Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Authenticity of the Zohar -- pt ix

Shadal continues his Vikuach al Chochmat haKabbalah. (See previous segment.) Here, the guest concludes that these many "additions" show that the Zohar was forged in its entirety. Then he turns to the nine different times of redemption claimed by the Zohar -- when Chazal condemn one who calculates the end time -- and notes that all but one of which had already passed by Shadal's time (and the last passed since then). And wonders why, if this is from Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, there were not any predicted times until the sixth millennium, if they were hoping for redemption at any time. And it is not merely that these were times which were ripe for redemption if Israel merited, for on that reckoning, Chazal say that every day can be the day of redemption if Israel merit. The text of the Vikuach follows:

The author: When it comes down to it, what is the result of this?

The guest: That since in the sefer HaZohar, there are found so many statements which are not possible to {truly} attribute to Tannaim and to Amoraim, it is not fit for one possessing intellect to deliberately force himself to believe that these statements were added on to the sefer, but it is fit for him to derive and say that the sefer in its entirety is forged.

And specifically after we have seen this this sefer is not mentioned nor known at all for a length of 1000 years, from the time of the men whose names are called upon it, and on top of all this, after we have seen that there is already one who suspects forgery of this sefer, with the admission of his wife and daughter.

And what will you say in the matter of the fixed times {for redemption} which are stated in sefer haZohar? Behold, our Sages z"l said {see Sanhedrin 97b, where it is bones rather than souls} that Blasted be the souls of those who calculate the end {of days}. And the author of the Zohar is not concerned {nizhar} on setting nine ends, different one from the other, and all of them have already passed.

The author: This was because the generation was not worthy of it, but in each of those times set in the sefer haZohar, perhaps there was some awakening Above to redeem Israel, if they were worthy of it.

The guest: The enthusiasm and the desire above to gather the remote of Israel was not in those days only, but rather it is each and every single day, as is written, "today, if they listen to his voice." {Tehillim 95} But the sefer haZohar says (chelek 2, page 227) in the name of Rabbi Eliezer and his colleagues that the days of the exile are 1000, and will continue for a bit more. And in the name of Rabbi Yehuda, who learned from his father (chelek 1, page 117) he says that in the year 60 to the sixth millennium, the congregation of Israel will arise from the dust. And so too in Zohar Chadash (page 90a), "and the dispersed of Yehudah he will gather in 60 years to the sixth millennium." But in the Tikkunim (page 4b) is written that the days of the exile are 1290 (which finish in the year 118 {=1358 CE}), and in the Zohar (chelek 3, page 252) in the name of Rabbi Shimon, there are those that he will redeem in the year 256, and some in the year 260, and some in the year 266, and some in the year 272. And in the Zohar Chadash (page 47), the days of the exile are 1557 (which end in the year 385 {=1625 CE}). And in Zohar (chelek 1, 139) Rabbi Eleazar ben Arach and his colleagues say that in the year 407 the dead will live, and before that the mashiach will come. And Rabbi Shimon, who previously said that the redemption will be about the year 260, returned and said (chelek 2 page 10) that in the year 436 the Other Side will become pregnant from the ground and the world

would become drunk, and the dead of Israel in the other lands would live. And he himself {=Rabbi Shimon} returned and said that the king mashiach would be revealed in the year 566 {=1806}.

And all these ends have already passed, and there is only left the year 600 {=1840 CE. Shadal was born in 1800 and died in 1865, so this must have been written before 1840}, in which in the future (chelek 1, page 117) the gates of wisdom will open above, and the springs of wisdom will open below. And this perhaps will come to be true, if the Jews open their eyes and no longer believe in the nonsense of the Zohar and the kabbalah.

And how is it possible to believe that our Rabbis said all these different end-of-days, and all of them are false {/failed}? And have they not said {based on Yeshaya 60:22
הַקָּטֹן יִהְיֶה לָאֶלֶף, וְהַצָּעִיר לְגוֹי עָצוּם; אֲנִי ה, בְּעִתָּהּ אֲחִישֶׁנָּה -- "The smallest shall become a thousand, and the least a mighty nation; I the LORD will hasten it in its time."
if they merit, I will hasten it; if they do not merit, in its time?

If so, if Israel merits, the redemption can be any day; and if they do not merit, there is one set end-time and it will not pass.

And further, is there not to ask: How can this matter be, that after the sixth millennium the end-times multiply so much, that you have almost no generation from the beginning of the sixth millennium until today which did not have in it a fixed time for redemption, and in all those thousand years and more, from the time of Rabbi Shimon until the beginning of the sixth millennium, there was not in it any end-time?

And do we not find in Talmud that Chazal were hoping for the redemption in their generation, or close to their time?


Anonymous said...

Hi Josh,

I just came to this from a google search. This is awesome - your translating shadal's Vikuach on

Thanks for your efforts. I will
read it from the beginning.
I read some of your comments on the
zohar on another blog.

Please continue to write on the subject of the zohar and kabbalah.

ba said...

I happened to read what you had written in the name of Shadal on the subject a while ago, and I remembered it clearly while looking at the Ohr HaChaim (on Bemidbar 22:15). The Ohr HaChaim, as you know, quotes the Zohar all the time. However, in that interpretation, he says something that directly contradicts the te'amim?


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