21

The famous position attributed to the Kotzker Rebbe is that, since the Rambam paskened that demons do not exist, his psak halacha caused the demons to cease to exist. See my analysis here. This position is discussed in Prachei Rashi, שאל אחד את רבי מנדל מקוצק: הרמב״ם במורה נבוכים כופר במציאות שדים וכשפים, ואלו בתורה כתוב ״ולא יזבחו עוד את זבחיהם ...


13

The Babylonian Talmud (M'gila, page 3 column 1) relates in the name of Ravina: One who is afraid [for no apparent reason] — although he doesn't see [anything], his mazal sees [something]. The commentary of Rashi explains that "mazal" here refers to the person's angel. And the commentary Ben Y'hoyada explains that what his mazal sees (and he's afraid of) ...


9

See Rashi there, which renders it as Onkelos does: "They sacrificed to demons, which have no power." The name for god there has to do with power/rulership. On the essential question of their existence, see here. Theologically, demons are no more problematic than angels or Satan the Adversary vis-a-vis monotheism. And someone worshiping them is no different ...


8

Also to the contrary, see Talmud Kiddushin 29b, where the story is told of a demon that attacked people who entered the study hall. הוה ההוא מזיק בי רבנן דאביי דכי הוו עיילי בתרין אפי' ביממא הוו מיתזקי אמר להו לא ליתיב ליה אינש אושפיזא אפשר דמתרחיש ניסא על בת בההוא בי רבנן אידמי ליה כתנינא דשבעה רישוותיה כל כריעה דכרע נתר חד רישיה אמר להו למחר אי לא איתרחיש ...


7

Somewhat to the contrary, there was a superstition among Easter European Jews that the dead held services in synagogues at night, a “minyan macabre” if you will. My grandfather z"l told me how in his youth he was afraid to walk near the town shul at night, lest he hear his name called up to the Torah at these spectral minyanim.


6

The Rambam, practically alone among the major commentators, has the almost unique view that sheidim do not exist, and the entire idea was a simple superstition, played upon by the Sages for use parables and other concepts. Consequently, he interpreted all the Gemaros and Midrashim that mention sheidim as allegories or the like. Though some of his ...


6

The Ramchal in Da'as Tevunos in the section בריאת הרע וגדריו, starting with siman 96 and particularly in siman 114 and 118, explains how demons came into existence. 114: כשאנו אומרים שהקב"ה ברא העולם הזה, ודאי נבין בתחילה בריאת הכלל, ואחר כך הפרטים, פירוש, בתחילה הטבע עצמו, ואחר כך אישיו. והנה כשרצה האדון ב"ה לחדש הטבע בטוב ורע, הנה ודאי הוא שבאה השפעה ...


6

This article by Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir of the Orthodox Union cites the same Shulkhan Aruch passage, and implicitly rules that it is still in effect.


6

Like many other beliefs, Judaism doesn't have a clear opinion on the matter, but individual Jews do. Rashi, for example, believed in demons and gives that explanation of ruah raah in Eruvin 45b s.v. ruah ra'ah. Accordingly, Saul's possession by the ruah raah (I Samuel 16:14) would be a demonic possession. However, like most other things, there is not a ...


6

Adding to @Dov's answer, Yosef the Shed was a shed who would assist the sages by giving them info on shedim, as Sforno writes on Vayikra 17:7: "חקת עולם תהיה זאת שלא יזבחו לשעירים אף על פי שלא היו מקבלים אותם לאלוה בשום פנים אבל היו חפצים בחברתם להיות השדים להם משרתים ומסייעים בעסקיהם או שליחותם אל ארץ רחוקה כמו שהזכירו (חולין פרק כל הבשר) על יוסף שידא ...


5

It is not a compulsory halacha but rather a recommended practice for someone who is concerned with his soul, as stated at the end of the Sif - וצריך בעל נפש ליזהר בהם. There is a perspective (like it or not) that part of the sexual act involves accessing urges that are less than holy. Yes marital union is holy etc, but it borders very closely with some of ...


4

R. Hershel Schachter records that old people from Europe would say that only non-Jews whistle and that it is especially forbidden on Shabbos due to the creation of sound, to which R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik pointed out that Shulchan Aruch O.C. 338 allows whistling on Shabbos so there is no problem of creating sound, and it would certainly be permitted during ...


4

Washing hands repeatedly in the morning to dispel the bad spirit on them. (Some perform this ritual after sleeping in the daytime as well). This is stated in the Gemara Shabbos 108b-109a: הוא היה אומר יד לעין תיקצץ יד לחוטם תיקצץ יד לפה תיקצץ יד לאוזן תיקצץ יד לחסודה תיקצץ יד לאמה תיקצץ יד לפי טבעת תיקצץ ידלגיגית תקצץ יד מסמא יד מחרשת יד מעלה פוליפוס ...


4

Belief in demons exists in Judaism but is very peripheral. Many leading Jewish thinkers thought they didn't exist while others felt they did exist but we should distance ourselves from the occult. See here for an excellent balanced overview by R Shlomo Brody as well as further sources here, here and there. The only book on the topic I am aware of is ...


4

Short answer: It's complicated, but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be approved.1 Long answer: The core issue here, I believe, is whether or not a shed, even one termed "Jewish", can actually, halachically, be defined as a real Jew (on what exactly a Jewish shed is, see here, here and here). A similar question is whether or not an alien can convert. ...


4

There doesn't seem to be much to work off. The only thing I have to add is the following: As has been noted, he also appears in Pesachim 110a - Interestingly, in both instances Rav Steinsaltz zt"l interprets his name to mean that he was a sheid/demon himself. See here for Eiruvin 43a and here for the above case in Pesachim. However, it is worth noting ...


3

The Rambam mostly rejected the idea of demons. This resulted in him either completely ignoring הלכות mentioned in the גמרא that were based on the existence of demons (such as the issur of keeping food beneath your bed), or giving the הלכות different and more rational reasons (an example for such an halach is מעין שבע said on Friday nights, which was based on ...


3

In an important responsum on superstition, the Rashba (no. 825) writes the following: ואי משום דרכי האמורי האמת אמרת שכל שיש בו משום רפואה וידוע לרופאים שהוא כן אין בו משום דרכי האמורי ויתר מזה שכל שלא נאסר בגמרא באותם המנויין בדרכי האמורי אין לנו לאוסרן לפי שאין הסגולות ידיעות ואין לנו לדון מדרכי הטבע המפורסם שהרי יש סגולות שלא נודע עיקרן לכל בעלי הטבע ...


3

In practice nowadays in Israel, Gedoley Hador encourage people to consult a psychiatrist. In most cases, antipsychotic treatments are successful. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, almost in all cases, the patients fulfill criteria of schizophrenia. Below, I will paste some sentences from the DSM 5, the last version. One ...


3

Yes. For example, Exodus Rabbah (30:16) וכמה רוחות ושדים כבש שלמה And Solomon captured numerous spirits and demons. There is also a lengthy passage in Gittin 68a about Solomon and demons, that begins: I gat me sharim and sharoth, and the delights of the sons of men, Shidah and shidoth. (Eccl. II. 8) 'Sharim and Sharoth', means diverse kinds of ...


3

Gemara Brachos 6a "...If a person wants to know if they (demons/mazikin/sheydim) are there, he should take finely sifted ashes and spread them around his bed (before going to sleep at night). In the morning he will see (in the ashes) something like the footprints of a rooster." "If he actually wishes to see them, he should take the birthsack which emerges ...


3

Rav Shmuel Vital (17th century) in the siddur חמדת ישראל says this: גם צריך להזהר מאד שלא להזכיר בפיו שם סמא"ל וזהו סוד מש"ה אלהים אחרים לא תזכירו וכו' ובפרט בלילה שאז היא שליטתו וממשלתו.ולא עוד אלא שגם הוא אסור להזכיר מעין דברים אלו כגון בני אדם הרגילים לומר בלשון לע"ז איל דייאבל"ו וכיוצא בדברים אלו אין להזכירם כלל לפי שגם השדי"ם הם בחלקו ומגביר כוחו ...


2

Adapted from my question here. TLDR: not doing dangerous things during the Nine Days is predicated on the existence of demons. There are various restrictions in place from Rosh Chodesh Av for Ashkenazim and just during the week of Tisha B'Av for Sefardim. These are discussed in OC 551. The relevant portion is the final halacha in the siman, ...


2

The Meiri reinterprets "mazikin" and the like wherever they appear in Shas as anthing from the evil inclination to thoughts of heresy. See here which lists instances of such reinterpretation by the Meiri.


2

Somehow I get the feeling it's connected to plagues of malaria caused by mosquitoes rising off the swamps of Galilee in the late summer. Think; Meriri is the sound a mosquito makes; it is described as spread by "flying demons"; the mosquito is used in the Tanya as an example of pure evil, because "it eats, but does not (visibly) excrete"


2

The Ba'al HaTanya writes in Torah Or about this Halacha: אך דהנה ידוע שהדבר שברצון נק' פנים ומה שהוא נגד רצונו נק' אחור ובשעת מ"ת היה כל רצון ישראל אליו ית' וכל עניני הגוף היה בבחי' אחור. כמארז"ל על כל דבור פרחה נשמתם ובאמת היה להם גופים. אך לפי שכל עניני הגוף היה בבחי' אחור ונמצא כמו שאין להם גופים וממילא היו בבחי' פנים כמים הפנים וגו' וכמ"ש ...


2

This question and answer from yeshiva.co might be of some interest to you. Basically, even if one were to accept the premise that shedim are actual, physical beings (which isn't unanimously accepted), they still don't have free will. They are required to do God's will in much the same way the Satan has no free will and can just do God's will. In any case, ...


2

The Bas Kol could be correct, but it nevertheless lacks the authority to, for example, override a decision of the rabbis. In Bava Metzia 59b, Rabbi Eliezer was trying to prove a point of halacha and attempted to invoke miracles to prove he was correct on that point. The rabbis said that miracles prove nothing. Then, to prove his point, R. Eliezer called ...


2

The word translated 'demons' in Deuteronomy 32:17 (sheidim) occurs only here and in Psalm 106:37. It is a Babylonian loan-word, shedu, a good demon figured in the bull-colossi that guarded the entrances to temples. But according to Psalm 106:37 human sacrifices were offered them: 34 They did not destroy the peoples, as the Lord commanded them, 35 ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible