Rabbi Jacob Emden (1697–1779) was an important rabbi and scholar in the area of Hamburg. One of his works, Mitpaḥat Sefarim (“Book Cloth,” Altona, 1768), is a critique of the Zohar (“Book of Splendor”), a canonical Jewish mystical text attributed to the ancient scholar Rabbi Shimon bar Yoḥai (ca. 2nd cent. CE). In Mitpaḥat Sefarim, Emden casts doubt upon the Zohar’s provenance, authorship, and age. This critique has led some to identify Emden with the early beginnings of the Haskalah, the Jewish Enlightenment, as an opponent of mysticism. However, Emden took mystical sources very seriously, both in the spiritual realm, and, as this article shows, even in his writings on religious law. This article examines the perceived contradiction in Emden’s thinking, and proposes a view of Emden as an early modern printer and critic with a unique perspective, rather than a confused precursor of modern ideas.