Is idolatry considered a kind of magic or witchcraft?

If a person involved in idol worship gained some result, say the healing of someone through praying to the Christian deity, would it be considered magic or witchcraft?

  • Well, it seems that there are a bunch of instances of kishuf in the torah that are also idol worship. But I don't think the two concepts are thought of as having a causal relationship; they are independent sins in Judaism. Is that what you were asking?
    – SAH
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 23:40
  • Irrelevantly but interestingly, there is a gemara that permits certain kinds of kishuf such as carrying a nail from a cross ON SHABBOS (or so i remember) bc the superstition was so engrained as to actually help people. cylor...
    – SAH
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 23:43
  • @SAH I reflected that trying to bring about results from praying to statues, talismen, incantations on rosary beads, talking to pictures or paintings of people, these things seem to be an attempt to change reality that seems more like magic than worship. Interesting note about superstition and nails.
    – gamliela
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 16:10
  • Interesting. This sort of "magic" has its role in Judaism, l'havdil, too, IMO. But we don't ask this question a lot because avodah zara (ie, of the other religions) is already such a big sin that it doesn't matter too much what other problems might be involved. Or so I understand.
    – SAH
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 16:14

1 Answer 1


Based on the Gamera in Sanhedrin:

  • The forbidden act of magic (as defined in Halacha) involves doing acts - or seemingly doing acts - that a muggle can't reenact.

  • The forbidden acts of idolatry involve worshipping idols; bowing down to it, sacrificing to it and whatever else is considered worship.

As you can see, there is nothing "magic" about idolatry.

  • If, however, a person were to perform an act of magic in service to an idol, it may well fall under both. And if it was intended to persuade others to worship said idol, it may be an act of mesit, and if he was wearing shatnez in a cemetary... Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 20:55
  • @Isaac wow, of course it would be. And those little tags that say ' of mixed fibers', so innocent looking.
    – gamliela
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 16:21

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .