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Questions tagged [sorcery-magic-kishuf]

The manipulation of nature through the use of evil forces. Its use is forbidden by the Torah.

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Why for a sorceress does the Torah say “shall not live” instead of “shall be put to death?”

In Exodus 22:17 the Torah tells us: מְכַשֵּׁפָ֖ה לֹ֥א תְחַיֶּֽה׃ A sorceress you shall not let live. We learn from Sanhedrin 67a that (man or woman) the punishment for sorcery is death by ...
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How is “magic” defined for the purposes of the prohibition against kishuf?

As Arthur C. Clarke famously said, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." The idea here actually generalizes much further. Today's technology would have been ...
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0answers
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Throwing dice to determine a decision [duplicate]

Say you have several options before you and they all seem equally good and you have no way of knowing which is the right option. Is it allowed to throw dice after praying to hashem that he should ...
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2answers
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How would the Rabbis handle a Jew who presents as having psychic or supernatural abilities?

I was curious if a precedent has been set for how the Rabbis would handle an individual who presents as having supernatural abilities which are forbidden in Torah. Let no one be found among you who ...
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1answer
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Can you control the weather with magic?

Can you control the weather with magic? Or is this only something God has power over?
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1answer
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Significance of Yosef's Goblet

Is there any significance to Yosef's goblet aside from being a prop used to show Yosef's powers and frame the brothers? It seems to be mentioned a lot in the Torah throughout the parsha (especially in ...
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6answers
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Do Jews consider Jesus to be a magician?

With black magic you can do amazing things, including bewitching people's senses, for example, to see things, hear things and feel certain sensations, whether emotionally or physically. Often when a ...
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2answers
429 views

Does Judaism believe in black magic?

What is the opinion of Jewish authorities on Magic, particularly black magic? Traditionally Jews have denied that anything happens outside of the will of God, yet Deuteronomy 18:10 states that these ...
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1answer
55 views

Chazal Heimlich Maneuver

The Gemara Shabbos (67a) records תני תנא בפרק אמוראי קמיה דרבי חייא בר אבין אמר ליה כולהו אית בהו משום דרכי האמורי לבר מהני מי שיש לו עצם בגרונו מביא מאותו המין ומניח ליה על קדקדו ולימא הכי חד ...
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0answers
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What is Pythonic Sorcery?

I saw "Pythonic Sorcery" mentioned on a list of things that would merit the death penalty in ancient Jerusalem. But, when I went to Google it, all I found are...more readings about the capital ...
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1answer
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Sorcerers, wizards, warlocks… what are the differences?

The mishna in Sanhedrin 53a lists, among those subject to stoning: a necromancer -- בעל אוב a wizard (Soncino translation) or sorcerer (Sefaria) -- ידעוני a sorcerer (Soncino) or warlock (Sefaria) --...
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4answers
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From a Rabbinical perspective is the creation of a golem considered a sin against Hashem or form of Sorcery?

This topic is a little strange but I'm curious as to where the concept of Golems fit within the current consensus of Rabbinical interpretations of Witchcraft. The Golem of Prague is a story ...
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0answers
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Why does a person need to be connected to the ground to perform kishuf (magic)?

The gemarah (Yerushlmi Hagigah 2:2, Sanhedrin 6:6) recounts a story of Shimon ben Shetach who captured 80 witches. In the story he instructs those assisting him to lift the witches off the ground to ...
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Are Tibetan Prayer Flags a form of Avodah Zara?

I recently received in the mail a set of prayer flags as part of a mailer, which got me thinking (and researching). Without a question, using the flags normally would be an act of darchei emorie or ...
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3answers
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How would the splitting of the sea have been done with magic if magic is just trickery?

In the spirit of the recent Mi Yodeya discussion of the Rambam's view of magic, a question that has bothered me for some time: The Rambam ostensibly doesn't accept that there is any reality to magic, ...
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2answers
248 views

How does Rambam explain the use of magic in Tanakh?

I've heard that the Rambam says that when the Torah speaks about magic it is meant as a parable. If this is the case, how does he explain Pharoah's sorcerers and other incidents in Tanakh such as ...
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1answer
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Can witchcraft/sorcery affect not only “physical” things, but also one's emotions/thoughts?

There are examples of the Torah of witchcraft being performed to change physical realities (e.g Serpent with Paroh's sorcerers, blood in the river, Bilaam flying, etc.), can sorcery/witchcraft also ...
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1answer
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Rabbi Chanina ben Dosa understood “Ain od mivado” to also exclude the powers of cishuf, what is the source of this?

In Chulin 7b, Rabbi Chanina ben Dosa was not concerned with the threats of a sorcereress due to his understanding that "Ain od Milvado (Devarim 4:35)" included even the powers of sorcery. What was his ...
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5answers
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How was Yosef allowed to practice divination?

The Torah prohibits divination as stated in: Leviticus 19:26: לֹ֥א תֹאכְל֖וּ עַל־הַדָּ֑ם לֹ֥א תְנַחֲשׁ֖וּ וְלֹ֥א תְעוֹנֵֽנוּ׃ Do not eat with the blood; Do not practice divination or ...
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1answer
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Performing Magic Tricks for Children

I've often seen people do magic tricks for their nieces, nephews or for children in general. To an adult observer, the trick is obvious - but to young children, it seems like real magic. Considering ...
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1answer
101 views

Paying for a forbidden service

If one hires someone to do a service that is halachically forbidden, is he obligated/allowed to pay for it, e.g. blei gissen.
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1answer
288 views

Punishment for “Bleigießen”

Recently, there was a discussion on Mi Yodeya about whether there was a Jewish source for the practice of divination and sorcery via blei gissen (Bleigießen). Based on the actual Jewish sources (e.g. ...
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Graphology - sources that permit or forbid it

I saw a orthodox Jewish newspaper that has a column on graphology. Are there any sources that discuss graphology, pro or con? Is it hocus pocus? Is it similar to palm reading?
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Is there a source in the gemara for “Blei Gissen” (pouring lead)?

A recent article in the 5 Towns Jewish Times claims Blei gissen, the technique of pouring lead to nullify ayin ha’ra, the poisonous evil eye, has its source in the Gemara ... In his critique of ...
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What is Kishuf (“magic”)?

In order to avoid the prohibited, we must first know what it is. What is the halachic definition of Kishuf ("magic")? While I am mainly interested in sources, Svaras (reasonings) and thoughts are ...
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Why did Pharaoh not think Moshe and Aaron were magicians?

BSD In this week's Parsha - Shemot Chapter 8 (וָאֵרָא), Pharaoh stands by as Moshe and Aaron perform all of the rites and 'signs' to Pharaoh. After each miracle, the Torah speaks of how Pharaoh's ...
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How is Qi viewed in Judaism?

Are there any Jewish sources which discuss Qi and some of the amazing feats people seem to be able to perform with it? Is it considered impure magic and therefore forbidden to be practiced?
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0answers
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Can a magician cast a spell in water?

The power of magicians and magic, the Talmud speaks plenty about. One such example is that of Ze'iri and the donkey, in Sanhedrin 67: זעירי איקלע לאלכסנדריא של מצרים זבן חמרא כי מטא לאשקוייה מיא ...
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Does sorcery/black magic exist today?

The Torah She'bicsav and Torah She'ba'al Peh discuss sorcery/necromancy/witchcraft. Assuming that those activities were actually harnessing some sort of supernatural power in order to perform ...
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Why is Vayikra 20:27 at the end of the chapter?

This verse in Parshat Kedoshim - Vayikra (Leviticus) 20:27, "A man or a woman who has a ghost or a familiar spirit shall be put to death; they shall be pelted with stones—their bloodguilt shall be ...
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Is flipping a coin following an omen?

If a person is deciding whether to do something and says "I'll flip a coin, heads I do it, tails I don't" does that fall under the prohibition of "don't divine with signs" in Vayikra 19?
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Would Harry Potter be killed as a sorcerer?

Before asking my question, I'd like to make it clear that this is being asked in all seriousness, and not as some form of satire or "Purim Torah". I think there is a precedent for asking halachic ...
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Source for how Agag had a child after being captured

Many years ago when I learned the story of King Shaul and Agag I recall learning that the Amalekites were master sorcerers and that the way King Agag was able to perpetuate his line was by cohabiting ...
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Why is there a difference of opinion about whether modern magic is prohibited or permitted?

I'm an amateur magician. All of the Ashkenazi rabbis that I've talked to said that as long as my audience knows that I am just doing tricks and not real magic, the Torah allows me to perform magic ...
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Clairvoyant Powers

Recently met a certain Rabbi with clairvoyant powers. He was able to look at my name and tell me all sorts of spooky stuff. For example, that I have two mezuzas with problems. (I hired a sofer to ...
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Magicians of Egypt (sometimes referred to as Jannes and Jambres)

Exodus 7:11 ESV Then Pharaoh summoned the wise men and the sorcerers, and they, the magicians of Egypt, also did the same by their secret arts. Exodus 7:11 Hebrew Study Bible (Apostolic / ...
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Flying and sorcery

Rashi (Sanhedrin 44b, s.v. D'ba'ya) relates the story of Shimon ben Shetach's capture of 80 witches. He instructed his students to pick up the witches because the sorcery would be powerless against ...
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How are sorcery or witchcraft viewed in Judaism and Jewish Mysticism?

How are sorcery or witchcraft viewed in Judaism? I have heard that it has something to do with Kabbalah. Please correct me if I am wrong. Also Solomon (may peace and blessings be upon him) is falsely ...
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Why is practical kabbalah not considered kishuf?

To preface I know next to nothing about so called 'practical kabbalah'. But from the few things I have read about, things like face or palm reading, making a golem (essentially an android) or any ...
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5answers
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Did the Rambam believe in magic?

If you read through Chapter 11 of the Rambam's laws on Idol Worship, you'll see what seems to be the Rambam forbidding anything that even resembles magic, all while calling such practices foolish and ...
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5answers
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Did the prophets practice magic?

The Torah clearly prohibits all forms of magic, which we might define as the achievement of any supernatural phenomenon. Yet we find many neviim, most blatantly Eliyahu and Elisha, achieving many ...
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Why don't we see magic today?

Throughout Tanach and Talmud, there are numerous recorded uses and practitioners of magic1. From Pharaoh's magicians to Shaul's necromancer, and magic cucumbers to were-donkeys, the references are ...
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2answers
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Where are the magic cucumbers discussed in the Talmud?

Where are the magic cucumbers discussed in the Gemara by a Rabbi proud of his knowledge? Are magic cucumbers discussed elsewhere? Thanks.
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Hypnosis in Halacha

Is there a proplem in the Halachic literature with hypnosis? What, if anything, is the issue involved in either hypnotising people or being the subject of such an hypnosis?
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Is hamsa allowed?

Does the Halacha allow the use of a hamsa as a good luck charm, considering that it originated as a Muslim symbol?
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4answers
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What practices are affected by a belief in demons?

Inspired by R' Slifkin's new monograph, Wrestling with Demons, and acknowledging the fact that the existence of sheidim and other things magical in nature is an age-old dispute, I am wondering about ...
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4answers
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Why did the Mitzryim turn water into blood rather than vice versa?

Why didn't the Mitzryim magic makers just take away the blood from the first makkah to prove to Moshe that he was just doing magic and Hashem had nothing to do with it: why did they add blood (Exodus ...
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3answers
295 views

Black Magic by Pharaoh's Magicians

What are the various opinions regarding the efficacy of the magician's in the Exodus story?