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Jewish Magic and Superstition, by Joshua Trachtenberg, [], full text etext at Rabbi Joshua Trachtenberg, in his defensive yet illuminating book, writing of the age-long reputation of jews as practitioners of black magic and. From Sefer Raziel, Amsterdam, i7 JOSHUA TRACHTENBERG JEWISH MAGIC AND SUPERSTITION A Study in Folk Religion Submitted in partial fulfillment.

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The line of development of this type of Lilit from the rabbinic concept is not altogether clear. The simple act, by the rule of sympathy, produces its parallel effect. Geonic mysticism opened the portals to a higher wisdom—and a more potent magic.

A house or a city in which children die young, a family that has been frequently bereaved, a woman whose husbands do not survive, supetstition must be avoided like the pest.

Most efficacious of all, in this respect, were the portions of the Torah which mwgic the sacrificial offerings; regular study of them in their mystical sense, which constitutes an effective substitute for the actual sacrifices, produces wondrous rewards.

The books is a bit academic in nature so can be pretty dry reading.

Jewish Magic And Superstition: A Study in Folk Religion

It would be the height of rashness to saddle a youngster with a name whose owners have been unfortunate, or have died young, or have been murdered. Between Ecstasy and Magic. Its only common use seems to have been in forcing thieves to return stolen objects.

Miriam rated it it was amazing Aug 29, As a later writer naively put it: Anyone who trespasses upon their meeting place is likely to suffer grave harm. According to some, it was the prevalence of superstition and magic among the Jews that delayed the redemption of Israel from exile. Its debut was made in Sefer Raziel, u which, while largely ascribed to Eleazar of Worms, drew extensively upon Geonic mystic sources.

Jewish Magic and Superstition | Joshua Trachtenberg, Moshe Idel

Trachtenberg primarily relied on merely a handful of sources, Sefer Hasidim being the most primary. The Gnostic-Manichasan heresies that had plagued the Church since the tenth century had sown widely and deeply in Christian circles the seed of ancient mystical lore. magiv


He realized at once that these were no ordinary men, but demons. A scholarly but not dry intro to many of the magical beliefs of the Jewish people.

Many of them have specific functions or fields of activity, and the orders which fall within their scope are of course assigned to them. Briah Bat rated it liked it Oct 01, In the Rhineland, inwe learn of Jews dealing in various drugs and salves, and since the exotic elements of the medieval pharmacopoeia were imported from the East, we may surmise that during this period such items were part of the regular stock in trade of Jewish merchants. The account bears extended retelling, both for its intrinsic interest and for the light it sheds upon the beliefs of that and the preceding centuries.

As we have seen, even the term Tetragrammaton assumed the power of the name itself. Now that this man and his human heirs are all dead, contended the advocate, we, his spirit children, remain his sole heirs and lay claim to this house.

Jewish Magic and Superstition: A Study in Folk Religion

The figures vary from a mere few hundred thousand all the way up tomyriads—and these are only partial estimates. Demons who have taken possession of a human body exercise such complete control over it trachtenbeerg the personality and the will of the victim are extinguished.

It is of interest to inquire why none of them acquired a specialized sense in our period, to single out those differentiated demonic types which people the folklore of all nations. The intensification of the religious spirit that had proceeded through the intervening centuries produced a feeling that the demons had no proper place within Judaism, though they could not be ousted and the widespread fear of them persisted. With the consent of God and of His celestial and terrestrial menage, let them all be null and void, like unto a clay vessel that has been shattered.

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.

To be sure the details of magical practice are too hoary and universal to admit of fundamental modification. Some there were who forbade these practices altogether: For one thing, the literature paints Jewish magic and its practitioners in totally different colors. A little dated at times especially as applies to non-Jewish terms–Mohammedan, really?!?! And sometimes the spirits performed holy labors too, as when they impressed upon R.


Frequently the root term seems to have been chosen at random, having no apparent relation to the function of the angel as given, though it is likely that at the time of the creation of such names the word employed was intended to indicate the angelic character.

The Palestinian sources, and in particular the Mishna, know the evil eye only as an expression of the moral powers of envy and hatred.

Some way out of this dilemma was ardently desired, and a formula was devised to meet this need: We hear rather often of Jewish trade in drugs, throughout the Germanic lands. The rabbis of the Talmud had long since postulated certain demonic attributes which remained constant during the Middle Ages.

Anna C Bell rated it it was amazing Nov 30, In the practice of medieval Jewish magic it assumed more than academic importance. This view found its rationalization in the legend that the demons, created on the eve of the Sabbath, are bodiless.

Finally, the position of the angels in heaven made accessible to them the founts of mystic lore; they were the source of that secret wisdom to which the mystic aspired. But drugs and poisons were almost synonymous terms to the medieval mind—and to the equation we may add sorcery as well.

The Powers Of Good. TL7 rated it really liked it Sep 18, Jewish magic, to the contrary, functioned within the framework of the Jewish religion, which naturally excluded any such association, real or fancied, with the arch-opponent of God. In Greek circles these Hebrew letters, yod he yod he, were not recognized as such, but read as the Greek letters, aim. Ariel rated it it was amazing Sep 07,