Sunday, May 20, 2012

Why One Should Not Sell His Copy Of The Zohar

Having described the chain of the printing of the Zohar, about seventy printed editions in Montoba, Livorno, Krakow, Amsterdam, and Vilna – some of them more correct and some with errors – “The Gates to the Zohar” concludes with the words of the Chida:

In one old manuscript I saw the following story. One Sage had an edition of the Zohar, which he sold. At night he was tortured by evil dreams, in which they called him an animal, “Behemah.” Next day he recounted his dream, and one Sage told him that they were reproving him for having sold the Zohar. And the word “Behemah” meant “I have removed the sacred portions from my house,” ("Biarti Hakodesh Min Habait"). He went back to the buyer, pleaded, and bought the books back. Thus far goes the story.

Of course, in the context this means good: the farmer has given all the charity presents that he was supposed to, and his house is now clean of these holy portions. However, the same verse may have a different meaning in a different situation.

Art: Louis Robert Carrier-Belleuse- Le Bouquiniste (The bookseller)

Friday, May 4, 2012


In his biography ofJoyce, Richard Ellmann describes the following scene, which took place when Joyce was fifty and Beckett twenty-six, and which could have come straight from the theatre of the No:

"Beckett was addicted to silences, and so was Joyce; they engaged in conversations which consisted often of silences directed towards each other, both suffused with sadness, Beckett mostly for the world, Joyce mostly for himself. Joyce sat in his habitual posture, legs crossed, toe of the upper leg under the instep of the lower; Beckett, also tall and slender, fell into the same gesture. Joyce suddenly asked some such question as, 'How could the idealist Hume write a history?' Beckett replied, 'A history of representation.'"