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 Angels name changed according to the name that it was given. Petitions were often addressed to heaven by way of the intervening angels. The Lilin which were succubae and incubi made love to people and drank their blood. This is a common practice among us German Tews.

In the Rhineland, inmagc 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 jweish this period such items were part of the regular stock in trade of Jewish merchants. Verily he erred in this matter, for they were ever at his side. But it is possible to trace with some degree of certainty various extraneous influences which also contributed to such a development within Judaism.

Jewish Magic and Superstition: A Study in Folk Religion

Yet, however solicitously these precautions were observed, it was not without some misgivings about their respectability. Rabbinic Judaism was acquainted with both aspects ol the evil eye. A medieval legend relates that a demon which had laid plans to enter the body of a certain pious rabbi transformed itself into a hair, which the rabbi was expected to swallow with his food. Two main types of forbidden magic were distinguished: 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.


A father leading his child to school for the first time took the precaution to screen him with his cloak. If the new house is on the site of an old one the builder must be careful to place the windows and doors in the same positions they formerly occupied, for the local demons whose habits have become fixed, are bound not to be enamored of the innovations.

Jewish Magic and Superstition Index

Louis Margolis, who so graciously assumed the heavy burden of preparing the index; and to the members of my congregation, Brith Shalom, of Easton, Pennsylvania, who provided me with the leisure to skperstition this work, and ensured its publication.

This is why, Sefer Hasidim counsels, one should not live among people given to cursing. For Christians the Devil was a big deal for the Jews he was a mere after thought.

Lots of Hebrew that is not translated. Since the sources by and large are not in English that could be a bit of a draw back.

An effort at schemati- zation, which produced a list of ten categories of demons to balance a similar angelic list, introduced seven additional terms, which found little place in the general literature. Satan had seated himself inside the horn and had impeded its call until dislodged by the charm! Properly used the term denotes the vast theosophical system elaborated in Southern Europe during the Middle Ages on the basis of ancient tradition.

Apparently the spirit world recognized superstitkon different principle than did the human. In theory, of course, the memunim were angels, and as such inherited all the angelic attributes of form and character and function which had been delineated in the ancient literature. Talmudic tradition, however, provided the clew which was followed in the Middle Ages.

Jewish Magic and Superstition: A Study in Folk Religion – Joshua Trachtenberg – Google Books

Phrases superstitipn are capable of being lead alike in either direction were especially highly prized. The Jewish people got most of their anti witch prejudice from the surrounding Christians. There were others as well.


These secular cognomens usually correspond in one way or another to the Hebrew, whether as colloquial forms or translations, or related only by sound or appearance. Jordan Weiss rated it it was amazing Sep 11, Jews were not allowed to practice magic that transformed the very nature of things. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.

Gnosticism, the Greek magical papyri, early Christian mysticism, all display a striking efflorescence of this eclectic magic at superstittion same time: Amos Vos rated it really liked it Jun 01, It is difficult, of course, to judge the emotional tone, the intensity of the terror which the medieval Jew experienced in braving such a demon- ridden world.

Similar phrases are in use all over the world.

This terrifying belief was especially widespread in later Jewish life. The injunction of Deut. Annually, if we are to believe the reports, they would fashion from wax an image of the founder of Christianity, and by their magic art transmit through this image to its model and ejwish followers the pangs and tortures they visited upon it.

The Hebrew of the Bible and the prayers, while familiar to jewksh Jews, was not the vernacular; nor did the Talmud, which so strongly colored Jewish life, provide Jewry with a spoken tongue.

They were called upon to perform every sort of function imaginable, usually in conjunction with lesser assistants.

sulerstition The purpose was to capitalize the mystery of the bizarre and unfamiliar, and the power that is associated with the ability to reverse the natural older of things.