What is the Zohar?
The Zohar, revealed to the world in medieval Spain, is the fascinating text at the heart of Kabbalah. Here is a brief book about the Zohar and its study: ZoharIntroductoryCourse.
Most of the Zohar is now available in an excellent English translation by Daniel Matt, see this link and this discussion of the Zohar in English. But like any work of literature it is best read in its original language. This website is to help anyone who would like to try to read the Zohar in its particular language, a kind of Aramaic, with or without the help of a translation.
The Aramaic language is closely related to Hebrew, and Jewish Aramaic texts like the Zohar are written in the same alphabet that is used for Hebrew. Here is the Aramaic/Hebrew alphabet (aleph-bet), read from right to left:
א ב ג ד ה ו ז ח ט י כ ל מ נ ס ע פ צ ק ר ש ת
If you do not happen to know Hebrew, you should start by learning this alphabet as well as the various lines and dots used to indicate vowel sounds, and getting used to reading right to left. There are various Jewish traditions of pronouncing Aramaic and Hebrew; we recommend a relatively simple pronunciation along the lines of modern Israeli Hebrew.
Here is a lesson booklet on this topic. If you use this booklet (a 59-page pdf file) please let us know how it goes and if you have any suggestions.
And here are some other interesting on-line resources; if you use them, or find others of interest, let us know.
The rest of the resources on this website build on these basics to teach some of the core vocabulary and grammar of the Zohar’s Aramaic. We can also offer personal lessons, see “tutoring/donations“.