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)

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