I saw someone claim that, "In Zohar of Pinchos, that an Eishes Ish is מותרת לזר if her husband allows.", while I doubt this, and have not seen this inside, has anyone seen this inside? (Parshas Pinchas is quite long) And if so, could you please list the daf number? Thank you!

  • 4
    It's impossible that the Zohar would allow something explicitly forbidden in the Torah! In the 10 commandments, no less. Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 8:25
  • 1
    @DannySchoemann, of course not, but it is possible there is something stated there which is being misinterpreted that way (Googling the question found it as a claim in an anti-Zohar polemic).
    – Yishai
    Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 12:50
  • @DannySchoemann It it not explicitly forbidden in the Torah! Just because the claim comes from a polemic doesn't mean you have to give bad answers. What you can say is it is highly unlikely the Zohar would allow something which we have no other record of a Tanna allowing.
    – Double AA
    Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 14:55
  • @DoubleAA, לא תנאף and מות יומת הנואף והנואפת are pretty explicit! What you can say is it is highly unlikely that the Zohar would invent an exception to an issur d'oraisa that we don't find anywhere else.
    – Yitzchak
    Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 16:08
  • @Yitzchak They are explicit verses but they do not explicitly discuss this case... The whole point is the Zohar would be claiming this is not a case of Niuf. Where do your verses define what Niuf is that we shouldn't do it?
    – Double AA
    Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 16:09

3 Answers 3


A Maskil (an early member of the Enlightenment movement who influenced the famous author Shalom Aleichem) Abraham Bar Gottlober wrote a book called תולדות הקבלה והחסידות which is basically an anti-Chassidic and Kabbalah polemic. On Page 98 he claims that the Zohar quoted by Danny Schoemann (specifically 220b) was used by the Shabttai Tzvi cult (I assume he means Frankist Sabbatians) to justify wife-swapping.

That is likely the source of the claim that you read. Note that Gershom Scholem calls such justifications (deliberately) mistranslated (One reference I found to that is here).

  • Where would i find this in Scholem's book?
    – user6591
    Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 20:22
  • @user6591, in my link, it references note 71. Unfortunately note 71 is not included in the Google index of the book. So you would have to start by getting Alchemy of the Word: Cabala of the Renaissance from the library and checking it up.
    – Yishai
    Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 20:25
  • In any event we should find out who the OP heard this idea from and go on a good old fashioned Sabatean hunt. Chacham Tzvi-Yaavetz style.
    – user6591
    Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 20:49
  • @user6591 - the OP copied word for word (including the lousy grammar) what was written on page 30 of this essay - academia.edu/4566921/… - as I hinted to in my answer. Commented Oct 23, 2014 at 8:48

The source of this contention seems to be on page 30 of this essay. (If nothing else, the bad grammar should alert one to something amiss.)

I suspect this is deduced from the passage on דף ר''כ ע''ב

אָמַר רִבִּי אַבָּא לְרִבִּי יוֹסֵי, הַהוּא מַרְגְּלָא קַדִּישָׁא דְּהֲוָה תְּחוֹת יְדָךְ, מִגּוֹ סִיַּעְתָּא דַּחֲסִידָא קַדִּישָׁא דְּאִיהוּ גַּבָּן, כַּמָּה שַׁפִּיר אִיהוּ, וְאָהֲדַרְנָא בֵּיהּ. דְּהָא וַדַּאי לָא אִצְטְרִיךְ לְאַפָּקָא אִתְּתָא, לְמִשְׁרֵי בַּאֲתָר אַחֲרָא, עַד דְּבַעְלָהּ יַפְקֵד לָהּ וְיָהִיב לָהּ רְשׁוּ לְמֵהַךְ. וְאוֹדְעִין לְבַעְלָהּ בְּקַדְמִיתָא, וּמְפַיְיסִין לֵיהּ, דְּהוּא יַפְקֵד לָהּ, וְיָהִיב לָהּ רְשׁוּ לְמֵיהַךְ לְהַהוּא אֲתָר. כַּךְ קוּדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא פָּיִיס לְמֹשֶׁה, וְעַד דְּיָהַב לֵיהּ רְשׁוּ, וְאָמַר לֵיהּ אֵימָא אַנְתְּ, הִנְנִי נוֹתֵן לוֹ אֶת בְּרִיתִי שָׁלוֹם, לְמִשְׁרֵי בְּגַוִּויהּ, וְעַד דְּיָהַב לָהּ רְשׁוּ לְמֵהַךְ תַּמָּן, לָא אַזְלַת. ‏

מְנָלָן. מִצַּדִּיקוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם, דְּיָהִיב לָהּ רְשׁוּ, לְמִשְׁרֵי גּוֹ צַדִּיקֵי בְּהַאי עָלְמָא. וְיָתְבָא עִמְּהוֹן, כְּכַלָּה גּוֹ קִשּׁוּטָהָא. וְצַדִּיקָא דְּעָלְמָא חָמֵי, וְחַדֵּי בְּהַאי. אֲבָל בֵּין דְּרוֹעֵי דְּבַעְלָהּ שְׁכִיבַת, וְאִתְהַדְּרַת לְמֶהֱוִי בַּהֲדַיְיהוּ, וְתָבַת לְבַעְלָהּ. כְּמָה דְאַתְּ אָמֵר, (אסתר ב) בָּעֶרֶב הִיא בָאָה וּבַבֹּקֶר הִיא שָׁבָה. בָּעֶרֶב הִיא בָאָה, לְגַבֵּי בַּעְלָהּ. וּבַבֹּקֶר הִיא שָׁבָה, לְגַבֵּי צַדִּיקַיָּיא דְּעָלְמָא. וְכֹלָּא בִּרְשׁוּתָא דְּבַעְלָהּ. (הדא הוא דכתיב, (תהלים לז) וצדיק חונן ונותן). ‏

But as you can see from the translation, it's totally out of context:

אָמַר רַבִּי אַבָּא לְרַבִּי יוֹסֵי, אוֹתָהּ מַרְגָּלִית קְדוֹשָׁה שֶׁהָיְתָה תַּחַת יָדְךְ, מִתּוֹךְ סִיּוּעַ שֶׁל הֶחָסִיד הַקָּדוֹשׁ שֶׁהוּא אֶצְלֵנוּ, כַּמָּה יָפֶה הוּא, וְחָזַרְנוּ בוֹ. שֶׁהֲרֵי וַדַּאי לֹא צָרִיךְ לְהוֹצִיא אִשָּׁה לְהַשְׁרוֹת בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵר, עַד שֶׁבַּעְלָהּ יְצַוֶּה וְיִתֵּן לָהּ רְשׁוּת לָלֶכֶת, וּמוֹדִיעִים לְבַעְלָהּ בַּהַתְחָלָה, וּמְפַיֵּס אוֹתוֹ שֶׁהוּא יְצַוֶּה אוֹתָהּ וְיִתֵּן לָהּ רְשׁוּת לָלֶכֶת לְאוֹתוֹ מָקוֹם. כָּךְ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא פִּיֵּס אֶת מֹשֶׁה, וְעַד שֶׁנָּתַן לוֹ רְשׁוּת וְאָמַר לוֹ: אֱמֹר אַתָּה, הִנְנִי נֹתֵן לוֹ אֶת בְּרִית שָׁלוֹם, לִשְׁרוֹת בְּתוֹכוֹ. וְעַד שֶׁנָּתַן לָהּ רְשׁוּת לָלֶכֶת לְשָׁם, לֹא הָלְכָה. ‏

מִנַּיִן לָנוּ? מִצַּדִּיקוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם, שֶׁנָּתַן לָהּ רְשׁוּת לִשְׁרוֹת בְּתוֹךְ צַדִּיקֵי הָעוֹלָם הַזֶּה. וְיָשְׁבָה עִמָּם כְּמוֹ כַלָּה בְּתוֹךְ הַקִּשּׁוּטִים שֶׁלָּהּ. וְצַדִּיק הָעוֹלָם רוֹאֶה וְשָׂמֵחַ בָּזֶה. אֲבָל בֵּין זְרוֹעוֹת בַּעְלָהּ שׁוֹכֶבֶת, וְחוֹזֶרֶת לִהְיוֹת אִתָּם, וְשָׁבָה לְבַעְלָהּ, כְּמוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (אסתר ב) בָּעֶרֶב הִיא בָאָה וּבַבֹּקֶר הִיא שָׁבָה. בָּעֶרֶב הִיא בָאָה לְבַעְלָהּ, וּבַבֹּקֶר הִיא שָׁבָה לְצַדִּיקֵי הָעוֹלָם, וְהַכֹּל בִּרְשׁוּת בַּעְלָהּ. (זהו שכתוב (תהלים לז) וצדיק חונן ונותן). ‏

  • Great find. Not sure why his grammar should matter. I'm also not sure exactly what is going on in that Zohar to say with whom i agree, so as of now I'm just saying great find.
    – user6591
    Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 16:05
  • Bad grammar usually just means it's a yeshivish guy instead of an academic. Not what you want here, I'm guessing.
    – Double AA
    Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 16:11
  • @Double AA Liheipuch! When Gershom Scholem critiques the Zohar it's one thing. When someone who we assume grew up hearing about the infallible Zohar turns up with valuable sources to question it's authority, that is worth much more.
    – user6591
    Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 19:52
  • @user6591 I don't see why it should matter who found the source.
    – Double AA
    Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 19:57
  • @Double AA I don't either. But if preference is given to any group in this instance, I would give it to the heimishe guy. We don't need another encyclopedia judaica entry on Kabbala bashing:)
    – user6591
    Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 20:02

I have seen the passage you are asking about, and here it is:

"The Righteous One of the world, gave Malkhut permission to abide among the righteous in this world, and She dwells among them as a bride in all Her jewellery, and the Righteous One of the world sees it, and is happy. But She lies in the arms of Her husband and returns from there to be with the righteous, then returning to Her husband, as it is written: In the evening she would come, and in the morning she would go (Esther 2:14). In the evening she would come—to her husband; and in the morning, She would go—to be among the righteous of the world, everything being done with the permission of Her husband [cf. BT Sanhedrin 52b; Shabbat 62b; Qiddushin 2a-b]" (Zohar 3:219b, Ra'aya Meheimna Pineḥas).

One can see how the Shabbatians and Frankists willfully misinterpreted this passage, with its admittedly sexual allusions, to rationalize their own devious behavior but they forgot about this passage:

"You may say that Esther has a bad reputation, that she was defiled with Ahasuerus, [yet] she was worthy that the Holy Spirit would be clothed in her, as is written, Esther donned מַלְכוּת (Malkhut), royal garb (Esther 5:1)... [And] if you say that [Ahasuerus] mated with her, perish the thought, though they were in the same house. Rather it was like Joseph of whom it says, and she [the wife of potiphar] laid out בִּגְדוֹ (bigdo), his garment, by her (Genesis 39:16). בִּגְדוֹ (bigdo), his garment—this is like treacherous dealers have dealt very בָּגָדוּ (bagadu), treacherously (Isaiah 24:16). There is a great mystery here, which is why אֶסְתֵּר (Ester), Esther, is derived from סֵתֶר (seter), secret, as is written, You are סֵתֶר (seter), a hiding place, for me (Psalms 32:7), since the Shekhinah hid her from Ahasuerus and gave him a female demon instead while she returned to Mordechai’s arm. And Mordechai, who knew the explicit Name and the seventy tongues, did all this with wisdom [see BT Sanhedrin 17a]" (Zohar 3:276a-b, Ra'aya Meheimna Ki Tetse).

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