jewish magic and superstition pdf

Jewish Magic And Superstition Pdf

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Jewish Magic and Superstition

Jeremy Rosen is a graduate of Cambridge University in philosophy and studied at and received semikha from Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem. He has worked in the Orthodox rabbinate, Jewish education, and academia, and currently is the rabbi of the Persian Jewish community of Manhattan.

The Torah is quite clear in its condemnation of magic and superstition. So, too, is the Talmud and most certainly and explicitly, Maimonides. Magic, spells, and superstitions are universal and have been since the earliest record of human cultural activity. They are to be found throughout Jewish history and sources. In many respects, our present Jewish world seems to have regressed to the Middle Ages in its embrace of the paranormal.

Sometimes I wonder if there is any room in the world of Torah for rationalism anymore. Biblical Terminology. He will have consulted some kind of magic or oracle. There is even a Midrash that says that the rabbis agreed with Chaldean methods. Its root suggests lahash , to whisper or talk or even nahash , meaning a snake, with its hissing and slyness.

This is the word favored by Balaam when he was invited to curse the Children of Israel. When he realized that he could not countermand God he no longer returned to consult his nahashim. When the elders of Moab come to Balaam, they bring kessamim, carrying charms. Someone who uses charms is called a kossem.

The word kessem also means a stick—possibly the art of casting down sticks or wooden dice and reading their signs. In Egypt, Pharaoh had disturbing dreams and called upon his hartumim , commonly translated as magicians, to interpret them. Most scholars take the origin of the word to come from heret a stylus or engraver and so the hartumim could be those who interpreted texts, perhaps the scientists of those days.

When Moses met God at the burning bush, God used a variety of methods to persuade Moses to take on the assignment of going down to Egypt to get the Children of Israel out. There was a burning bush that did not burn up, a staff that turned into a snake, and an arm that turned leprous. We might have put all these down as miracles performed by God were it not for the fact that the Egyptian hartumim could, initially at any rate, imitate many of Moses's miracles, including the snake trick.

Another word that is used in connection with nahash is onen which might mean telling the future by reading the clouds since the word for cloud is identical , or it could come from another similar word ana for answering, replying with words to requests for information. Onen is used later in respect of the dead as well.

Then there is the word now commonly used for magic, kishuf , which indicates the ability to reveal secrets. There is another category that involves making something, either an effigy or raising up an image of someone. The words are ov and yidoni, and the Torah talks about not turning toward them for answers. Do not ask things of them. An ov might be an image, figurine, or effigy, and a yidoni might be a spirit or a less material form having some special knowledge given that yidoni has the same root y-d-a as the word for knowledge.

One can only assume it is a confidant or a private consultant on the affairs of the occult. It could also mean someone who has a special relationship with spirits or is on a higher level, like the honorific term later given to scholars haver. This looks like a very clear objection to magic, witchcraft, astrology, and the various pseudo-sciences that are just as prevalent today as they were 3, years ago.

In those days they were associated with idolatry. When it comes to the specific laws of the Torah, there are laws that deal with the penalties for magic and its allied areas. The death penalty as prescribed in the Bible was reserved only for the most serious and existential of threats and even so, rarely exercised.

And although the word is most commonly used of a female, it is also used of a male wizard. There are specific commands against individuals to try doing these things.

The implication is that one should accept God's instructions and no one else's. We have a clear indication that these practices were rooted in idolatry and the opposition is to the context as well as the act itself. The clearest evidence of the idolatrous context of these practices comes toward the end of the Torah:. When you come into the land which the Lord your God gives you, do not learn to do the abominations of those nations.

There should not be amongst you anyone who passes his son or daughter through fire, a charmer of charms, a reader of clouds, a fortune teller or a magician. A friendly fortune teller or someone who asks of an image or a spirit or asks of the dead. Because God despises anyone who does these things and it is because of these abominations that the Lord your God is driving them out before you.

You should be straight with the Lord your God. For these nations that you will displace, they listen to fortune tellers and charmers, but you should not do so.

Then the Torah goes on to talk about the prophet as the prototype of spiritual leadership and spiritual direction. He is the one the Israelites were instructed to turn to for advice and for help in dealing with the unknown, the frightening and the uncertainty of the future. And that was because he or she functioned within the constraints of Torah. Oracles were very much part of the ancient world, in Greece and Rome, using humans, animals, and inanimate objects.

The Bible approved of the oracle of the Urim and Tumim that were part of the breastplate of the High Priest. They were occasionally consulted before and during the First Temple period. Interestingly they were also called the ephod, which was as well the name for the basic priestly garment that was also used to describe idolatry objects. However, the Torah ordained that Urim and Tumim were a way of consulting God through the medium of the priest, rather than other forces.

And this was what differentiated them from other pagan forms of oracles. If the message comes from the One God, the vehicle of revelation may vary. A striking story involves King Saul. The spirit of Samuel does indeed appear to rise. This seems to indicate that magic in one form or another can achieve results. Yet it was clearly regarded as forbidden. The very name of Purim is based on what one assumes was a Persian word for the magic lots that Haman cast to determine the appropriate time to destroy the Jews.

In contrast, divine influence, even though hidden, is not obvious. This was an assertion of the superiority of the Jewish way of responding to challenges over the pagan way of feeling determined how to act and therefore more passive in the face of adversity. The Torah, interestingly, does not say that magic is baseless, empty, or primitive. Its instructions are simply not to get involved in it in any way that might have some influence or power over a person.

But clearly these practices were so ingrained and popular that they were all but impossible to wipe out as the history of both Israelite Kingdoms illustrate. The Talmudic Era. By the time of the Talmud, the serious debate centered more on astrology and mazal. There is also a major difference of opinion as to the extent to which the constellations or various forms of mazalot did or did not influence human behavior.

It was at the time a universally accepted idea that there were 12 signs of the Zodiac that were an integral part of the way God's universe was made up and influenced the natural and supernatural world. It was not until modernity that such an idea transitioned from science to superstition.

The term mazal , initially meant no more than the constellations. At some stage, the role changed into one of determining the future in ways bound up with magic and other non-rational esoteric practices. They consulted the stars signs of the Zodiac , magicians who look at birds and those expert in reading signs. In the creation process described in Genesis, there is no mention of mazalot. The Torah talks about the sun, the moon, and the stars.

But by the Second Book of Kings there is one passage where mazalot replace the stars. This may be why Balaam thought they had no impact on the Israelites. But the Talmud is happy associating Abraham with astrology. God took him outside and showed him the heavens and said to him 'Ignore your astrology; mazal has no power over Israel. The main discussion on mazal in the Talmud above, has R. Yohanan, Rav, R. Yehuda, R. Nahman Bar Yitzhak, R.

Akiva, and Shemuel all agree with different sources that mazal has no power over Jews. On the other hand, R. Hanina says there that both wisdom and wealth are influenced by mazal and that every hour of the day has its mazal exercising control over it.

If a person suddenly feels frightened, it may be because although he hasn't seen anything dangerous, his mazal has. But the Talmud responds by saying that the answer is to say the Shema.

In other words, having a direct connection to God is a protection against any sub-divine powers or influences. The compromise position is that mazalot exist and have influence. But God controls everything.

Initially a bad eye meant only an attitude, a way of looking at the world negatively. The Hebrew Beli Ayin Hara and the Yiddish expression kenayinhora , may there be no evil eye, are widespread among some Jews…as if just looking at another person really can do harm.

Despite the illogicality of it, the Talmud refers a great deal to its negative effects. For example, there is reference to Joseph protecting one from the evil eye based on a verse in the Bible [14] that Joseph is pleasing to the eye which can be mistranslated as overcoming the evil eye.

The very concept that a random look or putting a hex on someone can affect a person defies logic. But then logic and superstition are opposite poles. People who feel they are cursed can find it turning into is a self-fulfilling source of anxiety.

Jewish Magic and Superstition

A JPS bestseller, this is the definitive work of scholarship on the medieval conception of the Jew as devil-literally and figuratively. Through documents, analysis, and illustrations, the book exposes the full spectrum of the Jew's demonization as Du kanske gillar. We're Friends, Right? Spara som favorit. Skickas inom vardagar. Laddas ned direkt.

Jewish Magic and Superstition: A Study in Folk Religion

Available in PDF, epub, and Kindle ebook. This book has pages in the PDF version, and was originally published in Jewish Magic and Superstition is a comprehensive review of Jewish magic from the 10th to the 15th century.

A classic treatise, available now for the first time in paperback, on the folk beliefs of the Jews, with a new introduction by arguably the most important contemporary scholar of Jewish mysticism. EN English Deutsch. Your documents are now available to view.

In the background of what has become known as ceremonial magic is medieval Jewish magic. In turn this was based on the Kabbalah, the Jewish traditions known as Haggadah, and other esoteric beliefs. This is a comprehensive review of Jewish magic from the 10th to the 15th century, including a rich lode of folklore.

By Joshua Trachtenberg and Moshe Idel. Alongside the formal development of Judaism from the eleventh through the sixteenth centuries, a robust Jewish folk religion flourished—ideas and practices that never met with wholehearted approval by religious leaders yet enjoyed such wide popularity that they could not be altogether excluded from the religion. According to Joshua Trachtenberg, it is not possible truly to understand the experience and history of the Jewish people without attempting to recover their folklife and beliefs from centuries past. Jewish Magic and Superstition is a masterful and utterly fascinating exploration of religious forms that have all but disappeared yet persist in the imagination. The volume begins with legends of Jewish sorcery and proceeds to discuss beliefs about the evil eye, spirits of the dead, powers of good, the famous legend of the golem, procedures for casting spells, the use of gems and amulets, how to battle spirits, the ritual of circumcision, herbal folk remedies, fortune telling, astrology, and the interpretation of dreams.

Беккер достал из кармана бумажник. - Конечно, я буду счастлив тебе заплатить.  - И он начал отсчитывать купюры.

ИСТЕКШЕЕ ВРЕМЯ: 15:17:21 - Пятнадцать часов семнадцать минут? - Он не верил своим глазам.  - Это невозможно.

Капля Росы. Очевидно, она перевела свое имя на единственный язык, равно доступный ей и ее клиенту, - английский. Возбужденный, Беккер ускорил шаги в поисках телефона. По другой стороне улицы, оставаясь невидимым, шел человек в очках в тонкой металлической оправе. ГЛАВА 27 Тени в зале шифровалки начали удлиняться и терять четкость.

Так он и. Очередь из десяти человек, толкотня и крик. Испания не славится эффективностью бюрократического аппарата, и Беккер понял, что ему придется простоять здесь всю ночь, чтобы получить информацию о канадце. За конторкой сидела только одна секретарша, норовившая избавиться от назойливых пациентов.

Сьюзан не могла поверить, что это сказал человек, двадцать семь лет работавший с шифрами. - Не поддается, сэр? - с трудом произнесла.  - А как же принцип Бергофского. О принципе Бергофского Сьюзан узнала еще в самом начале своей карьеры.

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