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Zohar: The Hebrew Goddess



Meets on

Sundays at 9am PT/12 noon ET

About the Class

The anonymous author of the latest layer of the Zohar, Tikkunei Hazohar, transmitted to us a series of visions of Y-H-V-H as a radiant Goddess. In these visions, the author offers visual descriptions of the divine body, such as the Goddess' head, hair, eyes, mouth, neck, chest, hands, legs and feet. The description alternates between two dimensions of time: The past in which She was exiled and downtrodden. And the redeemed present, in which She is revealed in all Her glory. In historical reality, the author of the text lived in medieval Spain; a time of exile. But s/he was able to access a dimension of time beyond history, an eternal present - the 'place' where historical time transpires - in which the Goddess is always fully manifest.

Tikkunei Zohar's visions of the Goddess are not only a departure from patriarchal depictions of God, they also offer a radical critique of earlier layers in the Zohar, in which the divine feminine is associated with passive and receptive qualities of the divine. In Tikkunei Zohar, all the powers of divinity are manifest in the Goddess, including those associated with the masculine. For example, in one passage, the masculine aspect of God known as Tsaddik is Her tongue.

We live in days of brokenness and exile, like the author of Tikkunei Hazohar. But unlike the author and for the first time in thousands of years, we also live in an era of Jewish power, in which we are witness to Jewish identity and tradition weaponized to dehumanize, oppress and murder. We need the redemptive visions of the Zohar, and also a mode in which to critically engage Jewish tradition. In this course, we will enter the critical and redemptive space opened up by Tikkunei Hazohar, to share in the revelation of Y-H-V-H as the Hebrew Goddess, in the eternal now, the time of Her redemption.


Your Teacher

Shaiya Rothberg

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Shaiya Rothberg (he/him) teaches Kabbalah and Jewish Thought in Jerusalem Al-Quds. He holds a PhD in Jewish Thought from Hebrew U and a BA in Jewish Thought and Talmud from Bar Ilan University. Shaiya is mostly interested in the transformative potential of Jewish symbols for spiritual life and for social justice. He grew up in New Jersey and moved to Israel in 1988. In his extra time, he likes to hang out at home with his family.

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