"With this book (Zohar) of yours, the people will be redeemed from exile with mercy" (Zohar III, 124b)
“In the sixth century of the sixth millennium, the gates of the supernal wisdom will be opened, as will the springs of the earthly wisdom, preparing the world to be elevated in the seventh millennium”
(Zohar I, 117a)
Rabbi Shimeon is the author of the classic Kabalistic work, the Holy Zohar (‘Book of Splendor’), first published in 1558. Transcribed by his student R' Abba, the Zohar lays out the foundations and core principles of mysticism and contains, often in cryptic form, the deepest cosmic secrets.
An extraordinary scholar and miracle worker, Rabbi Shimeon was renowned for his mastery of both the revealed and the hidden dimensions of Torah.
~ 80CE: Born in Israel shortly after the destruction of the Second Temple (67CE).
~As a young boy he studied in the great Academy of the Scholars of Yavneh, founded by Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai
~ His principal teacher is Rabbi Akiva whose academy is in B’nei Brak. Rabbi Akiva calls him “my son.”
~ Due to persecution against Jews led by the Roman Emperor Hadrian, R’ Shimeon is sentenced to death for defying the government. Forced to flee, he hides in a cave for thirteen years together with his son, R’ Elazar, where they study Torah day and night.
A carob tree and a spring of fresh water miraculously spring up at the entrance to the desert cave and they are sustained until the Emperor dies and the decree is annulled.
~ Establishes an academy in the town of Tekoa. The greatest Torah scholars gather there including Rabbi Yehudah HaNassi who compiled the Mishnah
~ 160CE: Passes away on 18th of Iyar in Meron, a village near Sfat, Israel. On Lag B’Omer (the 33rd day of the Omer count), the day of his passing, thousands of Jews make a pilgrimage to his grave where they pray and celebrate.
There is also a tradition to light bonfires. At R’ Shimeon’s request, Lag B’Omer is a day of great celebration and an opportune time for miracles.
Mechilta of Rashbi (Midrash)
Resources in English:
The Zohar, originally written in Aramaic, has been translated into Hebrew and English (5 volumes. Soncino Press).
A new English edition has recently been released, published by Fiftieth Gate Publications. It includes selections translated and annotated by Moshe Miller.
Biography Graciously allowed for use by Rabbi Simon Jacobson at
Zohar Page 179b; translation and commentary by Simcha Treister
Rebbe Shimon opened his discourse [concerning the first words of the Parsha which are: "VeAta", in Hebrew, "And you... (shall command...), saying:
It is written, "And You (in Hebrew VeAta), O G-d (Havayah), do not distance yourself from me; O my strength, come quickly to help me' (Psalms 22:20).
The word "VeAta" (which represents the holy union of the spiritual dimension Nukva) and the name Havayah Zeir Arpin, are all one unity. "...Do not distance yourself."
This is a meditation that the names Havayah and Ado-nai should remain united in my conscious understanding and not remove itself from me by disappearing into higher realms of the spiritual.
The name Havayah represents the infinitely merciful aspect of the Divine while the name Ado-nai represents strict judgment. The word-picture meditation where the name Havayah contains the smaller printed letters of Ado-nai in the final letter hei is found in many Sephardi prayer books.
When these two aspects of the Divine are separated, the great spiritual light which enables man to see the Divine in all aspects of his life, is darkened. Then the [merciful Divine] light is not found at all in the world.
" The supernal light was lifted away and didn't return to its place...."
This [separation between the light of the Divine, Zeir Anpin and Malchut (physical reality) is what caused the destruction of the Temple in the days of Jeremiah. Even though the Temple was subsequently rebuilt the light of the presence of the Divine (the Shechina) did not fully return (Yoma 21b).
(Now the fact that the Shechina did not return) is hinted in the very name of the prophet that foretold the destruction of the First Temple: Jeremiah.
His name can be broken up into two parts: "Yarim", which means to lift away, and the letters yud-hei- vav, which are the letters of the name Havayah. Hence his name means,
"The disappearance of the Divine."
This is because the supernal light was lifted away and didn't return to its place even after the Temple was rebuilt....
But the persona of Isaiah brought about salvation (for the Israelite nation), the return of the supernal light to its proper place, and the rebuilding of the Temple; and all the (former) goodness and all the light returned as before.
"Isaiah" in Hebrew is "Yishayahu". "Yisha" means salvation, and the letters yud-hei vav at the end of his name are the letters in the divine name Havayah. His name represents the return of that consciousness of the Divine to its proper place.
By Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai
Ein Sof or Godhead in the Zohar
According to the Chabad Dictionary on terms, the Ein Sof means: (Lit. the Infinite), used to refer to the infinite dimensions of Godliness.
I think this is important for believers in the Messiah to be aware of this because the Zohar sets out a Godhead, not a one dimensional being but a multiple dimension Godhead, this is in line with the Apostles teachings that Jesus was God as a Son. (Heb 1:1-3, 1 Peter 1:16-18,1 John 1:1-4)
Here is an incredible article on what is and isn't the Ein Sof; http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/392168/jewish/Is-G-d-an-It-an-I-or-Nothing.htm#comments
Here is Jesus' perspective on the Ein Sof or Godhead in John 10:25-39
Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”
“We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”
Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”’? If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside— what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world?
Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp.
Here we can see Jesus responding to the Pharisees questions on why Jesus thought he was the Son of God as spoken of in the Ein Sof construction of Jewish Mystical belief.
We can see many things in this,
1. Jesus believed in the Zohar's Mystical Construct of the Ein Sof
2. Jesus must have already explained this construct to His own Disciples
3. Jesus here realized that the Pharisees understood some meanings of this truth, but still were looking only at the physical rather than Spiritual aspect of life.
4. Jesus explains here that His works proved who He was, He couldn't change His Nature any more than someone can say He wasn't the Messiah, this opens the way for Paul to say we were predestined to be adopted because in this explanation, we can see that Jesus is explaining that our Natures play a lot into who we are.
5. The Ein Sof in the Zohar is a Pyramid Construct so there is the God the Creator (or Father), then under the Creator is the the Word which was made into the Son on the right side, and the Matrona or Holy Spirit (female part of the Godhead) on the left side, and then under the Son is Israel, and His Body of Believers, this is in complete accordance with what Jesus teaches here and what the Apostles taught about the Godhead.
Where we as the Church go wrong is we take a Judaic concept and then used Platonic logic to understand it. We still have the basics right, but we muddy the waters in respect to full understanding of it.
Below I am quoting from the Catholic Encyclopedia to prove my point on why we went off the rails with our interpretation of the Godhead.
Heaven (Anglo-Saxon heofon, O.S. hevan and himil, originally himin) corresponds to the Gothic himin-s. Both heaven and himil are formed from himin by a regular change of consonants: heaven, by changing m before n into v; and himil, by changing n of the unaccented ending into l. Some derive heaven from the root ham, "to cover" (cf. the Gothic ham-ôn and the German Hem-d).
According to this derivation heaven would be conceived as the roof of the world. Others trace a connection between himin (heaven) and home; according to this view, which seems to be the more probable, heaven would be the abode of the Godhead. The Latin coelum (koilon, a vault) is derived by many from the root of celare "to cover, to conceal" (coelum, "ceiling" "roof of the world").
Others, however think it is connected with the Germanic himin. The Greek ouranos is probably derived from the root var, which also connotes the idea of covering. The Hebrew name for heaven is thought to be derived from a word meaning "on high"; accordingly, heaven would designate the upper region of the world.
In Scripture there is as yet no single term by which the Three Divine Persons are denoted together. The word trias (of which the Latin trinitas is a translation) is first found in Theophilus of Antioch about A.D. 180. He speaks of "the Trinity of God [the Father], His Word and His Wisdom (To Autolycus II.15).
The term may, of course, have been in use before his time. Afterwards it appears in its Latin form of trinitas in Tertullian (On Pudicity 21). In the next century the word is in general use. It is found in many passages of Origen ("In Ps. xvii", 15). The first creed in which it appears is that of Origen's pupil, Gregory Thaumaturgus. In his Ekthesis tes pisteos composed between 260 and 270, he writes:
To sum up: the various elements of the Trinitarian doctrine are all expressly taught in the New Testament. The Divinity of the Three Persons is asserted or implied in passages too numerous to count.
The unity of essence is not merely postulated by the strict monotheism of men nurtured in the religion of Israel, to whom "subordinate deities" would have been unthinkable; but it is, as we have seen, involved in the baptismal commission of Matthew 28:19, and, in regard to the Father and the Son, expressly asserted in John 10:38.
That the Persons are co-eternal and coequal is a mere corollary from this. In regard to the Divine processions, the doctrine of the first procession is contained in the very terms Father and Son: the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and Son is taught in the discourse of the Lord reported by St. John (14-17) (see HOLY GHOST).
Taken from the Catholic Encyclopedia http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07170a.htm, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15047a.htm
When we see where the language for the doctrine of Heaven and the Trinity come from, we see it is mainly from the Fourth Century Church Fathers who had embraced Platonic logic to Interpret Scripture. Jesus' teaching does not come from Greek of Platonic logic so can not be explained by a Greek thinker.
I wrote a book Christianity at a Crossroads which explains a bit about why Platonic Interpretation is not the best. Please read it in order to get my feelings on the subject.
There are many Kabbalistic teachers today who do not use the Torah as an anchor for the Zohar's concepts and end up making the Ein Sof into something it is not. I have read where people say that the Ein Sof is the big nothing, or it is an it, which means that we are Hindus.
This is the problem when people try to use concepts without the Torah for guidance. First we need the Torah anchors in our life then we can properly understand what it means.