Historical letters dating to 1700 add message
Its scriptural exegesis can be considered an esoteric form of the Rabbinic literature known as Midrash, which elaborates on the Torah.The Zohar is mostly written in what has been described as a cryptic, obscure style of Aramaic.There are people of religions besides Judaism, or even those without religious affiliation, who delve in the Zohar out of curiosity, or as a technology for seeking meaningful and practical answers about the meaning of their lives, the purpose of creation and existence and their relationships with the laws of nature, the purpose of the Zohar is to help the Jewish people through and out of the Exile and to infuse the Torah and mitzvot (Judaic commandments) with the wisdom of Moses de León's Kabbalah for its Jewish readers.In the Bible the word "Zohar" first appears in Gen. Zohar also appears in the vision of Ezekiel 8:2 and is usually translated as meaning radiance or light.Certain Jewish communities, however, such as the Dor Daim, Andalusian (Western Sefardic or Spanish and Portuguese Jews), and some Italian communities, never accepted it as authentic.
Jewish prayerbooks edited by non-Orthodox Jews may therefore contain excerpts from the Zohar and other kabbalistic works, even if the editors do not literally believe that they are oral traditions from the time of Moses.
De León ascribed the work to Shimon bar Yochai ("Rashbi"), a rabbi of the 2nd century during the Roman persecution hid in a cave for thirteen years studying the Torah and was inspired by the Prophet Elijah to write the Zohar.
This accords with the traditional claim by adherents that Kabbalah is the concealed part of the Oral Torah.
The Zohar spread among the Jews with remarkable swiftness.
Scarcely fifty years had passed since its appearance in Spain before it was quoted by many Kabbalists, including the Italian mystical writer Menahem Recanati and by Todros Abulafia.