Answer: The Book of Zohar could not be found on library shelves and it was forbidden to keep it in the open. This Book was revealed for the first time when the wife of one of the Kabbalists brought some food home from the market wrapped in paper. By chance the Kabbalist noticed that the papers were pages from The Book of Zohar and was astonished.
I did not witness that, of course, but I can imagine his reaction. After all, this is a revelation of the upper world in our world. I don’t know how one can experience such a state!
When that Kabbalist saw that the text contained secret Kabbalistic symbols, he immediately ran to the market to collect all the pages that were already in the garbage. When he began to sew the pages together and to connect them, he did manage to make them into a book, but it was not complete. It was clear that the book contained about a hundred volumes and he had only three.
That Kabbalist kept the book for a while and then it was passed on from one Kabbalist to another, from teacher to student, as one unique copy, until one of the Kabbalists named Rabbi Moshe de Leon, (meaning from the Spanish city of Leon where he lived) passed away in the 13th century. His widow, who did not know what it was and who had nothing to live on, sold the manuscript to a second-hand dealer.
The dealer realized that he could make great profit from it. He hired people to make copies of the book and he began to sell them, and so the dissemination of The Book of Zohar began. The writing of The Book of Zohar had been attributed to Rabbi Moshe de Leon for a long time until it was discovered that Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai had written it together with his students, not someone else. Then of course, its price rose dramatically.
However, it was still very difficult to read because it was hard to understand. Many commentaries were written about it and minor additions were made to it, but no one took them seriously because none of them were on the level of The Book of Zohar itself.
It was only in the 20th century, when humanity began the state that would bring it to its correction and the time had come for the widespread revelation of The Book of Zohar, that a great Kabbalist called Baal HaSulam emerged and wrote a deep and powerful commentary on it that we use today. A commentary is a certain conveyance of the meaning of The Book of Zohar so that people who are on the initial spiritual levels or even below that will be able to understand it.
Question: Is the fact that part of The Book of Zohar was lost a correction or a flaw? Is it perhaps enough that it was written and that there is no need to read the volumes that were lost, as also happened with the writings of Baal HaSulam?
Answer: What we have now is enough for the time being. Later, more will be revealed. We don’t know what wonderful special revelations are yet to come.
From the Kabbalah Lesson in Russian 2/5/17