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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View all 3 comments. Examples of both these may be discerned in the instances cited above from the Talmud.

Yet some writers were prepared to admit that Jews, too, might be engaged in such jewsh. We hear rather often of Jewish trade in drugs, throughout the Germanic lands. This belief was the source of considerable theological uneasiness, as we may well imagine.

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

Christian writers make it quite clear that this is the connection to which they refer. In these ways did folk-belief express its conviction that most of the evil that man suffered was the work of his mortal enemies. We need not seek so far for an explanation, however; the plain sense of the psalm indicates such an obvious employment.

Jewish practice required that before entering the ritual bath superwtition obstructions on the body, such as jewelry, which might prevent contact of the water magi the skin, must be removed. Gaster, on the other hand, regards them as Hebraizations of three names of saints which played a similar role in Slavic legends of the child-snatching witch.

Often this shouting followed a formula. In such cases the spirits would be absolutely at a loss to distinguish the one from the other. Corresponding with Holle-locke is the term Hollenzopf50 The lady made her way into Jewish life in her other supersittion as well. Laura Vogt rated it really liked it Dec 26, One should not erect trachenberg house on unoccupied land; but if he does he should certainly not construct it of stone for a stone house has an air of stability and permanence that is sure to irritate the demons.


The formidable nature of the project is apparent from the merest glance at the twenty-three folio columns which the very involved combinations of letters occupy.

In medieval Germany she had developed into the demon-witch who gobbles up children. As a result the generic terms usually applied to the magic arts, kishshuf and lahash, occur in a dual sense, sometimes trachtenbfrg record the condemnatory verdict of the ancient law books, and again to designate the less reprehensible contemporary forms. Before his death, however, kagic demon returned and prevailed upon him to leave her and her offspring the cellar of his house for an inheritance.

So strong an impression did it make that in Geonic times there arose the custom of circumcising infants who died before their eighth day, at the grave, and there giving them a usperstition.

Jewish Magic and Superstition

One source attributed to their non-existent heads—hair! New Perspectives, Messianic Mystics and Hasidism: No trivia or quizzes yet.

They had certain hour for when it was beneficial to pursue healing operation and others for money. Chapters IX- XIII contain a description of the various elements that constituted the actual practice of magic, including a discussion of medicine.

Jewish Magic And Superstition: A Study in Folk Religion

This recipe is worthy of full quotation because it illustrates the business that often accompanied the charm. He confessed that he feared none but his own child.

The only feature of the custom that derives from the second element is the provision that it is limited to mourners, but it is significant that jwwish earlier sources speak of it as being observed by everyone, and that water from streams and wells in particular was avoided.

In Europe the persistence in various forms of the lamia and striga in the local non-Jewish superstition served to preserve magjc accentuate this feature of the Lilit concept. Some way out of this dilemma was ardently desired, and a formula was devised to meet this need: Akiba, parts of Sefer Raziel, etc. One opinion siperstition it: If the name of God is uttered in another tongue, this prohibition does not apply at all.


The purpose was to capitalize the mystery trrachtenberg the bizarre and unfamiliar, and the power that is associated with the ability to reverse the natural older of things. We can do no better, to gain our first impression of the craft, than to inquire into the character of its practitioners.

If a Jewish doctor healed trachtenbrrg he ran risk because if the person dies he would be accused of poisoning that person. 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 his followers the pangs and tortures they visited upon it.

Scripture is sacred not only for the wisdom it teaches, but even more for its close association with the person of the deity who revealed it.

I would give this book a far higher rating. But the process of burial was not the least perilous—the trxchtenberg was closely accompanied by a spirit retinue during the procession to the grave, the cemetery was infested with spirits, the journey home was made hazardous by the possibility that the spirits had not been left behind, that the ghost itself was an unseen member of the company.

However, Jews were acquainted with this prevailing non-Jewish classification, as is indicated by the effort of Menahem Ziyuni and others to interpret the word necromancy: 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.

Talmudic tradition, however, provided the maguc which was followed in the Middle Ages. To illustrate jewiwh strength of this belief in the tenacity of mis- ortune I may cite this tale: This book contains many quotations in Hebrew.