Original text and translations of The Zohar, including a complete Zohar PDF download.
Throughout the centuries The Zohar was the primary
and often the only book used by Kabbalists, and today it is available to
Here you will find the original Aramaic version of The Book of Zohar PDF with its Hebrew translation and the Sulam (Ladder) commentary by
Kabbalist Rabbi Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag, as well as the English translation
of The Zohar with the Sulam (Ladder) commentary by Rabbi Yehuda
Ashlag, and commentary by as studied in private
lessons with his teacher, Rabbi Baruch Shalom HaLevi Ashlag.
Introduction to the Zohar - A Must-Read Before Approaching the Zohar in English PDF
Before opening The Zohar PDF, it is recommended to become grounded in an introduction to the book, and how to approach it.
Over the generations, kabbalists have often referred to The Zohar as “The Book.” Indeed, it is “the book” of the wisdom of Kabbalah. Today, it is surfacing in order to guide us to the world of perfection and harmony that it describes.
What is so unique about The Zohar and about the wisdom of Kabbalah? Why is the wisdom of Kabbalah more available on a global scale today than in any other epoch?
We constantly develop. Once upon a time, all we needed was to eat, sleep, find shelter, and procreate. Desires for food, sex, family, and shelter are the fundamental survival desires that exist in every individual. As time passes, our desires grow. We start feeling that other people have something—and we start wanting it too. We thus further develop through desires for money, honor, control, and knowledge. The more our desires grow, the more we exert to try and fulfill our desires, and we run after fulfillment and happiness by trying to satisfy the desires that constantly surface in us.
The more we progress from generation to generation, the more we also accumulate suffering. While we have suffered greatly over the course of history, today we suffer in a very unique way compared to the past. The root of our suffering today is a growing inner emptiness. This emptiness becomes expressed as more and more depression, loneliness, stress, anxiety, obesity, divorce, drug abuse, and suicide, among several other problems.
If we are common folk living in cities and towns anywhere in the world, then we are most likely influenced by materialistic values that make us constantly try to keep up with the Joneses. Society tells us that we should continually replace our wardrobe, get a new and better car, find a better job or career, achieve a higher academic title, travel to other parts of the world, and fork out money to buy anything that is on sale, even mostly when we have no need for it.
However, the moment we satisfy the desire is the same moment the satisfaction starts waning, and we are left empty again. New desires then surface, making us once again aim ourselves to replace our new empty sensation with another fulfillment—and we go for it once again. This process is nothing new. It has been happening throughout our entire history. Today, however, since our desires are bigger than they ever were in the past, then likewise, the feeling of emptiness is also much bigger, and it awakens existential questions more and more: “What’s the point of running after all these pleasures in life if we just get left empty again and again?” Whether or not we verbalize the question as such, ultimately we ask, “What is the meaning and purpose of life?”
The uniqueness of our era is that we have entered a transition phase where, on one hand, we are reaching the satiation of our materialistic desires, and on the other hand, we are asking about the meaning and purpose of life more than ever before. We never asked about the meaning of our lives like we do today. It was never felt as a growing empty void that leaves us with a sense of purposelessness in our material pursuits.
The Zohar appeared precisely in order to answer such questions about the essence of our existence. We had no need for such a book in the past, and it was thus concealed for a long time. Today, however, our need for its wisdom—to reveal our life’s purpose—is the main reason for its appearance. Also, while our desires are bigger than ever before, making us want to take from others and nature more than we ever had in the past, we have also become more globally interdependent than ever before. Our growing global interdependence coupled with our growing desires is a formula for crisis on a global scale. In addition to increasing personal problems, we also experience more and more problems on social, national, and global scales, whether it be increases in crime, mass shootings, terror attacks, nuclear anxiety, natural disasters or the pandemic, the accumulation of suffering in so many fields of our lives causes grave concern about our very survival as we head into an uncertain future. In the past, when we had children, we thought that they would have better lives. That is not the case anymore.
The Zohar predicted this state of the world. There is also an example in history of a similar situation that we can learn from. That example is the story of the Tower of Babel. In the story, people gathered in one place—ancient Babylon—with a goal of building a tower that would reach the heavens. It was the first example of the formula—Interdependence + Egoism = Crisis—in practice. Moreover, it was out of this atmosphere that the wisdom of Kabbalah, the wisdom that The Zohar describes, emerged.
The wisdom of Kabbalah states that we sense only a tiny portion of the true reality that exists, and it provides a method for attaining that much more expansive and higher reality. Moreover, the wisdom of Kabbalah describes our desires’ development over the generations as part of a process leading us to the discovery of this higher reality, and that when we discover it, we will see how the reason we were born, raised, and developed over history was solely for the attainment of the higher reality. Attaining the higher reality is the key to exiting the loop of pursuing pleasures in the midst of growing emptiness. It is the key to finding out why we are alive, and how to achieve an eternal and perfect state during our lifetime instead of dying with half of our desires being left unfulfilled.
In the story of the Tower of Babel, Abraham the Patriarch discovered the workings of our operating system: how we are managed from the higher reality in concealment, in order to gradually lead us to its revelation. Through his own discovery of the higher reality, he found how our entire material development reaches a limit, and that our spiritual development begins from that limit onward. According to Kabbalah, our desires for food, sex, family, money, honor, control, and knowledge are named “the heart,” and our desire to discover the meaning of life is named “the point in the heart.” The point in the heart is also called “a part of the higher reality from above,” and if we approach our desires a certain way, using the method of Kabbalah, then we can attract forces from the higher reality that influence the point in the heart until we literally get “pulled” up into the higher reality through that desire. This is how Abraham discovered the higher reality.
Abraham taught the method that he discovered to the Babylonians of the time who came to study with him. And why did they come to study with him? It was because of the growing divisive atmosphere that the story of the Tower of Babel describes—that some people sought solutions to the ruptures tearing throughout Babylonian society, and Abraham taught the method of how to rise above the differences and discover how nature works from the vantage point of the higher reality.
In kabbalistic terminology, which he used in his book, the wisdom of Kabbalah describes how reality starts expanding from the world of Ein Sof (the world of Infinity), through the worlds of Adam Kadmon, Atzilut, Beria, Yetzira, and Assiya, down to our world that we perceive in our inborn senses. It describes the soul of Adam HaRishon, and how it shattered into 600,000 souls, which fell into the level of our world, and how this soul undergoes development in concealment and exile until it start awakening to its root, and from its detachment in consciousness and sensation, it awakens and ends up discovering the same root in the higher reality that it once fell from, which is ultimately its place in the world of Ein Sof.
While Abraham was not the first kabbalist, he was the first to teach people and groups how to discover the soul and gradually experience the higher reality through it. The higher reality consists of five worlds, each with five levels, each of which then divides into five additional levels. As such, kabbalists define 125 levels (5 x 5 x 5) by which we ascend in our perception and sensation until we attain reality in its entirety. Moreover, this is a process that does not take place in some afterlife, after our death, but it takes place while we are alive here in this world.
When we attain the higher reality, we discover the flip side of our lives. We find how our lives in this world are like an imprint, and the higher reality is its stamp. In other words, we find how this world is the world of consequences or “branches,” and the higher reality is the world of causes or “roots.” Discovering the higher reality thus means discovering the causes for everything taking place in our lives, and how we can affect changes in our lives from its causal level. Our lives in this world are like lives of characters in a movie. They do not know the actors acting them, nor the script running them, nor the director behind the scenes. They simply act out actions that are prepared for them in advance. When we rise to the higher reality, then we rise from the level of characters in a movie to the level of the director. We get to understand the script behind our lives, and we enter into a conversation with the director about how to best influence the entire production taking place.
The longer we remain at the level of the characters, without discovering the deeper levels of our lives, then the more we will be led down a path of increasing suffering that will make us question its cause and purpose more and more. And the more we suffer, the riper we become to exit our current level of life, and rise into the higher reality. The wisdom of Kabbalah describes this entire process, and provides a method by which we can undertake the ascent to the higher reality.
Likewise, in our times, we find ourselves at a crossroad before two paths: one is the path of suffering, a negative form of development where we get prodded from behind, as we have been doing throughout history; and the other path is the path of light, or the path of Kabbalah, which is an active and conscious way to attract forces from the higher reality that advance us ahead of the suffering, with pleasure and understanding. Kabbalists knew that without implementing the wisdom of Kabbalah, we would reach a state where our very survival is in question. Both The Zohar and Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam) pointed to the end of the 20th century as the time when the wisdom of Kabbalah would start becoming revealed en masse, because existential questions would emerge much more throughout humanity from that time onward. And the longer we fail to address these questions and advance ourselves along a path of consciousness and understanding, then the longer we would experience an accumulation of suffering. Baal HaSulam called the path of consciousness and understanding “the path of Torah” where he wrote:
“There are two ways to discover the completeness: the path of Torah and the path of suffering. Hence, the Creator eventuated and gave humanity technology, until they have invented the atom and the hydrogen bombs. If the total ruin that they are destined to bring is still not evident to the world, they can wait for a third world war, or a fourth one and so on. The bombs will do their thing and the relics after the ruin will have no other choice but to take upon themselves this work ... If you take the path of Torah, all will be well. And if you do not, then you will tread the path of suffering.”
Today, nature is developing us by increasing suffering on all scales—personal, social, economic, ecological, and global—and cornering us into a situation where we will need to seek a way out, otherwise we will face destruction. And the way out is to discover the higher reality, the causal forces managing us and how to enter into balance with them. As we develop without understanding our lives’ purpose, we create all kinds of technologies with the aim of improving our lives. However, by creating these technologies “in the dark,” so to speak, they fail to ultimately improve our lives. This is because they fail to respond to our innermost needs that need to be met in order for our lives to truly improve. Thus, before developing technologies or any other creations in our world, kabbalists say that it is better to “sit and do nothing,” i.e. to contemplate the direction in which we are headed, and how to balance ourselves with the laws of nature working on us, before we set out on conducting actions to better the world.
When Abraham first revealed the wisdom of Kabbalah to the group he taught, some 3,800 years ago, they became known as “the people of Israel,” and the method remained with them for some time. After further development, around 2,000 years ago, the wisdom of Kabbalah entered a state of concealment from the public—a period known as “exile”—and was studied in secret by relatively small groups of kabbalists ever since. The purpose of its concealment and the exile was in order to wait for the time that humanity would need it, and in the process, let humanity intermingle to such an extent that the method would no longer remain with a single group that Abraham once taught. Also, in the process of Kabbalah’s concealment, several researchers of other teachings came into contact with it at some level, and without attaining the higher reality, they blended Kabbalah with religion, mysticism, tarot, magic, witchcraft, and several other teachings. Such mixtures of Kabbalah with other teachings only confuses people, as the sole purpose of the wisdom of Kabbalah is to provide a method for attaining the higher reality, and using it in detachment from that purpose is simply a waste of time. The hidden nature of the wisdom of Kabbalah over history gave it a certain appeal, and in our consumer-oriented society today, there are several organizations and companies marketing services and products with the name “Kabbalah” plastered all over them—which have no connection at all to authentic Kabbalah.
Today, however, the time of Kabbalah’s concealment has ended, and it has become readily available to anybody regardless of age, gender, race, or any other seeming difference. The wisdom of Kabbalah is a higher science. It belongs to no religion or faith, nor does it pose any boundaries or limitations to one who wishes to study it. Any person who wishes to understand the world he or she lives in, to know the soul, to know one’s fate and to learn how to govern it is welcome to study Kabbalah. Through the education that the wisdom of Kabbalah provides, we can grow up to become happy, confident, and secure people in the fullest sense of those terms: by establishing a connection with the causal level of our existence, and being able to toggle the tap that fills our lives with an abundant force from that higher reality. When we learn how to correctly conduct ourselves with these forces, then we match the conditions for revealing them, and we experience life on a whole other level than we currently do.
The Zohar is the book that holds the most powerful force in reality. Why? It is because it was written at the time when the wisdom of Kabbalah shifted from its openness to its exile. It was a time when desires grew in humanity, and upon the heightened desire of that time, it was written by authors who rose from the lowest level of this world to the heights of reality. Their exalted attainments led them to understand the need for such a text in the future, as such attainment brought with it an understanding of how humanity—and creation in general—develops. Therefore, they organized that the book would become concealed immediately after they wrote it.
The authors of The Zohar wrote it for our current generation: to let us discover and turn on the light switch in our reality that appears increasingly darker the more we progress without it. If we want to make a better life for ourselves, for our children, and for our grandchildren, then we need to learn how to approach The Zohar. It is a book like no other: it is a means through which we can connect to the higher reality. When we learn how to approach The Zohar in such a way, we will be able to access the higher reality, the abundance of spiritual fulfillment.
Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam) wrote four introductions to The Book of Zohar, which are necessary to study in order to gain a proper grounding and approach to The Zohar.
As a means of studying two of these introductions in depth, we recommend the book Introduction to the Book of Zohar by Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman. This book contains the full texts of these articles as well as detailed commentary by Dr. Laitman, together with several student questions and Dr. Laitman's answers, in order to become well-acquainted with the fundamental principles and basic concepts required to embark on reading The Zohar.
Before Opening the Zohar
Use this checklist to make sure you have gained a proper grounding and approach to The Zohar before opening it, in order to maximally spiritually benefit from the reading.
1) Take the Short Zohar Introductory Course, “Enter the Zohar”
Starting from light to heavy, we have created a short course that we recommend taking before reading The Zohar, “Enter the Zohar.”
Comprised of a handful of high production quality videos, as well as related materials and activity, in this course, you will learn:
What is The Book of Zohar? Where did it come from? What for? And how can we begin to grasp what is written there? Delve into the “language of branches” and see why The Zohar was written specifically in the way it was.
Understand the reader of The Zohar: understand who we are, how we currently perceive reality – and where is it that we want to get to.
Understand the writers of The Zohar: Who wrote The Zohar? When? And most importantly – Why?
Delve into “the law of equivalence of form” and start uncovering how through this law, The Zohar can help us build a second nature.
See how The Zohar lets us access the perception and sensation of the Creator, the general law of Nature.
How your nature is a will to receive, and what it means to truly reach an unconditional desire to give.
2) Learn the Fundamental Principles and Basic Concepts of the Wisdom of Kabbalah.
Since The Zohar is a key Kabbalistic text, then it should be approached as one. Without understanding basic Kabbalistic principles and concepts, which span what Kabbalah is and is not, what is the language of roots and branches that Kabbalists write their texts in and how to approach such text in order to reap maximal spiritual benefit, as well as concepts of who we are, what is our perception of reality, where is our free choice, and how to work with our intention during the study of Kabbalah, then you will simply be lost (in a spiritual sense) when reading The Zohar.
Our most recommended course of study to learn Kabbalah's fundamental principles and basic concepts is our course, Kabbalah Revealed at KabU.
3) Learn Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag’s Four Introductions to the Book of Zohar
In the related documents section of this page, we have linked to Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag’s (Baal HaSulam) four introductions to The Zohar, as well as to a book by Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman that gives in-depth commentary to two of those introductions.
As well as writing the most comprehensive commentary to The Zohar for our generation, and translating The Zohar’s Aramaic to Hebrew, Baal HaSulam wrote these four introductions to The Zohar in order to calibrate its readers toward a spiritual experience of the text, and not to get lost in empty philosophizing.
4) Review Other Zohar Preparatory Materials
We have created and gathered various materials on how to prepare one’s grounding, approach, and intention to the reading of The Zohar in the section “Preparation for the Zohar.” In this section, you will find the book, The Revelation of the Book of Zohar in Our Time by Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman. It is built of quotes from Dr. Michael Laitman taken from a series of Daily Zohar Lessons, and answers to questions of students, that aim to clarify why The Zohar was written for revelation in our time, the approach to studying The Zohar, the effort during the study of The Zohar, confusion and disturbances while studying The Zohar, and the importance of forming spiritual connections with others through the reading of The Zohar.
5) Watch Zohar Lessons for Beginners
Here are some recorded lessons on The Zohar with the participation of students from around the world, aimed more at beginners, so that you can experience a Zohar reading as it was originally intended: not as an individual undertaking, but as an act that takes place with others.
Zohar Reading, Genesis Part 1
Zohar Reading: How to Tap into the Infinite Force of the Hidden Book
How to Read the Zohar: Genesis, Part 2
Midnight Zohar Lesson with Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman
The Complete Zohar PDF Download
The Zohar in its original Aramaic language with the Hebrew Sulam (Ladder) commentary by Kabbalist Rabbi Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag (Baal HaSulam)
If you're looking for The Book of Zohar PDF or the wisdom of The Zohar PDF, then here it is in its original Aramaic language, with Hebrew commentary by Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag.
Click on each book image for download
Take The Right Steps To Approach The Zohar Properly
Before one approaches The Zohar, it is recommended to be firmly grounded in Kabbalah's fundamental principles
Without the proper grounding, one can very easily be led astray by The Zohar PDF, and instead of attaining spirituality, one will be led into all kinds of imaginary fantasies and stories.
For this reason, Bnei Baruch holds free courses to guide one's first steps to understanding Kabbalah's fundamental principles and how to approach Kabbalistic texts such as The Zohar.
We recommend taking such courses before approaching these texts in order to reap the most spiritual benefit out of them.
"But the wise shall understand that their elevation comes from the Creator, the Tree of Life. And they who are righteous shall shine like the brightness of the firmament" (Daniel 12:3) thanks to the book of Rabbi Shimon, which is The Book of Zohar, from the supernal force that brings all back to the Creator. In the future the children of Israel will taste from the Tree of Life, which is The Book of Zohar; they will leave the exile
with the Creator's mercy" (Naso 90).
"In the beginning Elokim created" (Elokim is the Creator's name that points to His attitude towards the souls by the force of law). This is when He thought and
initially created 13 words to surround the Community of Israel and guard it. Here they are: THE, HEAVEN, AND THE, EARTH, AND THE EARTH, WAS, WITHOUT FORM, AND VOID, AND DARKNESS, WAS UPON, THE FACE, OF THE DEEP, AND THE SPIRIT, up to the word Elokim. more...
"In the Beginning," Rabbi Shimon quoted the verse, "the flower buds appeared on the earth" (In Hebrew the words "country" and "earth" are designated by the same
word Aretz; Shir HaShirim 2:12). "The flower buds" refer to the act of creation. more...
And who is He? He is the opening of the eyes, which is the Malchut of the Rosh (head) of Arich Anpin. And you shall see that Atik is concealed and within it lies the answer to the question: WHO HAS CREATED THESE? WHO is called MI, ZAT de Bina, the highest boundary of heaven, and everything
depends on Him. Since the question lies in Him, He is concealed. He is called MI, because MI is when the question "Who?" is asked, because beyond him there lies no question. This question is only found at the highest boundary of heaven. more...
The heavens were
created by the name (property) MA (Malchut). However, the phrase
"above the heavens" refers to Bina, which is called MI, the
heavens that are above ZA. The explanation of this lies in the name of Elokim.
MA (Malchut) rises up, includes itself into Bina, and receives
its properties. Bina is called Elokim. more...
It is said that
when the Creator was about to create the world, all of the letters were still
hidden. For two thousand years before the creation of the world, the Creator
watched the letters and amused Himself with them. more...
The word BERESHEET consists of the words BARAH (created) and SHEET (six), meaning
that 6 properties were created. And who created them? He who is not mentioned;
He who is concealed and unknown, Arich Anpin. more...
There is a lock
with a tiny and narrow keyhole inside the gates. This lock is marked and known
only by the impression of the key. No one knows about it without having the
key. It is written about this secret, BERESHEET BARAHELOKIM - IN THE
BEGINNING THE CREATOR CREATED. "In the beginning" is the key in which
everything is hidden, as it unlocks and locks. more...
When did this key
unlock the gates, and prepare everything for the existence and development of
generations? This occurred when Abraham appeared, as he is the property
of Hesed (mercy), of which it is written: "These are the generations of
the heavens and of the earth Be-Ibar'am (with which He created)." more...
At the end of all
those gates, He set up a gate with many locks, many entrances, and many
chambers one on top of the other. He said, "Whoever wants to reach Me must
first pass through this gate. Whoever enters through this gate, may enter."
This is the first gate to supernal wisdom, the gate of the fear of the Creator,
which is Malchut. This is why it is called the "beginning." more...
Rabbi Shimon was
sitting and studying the Torah on the night when the Bride, Malchut, was
to be joined with her husband, Zeir Anpin. All the friends present in
the bridal chamber on that night, following the holiday of Shavuot, are
obliged to stand under the wedding canopy (Heb. Houppah) and rejoice in
the corrections of the Bride, i.e. study the Torah, the Prophets, Holy Writings
and finally the inner secrets of wisdom, for these are Her corrections (Heb. Tikkunim)
and adornments. more...
opened the discussion by saying, "In the beginning God created the heaven and
the earth." This verse has to be examined carefully because whoever claims that
there is another Creator will be wiped from the face of the world, as it is
written, "He who says that there is another Creator, will perish from the earth
and from heaven because there is no other Creator besides the Lord." more...
A philosopher of
a remote nation approached me, and said, "You claim that your Creator governs
the entire heavens, and all the heavenly hosts are not able to attain Him, nor
do they know His place. However, this verse does not add a lot to His
greatness, as it is written, ‘as among all the wise men of the nations, and in
all their kingdoms, there is none like You.' What kind of a comparison is this,
with a human being who is nothing?" more...
"An Essay About
Letters" is taken from the Preface to The Book of Zohar By Rabbi Shimon
Bar Yochai with the Sulam (Ladder) Commentary by Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag,
translated and edited by Rabbi Levy I. Krakovsky. more...