Rabbi Yehudah Yudl Rosenberg zt’l
Here is an interesting blog post. It makes mention of a distinguished Rabbi who lived in my little neighborhood of Baldwin Village Toronto approximately one hundred years ago before establishing himself in Montreal. He translated much of the Zohar from Aramaic into Hebrew and was a champion of Jewish education:
The good of the community of Israel will arise through the study of the holy Zohar. We cannot say that that [redemption] depends upon [the study of the Zohar by] the great ones of the generation alone. For there will yet come a new revelation [of Zohar] to the masses of Israel… who will taste of the Tree of Life (Rabbi Yehudah Yudl Rosenberg, Zohar Torah ) [cf. Isaiah 5:13: My people are gone into captivity, for lack of knowledge; BT Shabbat 119b; Zohar 3:124b (RM): “Because [the people of] Israel are destined to taste of this Tree of Life, namely this Sefer ha-Zohar, they will thereby come forth from exile through (divine) compassion”].
In the later part of 1905, Rabbi Rosenberg published Sha’arei Zohar Torah (Warsaw), in which he organizes verses of Torah together with the numerous profound interpretations of Zohar. In this work Rabbi Rosenberg completed the first of the five books of Torah. He also wrote a commentary entitled Ziv ha-Zohar, which elucidates difficult sections of Zohar. This work evoked controversy in the rabbinic world due to the belief that Zohar should not be translated from the original Aramaic (cf. Zohar 1:9a-10a; 2:129b, 132b) thus the Radziner Rebbe, Mordeḥai Yosef El’azar Leiner (1865-1929), declined to give Rabbi Rosenberg an approbation. Indeed, it was for this reason many rabbis declined to give their approbation as well. Nevertheless, Rabbi Rosenberg didn’t give up. He was successful in gaining approbations from certain famous rabbis and Ḥasidic rebbes, including Ḥakham Ḥayyim Ḥizkiyahu Medini, the famous Sephardic scholar, Rav of Hebron, Israel, and the author of the encyclopedic work, Sedai Ḥemed. Ḥakham Medini was one of the first to give him an approbation, agreeing with the author that it was much better to understand the Zohar rather than reciting it without understanding a single word (the authenticity of this approbation, however, has been called into question).