Sefer HaZohar by the Holy Tanna Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai
Printed and edited based on ancient manuscripts with marginal references.
Glowing with the Radiance of the Heavens…
“These are Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and his colleagues…who glow with the radiance of the heavens. When they composed this work, the heavens awarded their consent, and they called it Sefer HaZohar” (Tikkunei HaZohar p. 17).
The great kabbalists of the generation regarded the publishing and dissemination of this work to the masses as a heavenly sign heralding the redemption of the Jewish people from exile. “And it shall be for us as a shield in these dreadful generations, to grasp with a full heart onto our Father in heaven” (Preface of Harav Chaim Vital to Eitz Chaim).
It is intriguing to note that in the very same year that the kabbalists assented to the publication and dissemination of Sefer HaZohar, two printing houses in two Italian cities (Cremona and Mantua) commenced the work of publishing it simultaneously.
The Cremona Edition of Sefer HaZohar was printed in large format, whereas the publishing house in Mantua printed it in a smaller format. To distinguish between the two, the Cremona Edition was referred to as the ‘Large Zohar’ and the Mantua Edition ‘Small Zohar’.
The Mantua Edition of Sefer HaZohar was dispatched to Eretz Yisrael where it was studied in depth by the Arizal and his disciples, as well as by many famed Italian kabbalists. The Cremona Edition, in contrast, was sent primarily to Europe where numerous Ashkenazic Torah luminaries, as the Rema, etc authored commentaries upon it.
Unsurprisingly, there are numerous textual differences between the two editions of Zohar.
Cremona, 1559-1560. First edition.
Bereishis: 132 leaves; Shemos: 122 leaves; Vayikrah-Devarim: 146 leaves. Page size: 29.5 cm. Two columns of block letters.
Title page features impressive architectural design. Good condition! Very rare!
Stefansky Sifrei Yesod—Classic #325
Benayahu, Hebrew Press of Cremona. P. 206, 118-139.
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