Cover of The Zohar by Translated by Nathan Wolski and Joel Hecker
The Zohar
Pritzker Edition, Volume Twelve
Translated by Nathan Wolski and Joel Hecker

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June 2017
800 pages.
$75.00

Cloth ISBN: 9780804797740

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Sefer ha-Zohar (The Book of Radiance) has amazed readers ever since it emerged in Spain over seven hundred years ago. Written in a lyrical Aramaic, the Zohar, the masterpiece of Kabbalah, features mystical interpretation of the Torah, from Genesis to Deuteronomy.

The twelfth volume of The Zohar: Pritzker Edition presents an assortment of discrete Zoharic compositions. The first two chapters contain different versions of the Zoharic Heikhalot, descriptions of the heavenly halls or palaces that the soul of the kabbalist traverses during prayer. Piqqudin, or Commandments, is a kabbalistic treatment of the mystical reasons for the commandments. Raza de-Razin (Mystery of Mysteries) is a diagnostic manual for the ancient and medieval science of physiognomy, determining people's character based on physical appearance. Sitrei Otiyyot (Secrets of the Letters) is a mystical essay that maps out the emergence of divine and mundane reality from the tetragrammaton, YHVH. Qav ha-Middah (Line of Measure) is another mystical essay that describes the divine instrument used by God to gauge the mystical overflow to the ten sefirot. The commentary on Merkevet Yehezqel (Ezekiel's Chariot) interprets the details of the prophet Ezekiel's chariot-vision. Beginning with the description of the four creatures, the Zohar demonstrates how Divinity and the cosmos comprise a series of quaternities that pervade all Being.

The last main chapter includes Zoharic commentary to various portions of the Torah. The volume closes with a short appendix of passages that printers have labeled Tosefta despite their not fitting into that genre—a suitable end to the Zohar whose parameters and composition will remain ever mysterious.

About the authors

Nathan Wolski is the Liberman Family Lecturer in Jewish Studies with the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation, Monash University, Australia. He is the author of A Journey into the Zohar: An Introduction to the Book of Radiance (2010), and translator of Melila Hellner-Eshed's seminal work, A River Flows From Eden: The Language of Mystical Experience in the Zohar (Stanford, 2009).

Joel Hecker serves as Professor of Jewish Mysticism at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. He has also taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Jewish Theological Seminary, and Yeshiva University. Hecker is the author of Mystical Bodies, Mystical Meals: Eating and Embodiment in Medieval Kabbalah (2005) and the translator of Volume Eleven of The Zohar: Pritzker Edition.