Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Prologue to R' Ashlag's Work

Rabbi Yehudah Ashlag's "Introduction to the Zohar"

-- as translated and commented on by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman


First off let it be said that R' Ashlag's "Introduction to the Zohar" is an arcane and tightly bound work that's sometimes difficult to comprehend and chock full of allusions to his other works (which are far more fleshed out). So we'll present the text bit by bit here and comment on it based on our reading of those other works, as well as of other Torah sources.

Secondly, this work actually has very little to do with the Zohar per se, though of course it touches on ideas expressed or implied there. So "Introduction to the Zohar" is a misnomer. It's more like an introduction to R' Ashlag's thoughts. It's only given the title it has because it comes at the beginning of R' Ashlag's major work on the Zohar (“Peirush HaSulam”) and because there's other introductory material there. So this work would best be termed "One of Several Introductions to the Rabbi Yehudah Ashlag’s Edition of the Zohar", but that wouldn't do.

The work is comprised of 70 short, pithy chapters; we've taken the liberty of breaking them down into parts to make it easier to take hold of.

(c) 2004 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

(Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org )

Get your own copy of Rabbi Feldman’s translation of “The Gates of Repentance” by logging onto http://www.aronson.com/jbookstore/ and typing in "The Gates of Repentance".
Rabbi Yaakov Feldman has translated and commented upon "The Gates of Repentance", "The Path of the Just", and "The Duties of the Heart" (Jason Aronson Publishers). And his new work on Maimonides' "The Eight Chapters" will soon be available from Judaica Press.
His works are available in bookstores and in various locations on the Web.
Rabbi Feldman also offers two free e-mail classes on www.torah.org entitled "Spiritual Excellence" and "Ramchal".