Originally posted on The Nut Garden:
Here is an interesting blog post. It makes mention of a Mekubal who lived in my little neighborhood of 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 [My people are gone into captivity, for lack of knowledge (Isaiah 5:13), cf. BT Shabbat 119b]. “The good of the community of Israel will arise through the study of the Zohar. We cannot say that that [salvation] depends upon [the study of the Zohar by] the great ones of the generation alone. For there will yet come a new revelation [of the Zohar] to masses of Israel… who will taste of the Tree of Life” (Zohar Torah, Montreal 1927 quoted in Ira Robinson see comment below for citation).
In the later part of 1905, Rav Rosenberg published Sha’arei Zohar Torah (Warsaw), where he organized the verses of the Torah together with the Zohar, translating the section of Zohar from Aramaic into Hebrew. In this publication, Rav Rosenberg was able to complete the first of the five books of the Torah. Rav Rosenberg also had a commentary entitled Ziv ha-Zohar, which was an attempt to explain some difficult sections of the Zohar. This work evoked controversy in the Rabbinic world due to the fact that they thought that the Zohar should not be translated from the original Aramaic. The Radziner Rebbe, Mordechai Yosef Elozer Leiner (1865-1929), declined to give Rav Rosenberg an approbation on this work. For this reason, several Rabbis declined to give their approbation on the translation of the Zohar.
Nevertheless, Rav Rosenberg did not stop. After much toil, he was successful in gaining approbations from certain famous Rabbis and Hasidic Rebbes, including Rav Chaim Chizkiyahu Medini, the famous Sephardic Rabbi, who was then Rabbi in Chevorn, Israel, and author of the encyclopedia work, the Sedai Chemed. Rav Medini was one of the first that gave 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.