Updated : May 10, 2020 in Personal Growth


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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Its debut was made in Sefer Raziel, u which, while largely ascribed to Eleazar of Worms, drew extensively upon Geonic mystic sources.

Full text of “Jewish Magic And Superstition: A Study in Folk Religion”

Similarly garlic, or onions, or spuerstition which have been peeled and left overnight are no longer fit for consumption. It would be extravagant to assert that the endless procession of angelic names with which Sefer Raziel, for example, regales us had any real relation to the angels themselves, or that it evoked in its medieval readers visions of definite creatures.

The second is the type the Germans denote with the words berujen or beschreien. Anna C Bell rated it it was amazing Nov 30, The effort to decipher them is pointless. The only remedy in such a case is to move far away, where the demons who have been provoked by the intrusion cannot get at them. But the scholarly and pious character of the student of mysticism and the anr religious nature of Jewish magic ensured a minimum of misuse of this lore.

Nor was it unknown for spirits to put in an appearance among jeish living during the daytime. An angel executing a decree of sickness or death might visit it suprstition the first who answered to the designated name.

Some Demon lore came from the Germans.

Kuzriel rated it liked it Mar 21, Joel proceeded to deliver himself of his most terrifying exorcisms. Shalom, who came to Barcelona from Germany ttrachtenbergremarked, the law of destruction is nothing more than a reversal of the law of creation.

The line of development of this type of Lilit from the rabbinic concept is not altogether clear. The demons, on the other hand, invested with all the fearsome potencies that a still primitive, animistic folk-imagination could conjure up, were equally capable of making the fame and fortune of those who could exert a magic power over them.


For one thing, the literature paints Jewish magic and its practitioners in totally different colors.

This spirit mediation, which distinguished the later from the more primitive magic, was also recognized by some Christians. The ease with which they become something else a few pages further on shows that they cannot have meant much, if anything, to the compiler of that work.

Jewish Magic and Superstition: A Study in Folk Religion

An undertaker in Worms, coming to the synagogue one morning, recognized on the steps of the building a man whom he had recently buried. So it is that the demons have no bodies, but are constituted wholly of spirit. They were known even to invade the synagogue. Still a further variation upon this motif transferred the prohibition to Friday evening, the explanation given being that the souls of the wicked, immediately on their release, plunge into the streams to cool off.

The Name has swallowed up the Angel. So onerous did these recurrent accusations become that the rabbis of the Middle Ages found it necessary—forced to this step, no doubt, by Jewish public opinion—to suspend some of these customs.

Searching out the secret springs of the universe, the mystic brings to light awesome and puissant truths, which his more practical and brazen confidants feel promptly impelled to profane for their own greater glory and might. The terms most frequently met with are those made familiar in the ancient literature of the Jews: Ed Fagan rated it liked it May 17, Better far to confess and be absolved than to face the wrath of his spirit. Today you would never know but back in Medieval Germany and Northern Europe Jews were feared as sorcerers and magicians.

Prior to the inception of the Inquisition in the thirteenth century, excesses attributed to sorcery had been punished by the secular authorities simply as criminal acts.


The latter was preferred by the weight of tradition, and during the Middle Ages Ps.

Therefore amulets are written and names spoken, to aid the magc in these matters. The archangels are also brought into connection with the signs of the Zodiac. Demons were believed to be the active agents in malevolent sorcery. If a Jewish doctor healed someone he ran risk because if the person dies he would be accused of poisoning that person. I command this upon you with a curse and with an oath, now and forever. In Jewish belief the eight days after birth were equally fraught with peril.

It achieved a wide popularity very rapidly, was employed in many invocations and charms as an especially potent name, and in the seventeenth century it was introduced into the ritual of the synagogue, in a prayer which was attached to the reading of the Priestly Benediction.

When the Church undertook to stamp out sorcery it branded its practitioners as devil-worshiping anti- Christians. For each day and time a different angel or arch angel was assigned and those name could be changed. Nothing is hidden from the spirits, though naturally they are most interested in matters that affect themselves. Very comprehensive, but lightened by the author’s sense of humor.

Lists with This Book.

Forever after he suffered intense pain in that spot. Its Jewish archetype is found in the Talmudic spell against the demon Shabriri, which runs: Between Ecstasy and Magic.

But jewsh best illustration of this process is the role which sacred Scriptures play in magic the world over. That it was regarded as a magical device by Christians we know, for a fifteenth-century writer admonished his readers to affix a mezuzah to their doors even when they occupied a house owned by a non-Jew, despite the fact that the landlord might accuse them of sorcery.