Online Zohar Course

Daniel Matt

Some years ago, I completed an 18-year project of translating and annotating the Zohar (The Zohar: Pritzker Edition). I am now teaching Zohar online.

There are two courses, one based on my English translation and the other based on the original Aramaic text of the Zohar. (Much of the description below pertains to the English Zohar course.)

The Aramaic Zohar course meets bi-weekly, on the first and third Thursday of each month. Each series consists of six shiurim (“measures,” lessons). The next series begins on October 7, 2021, continuing through December 16. The time is: 11 am (Pacific), 2 pm (Eastern), 9 pm (Israel time). Recordings are available to anyone who enrolls. For this Aramaic Zohar course, you do not need to know Aramaic, but you should have fluency in reading Hebrew.

The English Zohar course meets weekly, with six shiurim in each series. Herewe study the Zohar in my English translation. The next series (Series 17) begins after the Haggim (Rosh ha-Shanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot) on October 5 and runs through November 9.

There are two ways to participate in the English Zohar course. Many people begin by enrolling in the first series (which took place in early 2019), watching the meetings on video (or listening on audio). Then they may continue with the second series and/or jump to the current series. Others, who prefer having the option of live meetings right away, enroll in the current (or upcoming) series. Video recordings (of all 6 shiurim of any one series) are available to anyone who enrolls in that series. (Similarly, with the Aramaic Zohar course.) Currently (in both courses) about half the participants attend the live weekly shiurim, and the other half watch the videos afterward at their convenience.

Each series of the course consists of six weekly shiurim, following which we take a break (for a couple weeks) and then continue with a new series (of six weekly shiurim). In each series, we explore new passages from the Zohar, not repeating what has been covered. As mentioned above, you can enroll in one of the earlier series or the current (or upcoming) one. With Zohar, it doesn’t matter that much where you dive in!

The English course meets via Zoom on Tuesday evenings from 5 pm – 6:15 pm Pacific Time (8 pm – 9:15 pm Eastern Time). During the first hour, I teach a passage from the Zohar, following which there is time for questions. In November 2020 we completed Volume 1 of The Zohar: Pritzker Edition and are now exploring Volume 2. If you join the course, you should obtain Volume 1 (for Series 1-12) and Volume 2 (for Series 12-17).

The English Zohar course began in January 2019. Currently there are about 150 people participating, including about 40 rabbis but also many folks without Hebrew fluency or any extensive background in studying traditional Jewish texts. At times, I refer to the original Aramaic text of the Zohar, but the course is intended especially for those who have not yet studied Zohar extensively or even at all. Some participants follow along in the original Aramaic as we explore the English translation. Newcomers are welcome to join.

With both courses (English and Aramaic), there is the option of finding a havruta (study partner) to explore Zohar together, either in preparation for the shiur or afterward. Anyone enrolled in the current series can fill out a short questionnaire and then have access to a list of those seeking a havruta.

There is also a Facebook group for the course (Zohar Zoom), on which we engage in online discussion related to the Zohar. You are welcome to join this Facebook group even if you do not enroll in the Zohar course.

Here are links to 3 free sample video recordings from the English Zohar course.

1)   The first meeting of the course (January 16, 2019). Here I provide a brief introduction to the Ten Sefirot, and then we explore a passage near the beginning of the Zohar (1:1b), in The Zohar: Pritzker Edition, Vol. 1, pp. 5-7.

2)   A passage from the Zohar about meditating on a candle: 

3)   A passage from the Zohar on inviting the Ushpizin (Guests) into the Sukkah:

Enrollment and Payment Information (for both courses)

To enroll, you simply pay for one or more series of the course. The cost of each series (of 6 weekly shiurim) is on a sliding scale from $100 – $250. You determine the exact amount (between $100 – $250), based on what you can afford.

With all online payments, please indicate which course you are enrolling in (English or Aramaic) and which series. If there is no way to indicate this (as on Zelle), then please email me at the address below.

You can enroll by paying me online via PayPal, Venmo (@Daniel-Matt), or Zelle. (If you pay on Zelle, please email me after your initial payment, because Zelle does not provide contact information. If you pay on Venmo, please include your email address; and if you need the last four digits of my phone number, they are 3920.) Alternatively, you can send a check to me (at the address at the end of this description).

If you pay by Zelle, there is no fee. If you pay by PayPal or Venmo, there may be a small fee (which, however, you can avoid; see below). For paying on PayPal or Venmo: If you have a PayPal (or Venmo) account, please select “Sending to a friend” (not “Paying for an item or service”). If the default shows up as “Paying for an item or service,” you should be able to click on "Change" and change this to “Sending to a friend.” If you are paying from abroad, you may not have the option of “Sending to a friend.” Once you have paid, I will email you a link to the live weekly shiurim and another link to the recordings.

When you pay on PayPal (or Venmo), please include your preferred email address in the space for a “note” on the payment page and also indicate which course (English or Aramic) and which series you are paying for (first, second, etc., or several). The cost (described above) is for each series of six shiruim.

If you do not have a PayPal account, you can join PayPal easily. If you do not wish to join PayPal, you can email me, letting me know how much you will be paying for the series (between $100 - $250) and I will have PayPal send you a payment request. Click on “Pay as guest.” The name "Daniel Matt" will show up. The default may appear as “Paying for an item or service,” but if there is an option, click on "Change" and change this to “Sending to a friend.” You will be charged a small fee for paying by credit card. (You can avoid this by joining PayPal, for free, and linking your bank account, for free.) If paying from abroad, you may not have the option of “Sending to a friend.”

If you prefer to pay by check, you can mail your check (made out to Daniel Matt) to the address below. Please specify which course and which series you are paying for. The cost (described above) is for each series of 6 shiurim.

My mailing address: Daniel Matt, 1013 Middlefield Rd., Berkeley, CA 94708
My email:  (Please include my middle initial “c”.)