Religion & Beliefs

Magic is Real, but You Can’t Have Any!

I have to be honest, I’m a little obsessed with magic.  I’ve always wished for special mutant powers, and I know that Judaism makes room for magic.  As a child I read stories about Golems and Dybbuks and such.  But … Read More

By / April 17, 2007

I have to be honest, I’m a little obsessed with magic.  I’ve always wished for special mutant powers, and I know that Judaism makes room for magic.  As a child I read stories about Golems and Dybbuks and such. 

But I don’t really know the “rules” about Jewish magic.  Do you?   

Although we’ve all heard about Kabbalah, which sounds awfully magical, according to some, Judaism strictly forbids astrology, tarot cards, ouija boards, cultic practices, etc.  They all fall under the catch-all  “idolatry” heading.    

But then Judaism does recognize that non-Jewish psychics are real and stuff.  That their powers are real.   Real, but bad.

See… 

 “… G-d created the Dark Side, and allowed Man to access His power through it, just so Man could choose between the good and the bad, the right and the wrong.”

Okay, that’s cool.  I get that.  Sure.

But at the end of the article, someone smarter then me has written in and asked, “What about rituals like those found in the Sefer Raziel and Sefer Ha-Reziem ?”

And the editor has responded, “They are not magic, they are conduits for holy energies.”

(In case you’re wondering, I looked up these terms, since I didn’t know what they were.  And it would seem that the Sefer Raziel and the Sefer Ha-Reziem discuss, among other things, Jewish astrology, numerology, and other fun stuff about angels.)

But I have to say this distinction seems awfully arbitrary.  Astrology is out, but Jewish astrology is in?  I’m not sure how one is supposed to know the difference between magic and holy energy.  Besides the fact that “holy energy” appears relatively early in texts belonging to the Jewish tradition and gets discussed by rabbis. And “magic” belongs to cultures outside Judaism. 

Wow. Now I’m really confused.  But I still wish I could fly and talk to the dead.

I'm going to hunt down a guest blogger who claims to know something about Kabbalah. Maybe they'll be able to clear this up.