chapter  4
Theosophic Torah
A kabbalist theory of justice
WithEhud Benor
Pages 55

The chapter explains how The Zohar achieved a thorough cosmicization of the Torah – revealing an esoteric, theosophic text hidden behind the veil of the semantics, the narratives, and the ordinances of the public text – by reciprocal mapping onto each other of categories of the moral-psychological (love and anger), the logical (affirmation and negation), the metaphysical (form and matter), and the biological (male and female). In so doing, The Zohar transformed the principles of the rabbinic moral psychology of obedience into a theosophic, cosmological, and historiosophical knowledge of the place of Jews in the universe, and the responsibilities they have for its well-being. The Zohar secures a Jewish cosmopolis by means of a theory of the magical effects through which Halakha enables Jews to fulfill their responsibility to maintain the universe and to secure its optimal health. While the cosmological aspects of kabbalist thought are generally recognized, its theory of justice is not. The chapter remedies that by identifying a Zoharic natural history of anger, on the basis of which justice is understood as an ad hoc unstable balance between perfectionist restrictiveness and gracious permissiveness, and demonic evil is understood as self-righteous, narcissistic violence, which is hidden in the depth of justice.