[Avodah] When Was the Zohar Written

Micha Berger micha at aishdas.org
Mon Oct 18 13:19:02 PDT 2021

On Wed, Sep 15, 2021 at 08:52:01PM +0000, Prof. L. Levine via Avodah wrote:
> R. Avraham Yaari in his sefer Toldos Chag Simchas Torah comes to some
> interesting conclusions about when the Zohar was actually written.
> His conclusions are based on when the name Simchas Torah was first used
> to designate the second day of Shemini Atzeres. See
> http://www.stevens.edu/golem/llevine/rsrh/zohar_yaari.pdf

According to R Yaaqov Emden, the central thesis of his Mispachas Sefarim,
the Zohar was wrotten by Rashbi, but it had accumulated other material
over the centuries.

He notes misquotes of Tanakh, a mention of the Crusades (there weren't
even Muslims yet in R Shimon's day) [2:32a], derashos on niqud, mention
of "esnoga" (Portugese for "synagogue") [3:232b], and it explaining the
nequdos as they were coined in Teveryah by Baalei Mesorah contemporary
to the Geonim [1:24b, 2:116a, 3:65a]. And one of his arguments are the
references to other practices that post-date Chazal...

including Simchas Torah in Ra'ayah Mehemna [Pinechas] 256b.

So the idea that the majority of the Zohar is from R Shimon bar Yochai and
yet the snippet mentioning Simchas Torah is one of many later accretions
is centuries older than RAYaari, and proposed by a noted acharon.

It's funny you put this in your RSRH directory. In his book-length
introduction to Horeb, Dayan Grunfeld spends pp. cxx-cxxix (9 pages)
on RSRH's use of the Zohar. RSRH may have questioned the usual mystical
take on the work, but it is hard to believe he would have been okay
saying it was all pseudographic.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 The first step towards getting somewhere is
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   to decide that you are not going
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- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF                 - JP Morgan

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