And even though now, of late, the author of the sefer Ben Yochai arose to answer upon them small and thin answers which which the mind is not settled. And yet, at any rate, all this does not harm at all the holiness of the sefer haZohar iteself.

The guest: But this does harm the holiness of the kaballah in general, a lot, for still the great mekubalim, such as Rabbi Yitzchak Luria {=the Arizal} and his students, who are boasted of as having ruach hakodesh -- how was it hidden from them this matter, and how did they establish and accept upon themselves that all the words of the Zohar are true and holy, and all of them are the words of the Tannaim and Amoraim? And how was it not revealed to them via ruach hakodesh that which was revealed to the Rav Yabetz, that there is in the sefer haZohar 280 additions which were added in later generations?

And besides this, behold the Gaon Yabeitz, with the spirit of his understanding, made clear that the Ra'aya Mehemna and the Tikkunim, there are recognized from within them that they are entirely forgeries, and there is not in them even a single thing which was to Rabbi Shimon and his colleages. And how was this not revealed to the Arizal, who built also upon them the upper stories of his kabbalah? Is this not a clear sign that he and all his cubs are glorifying themselves in a false giving, in their saying that ruach hakodesh rested upon them?

The author: Forfend for me to admit to you that the great mekubbalim were entirely wicked people and false prophets, forfend for me!

However, it appears that the Gaon Yabetz {=Rav Yaakov Emden} exaggerated the measure, in his saying that the Ra'aya Mehemna and the Tikkunim were books which were entirely forged. And it was sufficient for him to say that also in them hands befall it, and that also in them additions were placed, just as they were placed in the sefer haZohar itself.

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