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 Hebrew reading.

The English Zohar course meets weekly. Herewe study the Zohar in my English translation. Series 15 runs from April 27 through June 8, 2021 (skipping May 18, the holiday of Shavu’ot). Series 16 runs from June 29 through August 3.

We meet 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. Recently we completed Volume 1 of The Zohar: Pritzker Edition and are now exploring Volume 2. If you join the course, you should obtain at least Volume 2 (new or used, from Amazon or elsewhere).

This 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.

There are two ways to participate in this course (and similarly with the Aramaic Zohar course). You can either attend the live weekly shiurim on Zoom or watch video recordings whenever it’s convenient. Currently (in both courses) about half the participants attend the live shiurim, and the other half watch the videos afterward.

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. 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! You are welcome to start with the current (or upcoming) series. To some newcomers, I suggest enrolling in the first series (from early 2019) and then continuing with 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.)

With both courses, 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.

https://youtu.be/NNoZsOin5bg

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

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1N_ayViclozCw33dILLBhz0E_PtY3reyY/view 

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

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1aOUpcX29QwiG1Y3JKVdUyBg2FrS_e4l9/view?usp=sharing

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.) Alternatively, you can send a check to me (at the address at the end of this description).

If you pay by Venmo or Zelle, there is no fee. If you pay by PayPal, there may be a small fee (which, however, you can avoid; see below). For paying on PayPal: If you have a PayPal 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, please include your preferred email address in the space for a “note” on the PayPal 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:   danielcmatt@gmail.com  (Please include my middle initial “c”. Otherwise your payment will go to someone else with a very similar gmail address!)