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In the apartment complex of someone I know, there is a voodoo witch who sprinkles oil on the doors, gates, and walkways of the complex to ward off evil spirits.

In order to not benefit from this idolatrous service (or give the appearance of doing so), must my friend affix a hamsa or similar Jewish-ish talisman to provide independent protection from the evil spirits?

Note: I have seen a gemara about evil spirits lurking in the bathroom yet we do not put mezuzas there. If the purpose of the mezuza was to banish these spirits, we would certainly put one on the bathroom because of the great danger. Yet we don't. ergo we do not hold that mezuzas ward off evil spirits.

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"must my friend affix a hamsa or similar Jewish-ish talisman to provide independent protection from the evil spirits?" You want to combat avodah zarah with more avodah zarah? –  Jake Aug 25 at 10:02
    
"In order to not benefit from this idolatrous service...." How does he know if it's working our not ? –  eramm Aug 25 at 10:03
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Sounds like the guy who wards off venomous snakes or scorpions in his New York City apartment by putting a talisman on his apartment door. After all he has not been confronted by any cobras in New York City. –  sabbahillel Aug 25 at 10:23
    
@Jake. If hamsas were truly avodah zara, they would be assured completely, yet they are not. It is similar, sabbahillel except the witch is doing this not only for herself, but for the whole complex. –  Clint Eastwood Aug 25 at 11:23
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related judaism.stackexchange.com/q/7890/759 –  Double AA Aug 25 at 12:49

1 Answer 1

The Hamsa is of Islamic origin, as a charm against the “evil eye,” and it should preferably not be used. It is much like the horseshoe (of Greek origin) or the red string (apparently of Christian origin).

However, because the Hamsa has become something of a custom among Sephardi Jewry, and it is even mentioned by some Sepharic poskim (see Ben Ish Chai, Year 2, Pinchas 13), one should certainly not mention the matter to others. For an Ashkenazi, who has no custom in the matter, it is better to avoid its use.

Quote is from here , and is complete with primary sources that led the beis hora'ah to arrive at this conclusion.

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How does this answer his question? This should be a comment. –  user613 Aug 25 at 13:16
    
The question was "must my friend affix a hamsa or similar Jewish-ish talisman to provide independent protection from the evil spirits?" The answer I gave shows that it's better not to use a Hamsa, although one doesn't have to protest if others do so. How does that NOT answer the question? –  Jake Aug 25 at 18:57
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because I only used the hamsa in passing as an example of an alternative form of evil eye protection. This answer goes on about the hamsa specifically. –  Clint Eastwood Aug 25 at 20:57

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