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

The medieval mystics, however, possessed a tradition according to which this name is derived from the first forty-two letters in the Bible. There is also a short glossary, so if you are having trouble telling the difference between a Kaddish and a Kiddush, you’re in luck.

The records of the early accusations are meaningless unless viewed against the background of medieval superstition. This book contains many quotations in Hebrew.

The symbolic interment and rebirth freed her from the misfortune that was her lot in what had now become her previous existence. His numerous publications include Kabbalah: Sefer Raziel contains two examples of this formula, one involving the gradual diminution of the nine words of Cant.

The Teutonic goddess of fertility, Berchta or Perchta, was worshiped by the women with rites which included offering their hair to her. Its composition was well-known in Geonic times, though the pronunciation of its elements was in doubt, and the renowned exegete, Rashi, felt no hesitation in disclosing its make-up.

Susan rated it liked it Aug 13, Two main types of forbidden magic were distinguished: The name of 22, however, is another matter, more interesting and puzzling—and much more important for the magician.


The art of necromancy is a specialized function of sorcery.

The Truth Behind The Legend. To gain favor the suggestion was to recite various Psalms over oil and to anoint the face and hands with it.

Some scholars 36 have, indeed, derived this trachtenbdrg from Jewish origins, pointing in particular to the acrostic of the initial letters of certain prayers in the liturgy, which spell it out. He is the author of The Devil and the Jews. Mares would cause bad dream. This incident explains why certain houses are very unlucky for their inhabitants, one after another dying off for no apparent cause.

Jewish Magic and Superstition

If some one moved into a barren place or into an abandoned house they had to placate the demon with offering. Knowledge of the names, through which Jewish magic worked, was inaccessible to women, for it required not only a thorough training in Hebrew and Aramaic, which most of them lacked, but also a deep immersion in mystical lore, from which they were barred. 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 products of these methods Gematria, Notarikon, and Temur ah are only rarely recognizable as such. And, in the end, belief in the occult forces that resided in these names was the consequence of maic hoary mystical tradition, which, in this case, encrusted the name so thickly that none but the most skeptical could have had the temerity to laugh it off.

Behind the demonstration there lurks, we may be sure, the wish, if not the expectation, that the person of the victim might experience the fate thus visited upon his double.


Jewish Magic And Superstition: A Study in Folk Religion

Our sources are wholly impersonal; writing of an introspective nature sueprstition altogether unknown. Paired with Gershom Scholem’s Major Trends in Jewish Mysticismthe two works present a great survey of mysticism and folk religion from the Talmudic period to the beginning of the Renaissance.

Touching the eyes, ears, nose and mouth with unwashed hands spells trouble; no doubt it was feared that the evil spirits would enter the body through these orifices.

Yet, however solicitously these precautions were observed, it was not without some misgivings about their respectability. Coupled with his reputation for piety and learning he trusted that this would see him through.

In Jewish scholarship this phase of folk religion and folk science has been sorely neglected.

Jewish Magic and Superstition | Joshua Trachtenberg, Moshe Idel

Meir to have lost its hold in post-Talmudic times, the thirteenth-century author, Jacob b. Even a house of wood is suspect under these circumstances. However, the yearor thereabouts, has been selected as terminus ad quem, for during the wnd century the so-called FOREWORD xx Lurianic Kabbalahemanating from Safed, introduced a variety of new mystical elements and emphases, and also at about this time the center of Jewish life was shifting toward the east, where it came increasingly under the influence of the Slavic cultures.

The more such names a magician has garnered, the greater trachtenbeg number of spirits that are subject to his call and command.