Interpretation as (re)creation

The word for recreation in Daniel Matt’s translation of Zohar 1.4b-5a is ‘innovation’; an innovated word of wisdom is ‘a new mystical insight, which rises higher than other new interpretations’ of Torah (ZP I.25). Here the meaning cycle takes the form of ascending and descending.

The moment a new word of Torah originates from the mouth of a human being, that word ascends and presents herself before the blessed Holy One, who lifts that word, kisses her, and adorns her with seventy crowns—engraved and inscribed. But an innovated word of wisdom …

The word flies, ascending and descending, and is transformed into a heaven. So each and every word of wisdom is transformed into a heaven, existing enduringly in the presence of the Ancient of Days. He calls them new heavens, newly created heavens, hidden mysteries of supernal wisdom. As for all other innovated words of Torah, they stand before the blessed Holy One, then ascend and are transformed into earths of the living (Psalms 116:9). Then they descend, crowning themselves upon one earth, which is renewed and transformed into a new earth through that renewed word of Torah. Concerning this is written: As the new heavens and new earth that I am making endure before Me.… (Isaiah 66:22). The verse does not read I have made, but rather I am making, for he makes them continually out of those innovations and mysteries of Torah.

Zohar 1.4b-5a (Pritzker edition)

The term ‘innovation’ here is not meant to suggest fanciful or frivolous interpretations; rather, the true student of Torah will imitate the procedure of the blessed Holy One in creating the world: ‘He gazed upon her [Torah] once, twice, three and four times, then spoke, creating through her’ (Zohar 1.5a).

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