How Can a Soul Sin?! (Zohar)

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I like the naive shock in the Zohar. Commenting on the verse “If a soul sins” (Lev. 5:1), the Torah is astonished (astonished!) that a soul could sin. Before its descent into the world, the soul stands before the King in a garment in the image of this world. She is passed through 1,008,000 worlds to see and to delight in the glory of those who engage in Torah. She inhabits the Garden for 30 days to see the glory of the spirits of the righteous. And then she descends into the world, delving into darkness. All this glory and all this perfection bestowed upon her. How can it be that a soul sins? (Zohar 3:13a-b)

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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