Mystic Tales from the Zohar
Translated with notes and commentary by Aryeh Wineman
Zohar, or "brilliant light," is the central text of Kabbalah. In Jewish mystical tradition, it is the meeting of midrash (storytelling that expands on events in the Bible) and myth. This selection offers original translations of eight of the most well developed narratives in the Zohar along with notes and detailed commentary. The tales deal with the themes of sin and repentance, death, exile, redemption, and resurrection. Most importantly, they are stories, they are literature, and here they are finally analyzed as such. Using comparative information, Aryeh Wineman places the tales in their historical and etymological contexts. He cites a variety of theorists of myth, including Otto Rank, C. G. Jung, Mircea Eliade, and Joseph Campbell, all of whom sought to connect the motifs of the Zohar to universal motifs. He ties the stories to the tenets of Kabbalah, to one another, and to the world's universal symbols and meanings.
Aryeh Wineman is a Rabbi at Temple Beth-El in Troy, New York.