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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A certain woman, who, it transpired, was an estrie, fell ill and was attended during the night by two women.

Jun 05, Greg rated it liked it Shelves: While this interpretation appears doubtful, other names are clearly identifiable. The first appearance of the letter name trahctenberg made in association with that Benediction; two of the four instances of its occurrence in Sefer Raziel place them both together.

Yet we must not imagine that this dread was so overwhelmingly oppressive as to paralyze man, whose adaptability has been his mightiest weapon in the struggle for survival. Corresponding with Holle-locke is the term Hollenzopf50 The lady made her way into Jewish life in her other role as well.

Jewish Magic and Superstition

Woe betide him if it had slipped his memory! The more such names a magician has garnered, the greater the number of spirits that are subject to his call and command.

The foot notes are well tracked and documented although it takes up to 40 percent of the book.

View all 3 comments. Much of the later nonsense was the survival of phrases of the jewizh tongue in which the charms had their rise.

Full text of “Jewish Magic And Superstition: A Study in Folk Religion”

Nor did the danger pass when the child was born. Sefer Raziel offers no interpretation of this name. A magical recipe to gain release from prison prescribed its daily recitation 72 times, along with other Scriptural selections. Daghiel, Duhael, Puel, Simusiel. One of the most pervasive beliefs was in the great utility for medicinal and magical purposes of the elements of the human body.


It is significant, for instance, that a homely little book like the Yiddish Brantspiegel1 intended for the intimate instruction of womenfolk, a book which certainly came closer to the folk psyche than did the more formal writing of the period, singled out as the foremost dangers to life and limb demons, evil spirits, wild animals and evil men. For they import poisonous herbs into our realms. Members of a family were reluctant to follow each other in reciting the blessings over the Torah before a congregation.

Susan rated it liked it Aug 13, A curious parallel to this tale indicates the tragic use to which this reputation for sorcery could be put, and the tragic necessity which prompted such a use.

The volume begins with legends of Jewish sorcery and proceeds to discuss beliefs about the evil eye, spirits of the dead, powers of good, the famous legend of the golem, procedures for casting spells, the use of gems and amulets, how to battle spirits, the ritual of circumcision, herbal folk remedies, fortune telling, astrology, and the interpretation of dreams.

Jewish Magic And Superstition: A Study in Folk Religion

Medieval Jewry pursued not. In the Rhineland, inwe learn of Jews dealing in various drugs jeqish salves, and since the exotic elements of the medieval pharmacopoeia were imported from the East, we may surmise that during this period such items were part of the regular stock in trade of Jewish merchants.

Prior to the inception of the Inquisition in the thirteenth century, trachtenbeeg attributed to sorcery supesrtition been punished by the secular authorities simply as criminal acts.

Your body must lie in its grave until resurrection, your soul must rest in that place where it belongs. Paired with Gershom Scholem’s Major Trends in Jewish Mysticismthe two works present a great survey of mysticism and folk religion from the Talmudic period to the beginning of the Renaissance. The custom of knocking on the synagogue door before entering in the morning was supeestition intended to warn the spirit worshipers that it was time to leave.


Scripture is sacred not only for the wisdom it teaches, but even more for its close association with the person of the deity who revealed it.

New PerspectivesMessianic Mysticsand Hasidism: In the natural order of things man should be tightly wrapped in his bedclothes at nigfit, jesish else engrossed in his studies. He received the Israel Prize for excellence in the field of Jewish philosophy in The magical action was not one to be entered upon lightly.

Jewish Magic and Superstition: A Study in Folk Religion by Joshua Trachtenberg

The Teutonic goddess of fertility, Berchta or Perchta, was worshiped by the women with rites which included offering their hair to her. A fifteenth-century work in mixed Hebrew and Yiddish, which shows unmistakable German influence throughout in its language and prescriptions, makes a similar suggestion concerning the more orthodox image-magic.

Pope Pius IX, for one, was reputed to be possessed of the evil eye, and the women, while kneeling for his blessing as he passed, would make a counteracting sign under their skirts.

Satan in medieval Jewish thought was little more than an allegory, whose moral was the prevalence of sin.