Category Archives: Kabbalah

Does the Zohar (Kabbalah) include Trinity?

Kabbalah Sefirot Tree

he Zohar: Pritzker Edition

* Does the Zohar (main text of Kabbalah) include the (Christian) Trinity? If so, in what way?
* Kabbalah goes beyond saying that God is Three… there are said to be ten divine emanations (sefirot) through which God interacts with the world. So how much of Kabbalah can we reconcile with traditional (non-Zohar) rabbinic Judaism?
* How did Christians recognize the Zohar as possibly Christian? (Christians took the lead in sparing the Zohar from book burnings of the Talmud, for precisely this reason, see the article)
* Are rationalist philosophers correct, or incorrect, in not only disagreeing with Kabbalah, but in radically denying all attributes to God, on order to prove God’s one-ness? In this view, perhaps Jewish rationalists like Maimonides, Ibn Tibbon and Gersonides are simply mistaken, and God does indeed have multiple attributes?

Because of reasons like this, religious rationalists reject the Zohar, and Kabbalah, as being incorrect. See Judaism as opposed to Zohardoxy

However, other Jews see the Zohar as being compatible with Judaism; for an example, see “Three Is Not Enough: Jewish Reflections on Trinitarian Thinking”, by David R. Blumenthal, Professor of Judaic Studies, Emory University
An excerpt:
….The historical interlude of the Christian reception of the Zohar in counterreformation Italy aside, it seems to me that a more profound theological question has arisen: If God can, indeed, have personalist dimensions as part of God’s own inner being, why should there be only three such dimensions? If God can, indeed, encompass different levels of being, all of which are equal within God’s inner-ness, why should there not be as many such levels as necessary? To put it clearly: If God’s being is plural, why only Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? Why not Ineffability, Knowability (Father), Intuition (Mother), Grace (male), Judgment (female), Compassion (Husband), Eternity, Awe, Fecundity (male), and Providence (Bride, Mother) — all of which are equally integral to the divine whole?
To put it in declarative form: The zoharic dialogue with the trinity leads to the statement: Three is not enough! God, in God’s fullness, is more than three. God, in Whose Image humanity is created, has more than three dimensions. The awesome complexity of the human personality — in which Image humanity is created — suggests that there are many more than three basic dimensions to God’s personhood. Indeed, if we, humans, are more than trinitarian, certainly God is more than three.
Jewish readers of the Zohar and its related literature knew all this. The non-philosophers were struck by the very depth of its insight into God, and into humanity, and made the Zohar into a holy book, probably the third holiest in Judaism after the Bible and the Talmud.[26] Jewish rationalists of philosophic or halakhic bent were struck by the almost heretical pluralism within the divine and objected strenuously to teaching, publishing, and translating the Zohar. In fact, the charge of the Zohar being a book that aids and abets trinitarian thinking precisely because the sefirot are integral elements of God Godself, was first made by Jews[27] and it is surely one of the reasons why the Zohar may not be taught to Jews who are too young or uneducated, or to Christians.
Jewish rationalist hesitations notwithstanding, the question remains: If God’s being is plural, why only Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? Why not Ineffability, Knowability, Intuition, Grace, Judgment, Compassion, Eternity, Awe, Fecundity, and Providence — all of which are equally integral to the divine whole? If we, who are complex beyond three, are created in God’s Image, God must be complex beyond three.