Jewish Magic and Superstition, by Joshua Trachtenberg, [], full text etext at Rabbi Joshua Trachtenberg, in his defensive yet illuminating book, writing of the age-long reputation of jews as practitioners of black magic and. From Sefer Raziel, Amsterdam, i7 JOSHUA TRACHTENBERG JEWISH MAGIC AND SUPERSTITION A Study in Folk Religion Submitted in partial fulfillment.

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Demons were believed to be the active agents in malevolent sorcery.

His numerous publications include Kabbalah: There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Briah Bat rated it liked it Oct 01, One should not erect a house on unoccupied land; suprestition if he does he should certainly not construct it of stone for a stone house has an air of stability and permanence that is sure to irritate the demons.

Nor should one imprison the demons, who are everywhere, by shutting the doors and windows of a house tightly. The accusations came in time to be part of a pattern which repeated itself ad infinitum.

Jewish Magic And Superstition: A Study in Folk Religion

The formulas usually specify just when they rtachtenberg to be carried out. The ceremony of the Hollekreisch, which marked the bestowal of its secular name upon the child, comprised these features: Words lifted from these sources entered into the everyday language of the people, to be sure, but their very antiquity and traditional meanings made it difficult to squeeze them into new molds.

Demons are like men, Menasseh b. They could eat and drink.

In highest antiquity and in our own day, among the most primitive and the most civilized peoples, the occult power that inheres in the name is recognized, and the name itself is known to be a mighty and awesome force in the hands of the magician. The practice seems to reflect the original matriarchal condition of society, when relationship was traced through the mother and not through the father.


Such are the conceptions that our western literature and tradition have popularized.

The demons were employed almost exclusively in divination. The ease with which they become something else a few pages further on shows that they cannot have meant much, if anything, to the compiler of that work.

On the other hand there is the view of Menasseh b. One can hardly blame the masses for their unhesitating acceptance of the truth and power of magic. Not a word to this effect do we hear in the north of Europe. The people were in daily contact, and the ideas and movements that swept Europe invaded the ghetto as well.

Trachtenberg had deep knowledge of the sources, from responsa to minhagim to talmud and many, many other obscure to the average reader sources, both in print and manuscript. The shorter passages have been transcribed into Unicode.

He was about to establish relations with the powers of the supernatural realm and the least breach in his physical and psychic adjustment to the task could cost him his life. May 31, Bram rated it really liked it. The home of all is in the north, which indeed is the source of all evil. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account.

Biblical quotations were often recited both forward and backward, mystical names were reversed; sometimes the words were actually written backward as they were to be uttered, so that it requires considerable mental agility not to be taken in by the unnatural rendering.


This lore served a dual need: The injunction of Deut. From them comes the use of the word golem literally, shapeless or lifeless matter to designate a homunculus created by the magical invocation of names, and the entire cycle of golem legends may be traced back to their interest. While the Sefer Hasidim is deservedly well-represented, a glance at any page of notes will refute that reviewer’s ill-consi I would give this book a far higher rating. The Lilin which were succubae and incubi made love to people and drank their blood.

Another reviewer’s statement that the author relied on “merely a handful of sources”, and mainly on the Sefer Hasidim, is utterly absurd. Shabriri briri riri iri ri. During the Middle Ages the belief that the spirits of the wicked are at large on the Sabbath played a most important part in the popular apprehension of the dead.

Jewish Magic and Superstition Index

In Jewish trachtenberv the eight days after birth were equally fraught with peril. He received the Israel Prize for excellence in the field of Jewish philosophy in There were different penalties for different types of magic. This prodigality of names to effect a single end owns a hoary precedent in the Geonic and Hellenistic magical literatures.

Trachtebnerg Radin rated it really liked it Dec 17, For if you anger them they will certainly do you harm.