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According to what I've been told by several people who have inquired of "practicing" (is that the right word?) Freemasons, and supported by Wikipedia, "Freemasonry explicitly and openly states that it is neither a religion nor a substitute for one. 'There is no separate Masonic God', nor a separate proper name for a deity in any branch of Freemasonry."

So for purposes of a fear of worshiping a false god, there should not be any prohibition.

But what about Darkeihem?

What about engaging of some foreign worship (ie., the rituals, ceremonies, etc., that praise G-d - even allowing one to identify G-d however he chooses/believes - are not Jewish rituals, ceremonies, etc.)?

What about using masonic symbols?

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  • I don't know anything about it, but based on that quotation alone, couldn't it still be that membership in freemasonhood entails Christianity or some other religion even if it is not one? – WAF Dec 20 '12 at 2:56
  • My Kabalah instructor is a Freemason. At one time, he was the head of a Masonic lodge. The requirements that he put forward for becoming a member was an adherance to monotheism. – Anthony Dec 20 '12 at 4:00
  • There are two rites in Freemasonry - the Yorkish rite and the Scottish rite. The Yorkish rite demands a belief in Christianity, but the Scottish, only monotheism. – Charles Koppelman Dec 20 '12 at 6:01
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    if the various rites mirror a Christian understanding of the temple or the texts, is participation a tacit condoning of that line of thought? – rosends Dec 20 '12 at 16:03
  • Considering that Asher Meza is a Freemason, the answer is no – Adam 2 days ago
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The former Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, Rabbi Israel Brodie, ob"m was a freemason. See here where it shows a picture of the Rabbi in the regalia.

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    Did he ever answer any questions about it? – Seth J Dec 19 '12 at 23:14
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    while I see this as an interesting fact, was there ever any codification into a halachic position? My rabbi liked he Grateful Dead. Others would say that he shouldn't be listening to them. – rosends Dec 20 '12 at 16:04
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    @Dan So we have a machloket. What else is new? – Double AA Dec 20 '12 at 19:03
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    @SethJ This rabbi apparently wrote a book on it. I don't have the book, however. – b a Feb 7 '13 at 6:48
  • @Danno this is called a maaseh rav. In some respects it is more noteworthy than a theoretical ruling. As far as the grateful dead, if a question ever arises whether one may listen to them, then your rabbis practice will be noteworthy. – user6591 Dec 29 '15 at 12:22
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Freemasonry is considered by some to be Luciferian (1). When witchcraft was legalized in the U.K., see here, Wicca copied the rituals of Freemasonry as their own magick rituals. It's based on Illuminism, the belief in self-deification with Lucifer as their archetypical example to imitate. Their monotheistic "one God" is mankind itself. Its origins are all the esoteric Mystery Religions of the pagan world originating in Babel.

Therefore clearly a Jew cannot be a freemason.

(1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luciferian_Doctrine

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  • edited to more nearly approach an answer. – Avrohom Yitzchok Jun 27 '16 at 11:47
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Actually only 1 "house" of the 4 York Rite houses asks that you are willing to defend the Christian faith, not actually be a Christian. Many non Christians join this house with the understanding that many of us Christians would also defend the Jewish, Islamic, and various other faiths as well. A majority of the York rite is based on people and events around Jerusalem. Knights Templar is the exception, and does not have to be joined. Each additional house is optional.

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    What does "defend the Christian faith" mean? I'm certainly willing to defend Christians. Anyway, welcome to the site, and thanks for the answer, which would be much improved if you'd edit into it sources for your claims. (Otherwise we have only your word to go on and, no offense, but none of us know you.) Please consider registering your account, which will give you access to more of the site's features. – msh210 Dec 20 '12 at 15:12
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R. Hayyim Joseph David Azulai tangentially discusses this in his diary. In the entry for April 18, 1734 he writes:

ומה אספר ורבו כמו רבו הענינים ופרטים בפרט וכלל רק את זה אומר שלילה א' אחר חצות כשהלכתי למטה והיה וילון פרוש ננדה כמשפטם ראיתי והנה אדם א' נכנס אצלי ונשתוממתי וא"ל אני משה בן הקאייד אומר לך אבי שיש בכאן קצת ליגורגיזים שהם מכת פראנק מאסון אם מותר להורגם וזה בסוד גדול תשיב לי עתה וכשומעי עמדתי מרעיד אמרתי לו דיני נפשות אתה שואל ממני ואני שוכב על המטה הרף ואגירה לך תאמר לאביך שודאי אסור להורגן אף לרוראת שעה כי לא ידענו שום איסור בדבר והם אומרים שאינו ננד דת משה וישראל וזה יהיה כמו קומידיא א' שודאי אני מודה שאף לקומידיא אסור וכ"ש זה אבל מה ס"ד יש לרודפם עד הריגה ח"ו וידעתי כי אחר יציאתי מתונס התעלל בהם ומסרם למלכות וכמדומה שהוכו והפסידו ממון

What more shall I relate? - for 'multiplied and multiplied' were me matters and the details, both personal and general: yet just this [incident] will I tell. One night, after midnight, after I had gone to bed and drawn the curtains around, it in their manner, I saw and behold! - a man entering through towards me; and I was startled. He spoke: "I am Moshe, son of the Qayid! My father says that there are here some Leghomese [Jews] who belong to the sect of Freemasons. Is it permitted to kill them? And this must be in secret. Answer me now!" And when I heard this I jumped up shocked and I said to him, "You [dare to] ask me laws concerning capital punishment as I lie here in bed! Away quickly - but I will tell you to tell your father that it is absolutely forbidden to kill them, even under 'the laws of duress' because we are not aware of any sin in the matter. And they say that it is not against the law of Moses and Israel but like a comedy. And though I certainly agree that even indulging in comedies is a transgression - and all the more this - but how can you think to 'pursue them to death'? Heaven forbid!" But I know that after I left Tunis they harassed them and gave them into the hands of the government authorities; and I think they were beaten and fined.

(Cymerman translation)

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  • This is a fascinating source. Just one question- the Hebrew used is פראנק .מאסון While this does sound like "Free Mason" I'm wondering if perhaps it's a reference to a member of the Frankists? (or is there evidence that the "Free Masons" were called "Frank Masons" at any point?) – Binyomin 2 days ago
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    @Binyomin See the footnote in the linked Hebrew version. – Alex 2 days ago
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Rabbi Kolon of Italy (The Maharik, mentor of Rabbi Ovadiah of Bartenura) allowed doctors of the time to wear a cape that signified membership of that guild (in Shu"t 88, translated here). He explained that the purpose wasn't "I'm trying to look like a non-Jew", but rather "I'm trying to look like a member of this professional guild to improve my professional reputation."

I'd assume something quite similar would apply here.

While there are multiple opinions, we generally follow the approach that the prohibition on "heathen practices" is only if they are rooted in idolatry or licentiousness, or if they are so completely nonsensical that the only reason you are doing them is to try to blend in with non-Jews. If Freemason membership offers some particular professional advantage (or better enables one's philanthropy or the like), I don't see it violating any of those problems -- though someone more knowledgeable could discuss if its roots are pagan.

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