Are there any responses by Rishonim or Aharonim (even contemporaries) against those who criticize the Kabbala and the Zohar done by many people? Like this accusation (NOT AVAILABLE ANYMORE).

Some people claim the Zohar doesn't fit into the Torah. They claim it contradicts the Torah. They claim the Eser Sefirot are against the Torah because it Has WeHalila "split Kudsha Berich Hu into ten." Are there any Gedolim who discuss this topic?

  • 3
    see the Rivash where this "issue" is addressed. Commented Dec 30, 2011 at 1:53
  • 2
    @msh210 Why the "heterodox" tag?
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 30, 2011 at 6:05
  • 3
    @msh210 Although the majority of opinions do seem to accept the Zohar's authenticity, some (such as Rav Yaakov Emden and many Teimanim among others) do reject its authenticity. I find it hard to call them non-Orthodox.
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 30, 2011 at 13:34
  • 3
    @Barry "As the Shabbethaians referred much to the Zohar, Emden thought it wise to examine that book, and after a careful study he concluded that a great part of the Zohar was the production of an impostor." jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/…
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 30, 2011 at 14:59
  • 2
    Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/8925/…
    – WAF
    Commented Dec 31, 2011 at 22:32

2 Answers 2


Look in Derech Mitzvosecha [Mitzvas Ha'amanas Elokus (Mitvah of Belief in G-d) Chapter 3 and onwards] where the Tzemach Tzedek of Lubavitch discusses the question concerning unity of Hashem and the Sfiros.


You might want to check out "Iggeret Chamudot", by R' Eliyahu Chaim Genazzano, an Italian Kabbalist of the 15th century. Part of the main focus of this work (actually a letter, I think) is to rant against those who employ "speculative reasoning" and philosophy in their quest for religious truth instead of kabbalstic tradition. The sefirot come up, of course, as well as other kabbalistic concepts, but I don't think it is much of a detailed defense of kabbalisitc ideas found in the Zohar.

If you're looking for explanations of how the sefirot don't contradict God's "indivisibility", I have come across explanations for this in the works of Rishonim, but I can't point to exact sources at the moment. The general idea is that the sefirot express God's attributes, not His essence. The same way we would be able to say "God is kind" without necessarily saying that "kindness" is "part of" God's essence as a separable part of His being.

Also what comes to my mind is Abarbanel's lengthy defense of the Zohar's concept of reincarnation (which, incidentally, is one of the ideas that the linked video calls antithetical to Judaism) from those followers of Aristotle who denied its veracity.

  • Also, just food for thought, but consider that both the Baal Shem Tov and Vilna Gaon were renowned kabbalists. By extension, both the Litvish/yeshivish leaders as well as the "founder" of Chassidus held by the Zohar and by kabbalah. Nachmanides and many other rishonim did as well. Commented Dec 30, 2011 at 22:00
  • @TKKocheran The Besht and Gra I agree, but it is quite unlikely that Nachmanides ever saw the Zohar which was only available in Europe starting in ~1270.
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 27, 2012 at 4:19
  • The Rivash quoted in this question approvingly quotes a contemporary kabbalist about why Sefiros are not a contradiction to G-d's unity (although he disagrees with the point of having such intentions in prayer).
    – Yishai
    Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 18:29
  • @DoubleAA he didn't see it, but I believe he sent R Yitzchak to go investigate it.
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Jun 5 at 9:34
  • @Rabbi seems unlikely. Ramban died in 1270 and R Yitzchak of Acre was born in 1250 so they definitely overlapped in Acre, but RY didn't leave Acre till 1291 and only investigated the Zohar later in life after going to Italy
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 5 at 12:28

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .