In the Ashkenazi community of Eastern Europe, religious authorities including the Vilna Gaon (d.1797) and Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi (d.1812) (The Baal Ha Tanya) believed in the authenticity of the Zohar.The influence of the Zohar and the Kabbalah in Yemen, where it was introduced in the 17th century, contributed to the formation of the Dor Deah movement, led by Rabbi Yiḥyeh Qafeḥ in the later part of the 19th century, whose adherents believed that the core beliefs of Judaism were rapidly diminishing in favor of the mysticism of the Kabbalah.the woman's alleged confession in favor of the testimony of Joseph ben Todros and of Jacob, a pupil of Moses de León, both of whom assured him on oath that the work was not written by de Leon.Issac's testimony, which appeared in the first edition (1566) of Sefer Yuchasin, was censored from the second edition (1580) Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan notes that Isaac evidently did not believe her since Isaac quotes the Zohar was authored by Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai in a manuscript in Rabbi Kaplan's possession.This leads him to hypothesize that Moses de León's wife sold the original manuscript, as parchment was very valuable, and was embarrassed by the realization of its high ancient worth, leading her to claim it was written by her husband.
The Zohar contains discussions of the nature of God, the origin and structure of the universe, the nature of souls, redemption, the relationship of Ego to Darkness and "true self" to "The Light of God", and the relationship between the "universal energy" and man.
It appears again in Daniel 12:3, "Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens".
Suspicions aroused by the facts that the Zohar was discovered by one person and that it refers to historical events of the post-Talmudic period while purporting to be from an earlier time, caused the authorship to be questioned from the outset.
There are people of religions besides Judaism, or even those without religious affiliation, who delve in the Zohar out of curiosity, or as a technology for seeking meaningful and practical answers about the meaning of their lives, the purpose of creation and existence and their relationships with the laws of nature, the purpose of the Zohar is to help the Jewish people through and out of the Exile and to infuse the Torah and mitzvot (Judaic commandments) with the wisdom of Moses de León's Kabbalah for its Jewish readers.
In the Bible, the word "Zohar" appears in the vision of Ezekiel 8:2 and is usually translated as meaning radiance or light.