Wrath in the World (Evil According to the Zohar)

sitra achra

At the very end of the commentary on Exodus, the Zohar turns its attention to the flow and force of evil in the world. The demonic point has no color, and it does not exist. It expands out, to the right and to the left, the force of shadow combining with Death, Samael and Lilith, radiating gold as it descends into the world as anger, killing, wounding blows upon blows, fierce wrath after wrath, one riding the other, and unabated rage. In the Zohar, evil is religious. It’s form  is force of relentless judgment let loose in the world, the chasing after human beings to judge them for the sins that they conceal, this running to inflict injury. The final word of the commentary to Exodus is to recommend that we keep away from all this. What matters most to the zoharic authors would be the opposite, the binding up of units of force together in order to convey blessing and mystical peace. (Zohar, 2:242b-44b)

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish though and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
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