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TOPIC: Zohar

Zohar 15 Jun 2009 06:16 #1071

A local affiliated with Chabad asked (in a supposedly innocent way) that he heard that the German Jews were against the Zohar. Does anyone have any insight as to where this person maybe coming from or how to answer him?

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Zohar 19 Jun 2009 08:21 #1074

  • Michael
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To say "the German Jews were against the Zohar", is not right. Everyone held that the Zohar is Torah, and is a source for holiness.

The question is who could learn Zohar, and if to do the Hanhogos brought in the Zohar.

We find in Ashkenaz that there was not just one approach about this issue. Different Rabbonim held in different ways. In general, however, the Zohar was not considered something that should be learned by the masses, but rather as תורת הסוד, and that it should stay that way. We do have evidence of different Rabbonim in Ashkenaz who learned Zohar privately pre-war, but we cannot know how widespread this was, since it was done בנסתר.

A point that was taken into consideration, is that the Kabbalistic works we have do not reflect all of the Kabboloh, but only a very small part of it, and most of the secrets of the Torah are completely hidden, even from the Mekubolim. There also could be mistakes in the interpretation of the late Mekubolim.

When Kabboloh contradicts with Halocho we always follow Halocho, but in case the Kabboloh does not contradict - there is a place to follow Kabbalistic Hanhogos.

You can read more about this topic in Shorshei Minhag Ashkenaz (#1 p. 160-162 in the chapter on "Brich Shmeih", #3 page 268 in chapter on "Tikun Leil Shovuos")

Michael FRBSH
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Zohar 04 Aug 2009 18:14 #1203

  • MPerlman
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I would also add that many Rabbanei Ashkenaz (Rav Shlomo Luria, Rav Yaakov Emden, Chasam Sofer, Rav Elazar Fleckeles, etc.) held that the Zohar is a work that has been tampered with over the generations. Thus, one cannot know for sure what included in that work is authentic and what not. And therefore, we surely cannot make changes in our customs on its basis alone. Rav Elazar Fleckeles even maintained that because of the tampering, Jews, such as Shabbesai Tzvi (shem reshoim yirkov), were led astray.

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