PDA

View Full Version : Jewish magic



dragonjax
09-07-2006, 06:22 AM
I'm working on a new project that has the main character discover one of the secret Names of the Almighty. Magic, mayhem, and miscommunication ensue. (And there's a romance, but then, I write paranormal romance.)

While I'm not planning on delving into the Kabalah or the Zohar (I haven't studied either), the main antagonist is very learned in these areas. Are there any very basic works on the Kabalah (the original Jewish version, not the recently popular celebrity Kabalaish version) or the Zohar that anyone could recommend for research purposes?

(With the main character, once she has the Name, she winds up doing things accidentally -- creating a golem that looks and acts like her ex-boyfriend, for example, and curing the sick. But she has to remain chaste for her to channel this power -- which does nothing for her love life...)

Many thanks!

PattiTheWicked
09-07-2006, 07:50 AM
I'm not Jewish, but a few years ago I had the pleasure of meeting a fascinating gentleman on a witchcraft message board. This fellow was in his eighties, a Holocaust survivor, and a rabbi. He began posting on this particular board in an effort to learn some new things about other people's beliefs -- fortunately, he was a wonderful guy who also shared a lot of information about his own faith, particularly in regards to magic and the occult. I'll share with you some info he passed along to me -- these are from my conversations with him and I should note that I *do not* have much first hand information about these sources.

There are any number of documents pertaining to Jewish magic, not the least of them being Kabbalah related. Check out some of the documents within the Dead Sea Scrolls (which the dear rabbi actually had the privilege of working on translations many years ago), they are an excellent source of info -- 4Q186 (an astrological text which bears resemblance to some medieval documents in Hebrew); 4QMess ar ( beleived to be part of the "lost book of Noah"; and 4Q511-12 ("Songs of the Sage," which protect the singer from demons).

Around the seventh century, there were Jewish incantation bowls, which were basically a bowl inscribed with an incantation, often having to do with demonology. Amulets have been unearthed from around that time, usually with text in Aramaic inscribed on charms of various metals -- spells of protection, healing, etc.

There's also a Hebrew document called Baraita deMazzalot which discusses hellenistic astrology but with a Jewish theological perspective.

Several magical texts are still in existence, including Sepher HaRazim (the Book of Mysteries), Harba deMosheh (the Sword of Moses), and Havdala deR. Akiva (The Havdalah of R. Akiva). I'm not sure if any of these are available in a workable English translation, but it might be worth looking for if you're really interested in magic.

You might also want to look at some of the books in this bibliography: Biblio - Hebrew Mysticism (http://faculty.biu.ac.il/~barilm/bibmagic.html)

smiley10000
09-07-2006, 12:00 PM
Creating a Golem is not a simple thing that could be done 'accidently'.
You also should be careful, your golem subplot sounds identical to the X-files one.

The Jewish faith does not believe you must be 'chaste' to be holy (of course relations are only condoned-and encouraged-within the confines of marriage). There was only one prophet that had to seperate from their spouse and that was Moses.

A name of G-d cannot do anything unless it is properly used with kavannah (intent). You could say the name of G-d again and again and nothing will happen. Therefore, I don't know if your premise is so likely (of course that didn't stop the X-files from creating a golem).

Try and find an introductory book on Jewish Mysticism in a Judaica store, it may give you an idea of the scope of information out there. PM me if you need help finding one in your area.

Good luck!
:) 10000

dragonjax
09-10-2006, 01:19 AM
Thanks very much, Patti and 10000!

TeddyG
09-10-2006, 01:41 AM
Wow .. what a mishkabobble!!!!!!

Okay one thing at a time:
Easy to hard

1. Smiley is correct and not correct. The equivalent of "chastity" in terms of nuns and monks does not exist in Judaism. Nor does it exist in law. However, Smiley has forgotten (I am sure from excitement at answering) that the High Priest on Yom Kippur does sep. from his wife. ALSO, on Yom Kippur, on 9th of Av, and during Mourning, the husband and wife DO separate - as also they must during the time of Niddah (ritual purity and impurity). So be careful here. It is not as simple as it first sounds.

2. Let us move on to the Zohar. There is a small excellent book written by Gershon Sholem (the world reknowned prof. who actually opened the Zohar to modern scientific study at Hebrew Univ. called "Zohar" you may want to take a look at that). There are a few other very good books but it depends on the extent that you want to get to.

3. As to the mentions of Mechilta's etc. This cannot be done without a long discourse on 1) Midrash and Midrashic Literature 2) Agaddah and Aggadic Literature - and the diff. between 1 and 2 AND a knowledge and understanding of what is "late" and what is "early" in this literature. This is critical - CRITICAL - to know what sources were influenced by the onset of Christianity and what were not.

4. The Name of God - Okay this is not only a "mystical" discussion but certainly a difficult one for the uninitiated into Talmudic and Midrashic Literature. So for the sake of simplicity.

There are supposedly 72 names to God. The "secret ones" or actually the secret one that you seem to referring to is the one handed down in secret from High Priest to High Priest (Raiders of the Lost Ark kind of name). This secret name of God is also mentioned in the Talmud specifically in the Tractate Sanhedrin. Keep in mind that it is not known and certainly the King is supposed to possess this name as well - but that is NOT a discussion for this post.

5. Golem - The Golem idea became famous with the MaHaral from Prague as he created one to help the Jews against the blood libels that were being waged against the Jews. The Golem though is not a new invention and it is not just a creation of some big doll and then sticking the true name of God inside. As Smiley mentioned there is an idea of "intent" here..HOWEVER intent is ONLY ONE facet.

All this is a just a quickie intro.
I would suggest for a WIP that if you are really into this stuff you are going to have to do a lot of research. If you just need it for a WIP and not detailed..stick to the chapter headings. After all it is just fiction.

TeddyG
09-10-2006, 01:55 AM
There are any number of documents pertaining to Jewish magic, not the least of them being Kabbalah related. Check out some of the documents within the Dead Sea Scrolls (which the dear rabbi actually had the privilege of working on translations many years ago), they are an excellent source of info -- 4Q186 (an astrological text which bears resemblance to some medieval documents in Hebrew); 4QMess ar ( beleived to be part of the "lost book of Noah"; and 4Q511-12 ("Songs of the Sage," which protect the singer from demons).

Around the seventh century, there were Jewish incantation bowls, which were basically a bowl inscribed with an incantation, often having to do with demonology. Amulets have been unearthed from around that time, usually with text in Aramaic inscribed on charms of various metals -- spells of protection, healing, etc.

There's also a Hebrew document called Baraita deMazzalot which discusses hellenistic astrology but with a Jewish theological perspective.

Several magical texts are still in existence, including Sepher HaRazim (the Book of Mysteries), Harba deMosheh (the Sword of Moses), and Havdala deR. Akiva (The Havdalah of R. Akiva). I'm not sure if any of these are available in a workable English translation, but it might be worth looking for if you're really interested in magic.


Okay not to step on Patti's knowledge which is extensive YOU MUST BE VERY CAREFUL HERE...

1 The Dead Sea Scrolls are NOT totally untouched by other sources. They are the oldest BUT the Essenes who created them or wrote them - are the subjects of long debates. They were certainly only ONE specific SMALL sect during and/or after the 2nd Temple Era. (And may have been the sect where John the Baptist originated from). As to the demons, imps, angels etc. - If you need specific information on this - it is going to be long and complicated and must cover a lot of ground. For sure there is a great deal of this in Jewish legend, and indeed much of it is very early sources, BUT it is not something that should be approached with a basic modicum of understanding of the creation sequence - Maaseh Bereshit - in Jewish philosophical terms.

2. Sefer HaRazim etc. - way out of depth here for a normative AW post and certainly the first book is NOT magic. Indeed I have no clue what the sefer of Havdalah of Rabbi Akiva is .. nor did I ever hear of it (which is strange). I would be very suspicious about such a book, and VERY VERY suspicious about any work that proports to mention Magic in a Jewish context. For OT reasons those terms are not exactly possible in one statement. Magic and Judaism are usually VERY LATE inventions. Remember even the Golem for Judaism is NOT considered magic by any means.

I must point out, for the sake of intellectual honesty here, that MANY of these works are VERY LATE in being written, and have large influences of Christian and Isalmic society. One must be incredibly careful here.

Also I should add to my previous post, that you will find in the Zohar and other such works a very strong underlying sexual current in many of its descriptions.

TeddyG
09-10-2006, 02:00 AM
Thus the final post leads me to simply state that if you are looking for "purity" in sources and want the REAL THING...
the title of your thead is a contradiction in terms actually.
In all pure approaches - there is NO SUCH THING as Jewish + Magic.
Magic is a very late term and thus implies a great deal of outside influence.
It is rather the way Judaism sees the creation of the world, the method in which the world continues as well as the way God interacts with the world.
This is NOT magic. It is the ability to harness the forces that we do not see nor hear - though they exist.

TeddyG
09-10-2006, 02:08 AM
one small point as well
there is another thread at AW where the thread discusses some stuff about Kaballah and Sefirot and stuff..
When I first read it - for a Jew it was confusing as it uses the correct terms but with horribly WRONG definitions...actually ludicrous, from a Zohar-Mystical point of view..They were so off that I was at first aghast at how anyone could post such things posing as an expert.

When I called the thread poster on this it was claimed that this is a Kaballah and knowledge of sefirot that is not from Jewish tradition...(I still dont understand that but to each their own.)

I have absolutely no knowledge on such things not from Judiasm...but it is a great example of how ideas are taken, the same terms are used, and become totally divorced from their original meaning and intent. When I first read those posts, it was clear to me that the poster had no clue what the Sefirot are in Judaism. Same terms same overall intent - but not anything to do with Kaballah and Jewish mysticsm. Indeed if seen from a learned Jewish eye - they were not only wrong definition but terribly misleading.

So if you are looking for the "pure" or "original" idea in mystical Judaism then you must be careful with your sources. Otherwise just pick and choose what is good for a fiction WIP

dragonjax
09-10-2006, 02:22 AM
Whew -- thanks so much, Teddy! Obviously, I've got my work cut out for me.

I want to keep it light; as you said, this will be fiction--a humorous paranormal romance, to be specific. But I also don't want to completely make up the mystical elements. I've got quite a lot of research--and thinking--to do.

Thanks again!

TeddyG
09-10-2006, 02:33 AM
Hey I was being SHORT!
You should see me go when I get long-winded! :)

PattiTheWicked
09-10-2006, 06:02 AM
Teddy, this is fascinating stuff you've posted. I definitely see what you're saying as to the dilution of ideas. Would it be correct to say that there is, in Judaism, a prohibition against "magic" when the term is used to describe sorcery and witchcraft, but not against mysticism itself?

TeddyG
09-10-2006, 01:14 PM
Patti:

the answer here is very complicated and incredibly contradictory as well.
1. First off - as the OT has very specific injunctions against "witchcraft" there are two thoughts on this. That it just does not exist and the OT wanted to warn against such use of belief in a system that would lead "to the wrong path" in the worship of God. The other thought is that it does exist and has power (as may be seen in King Saul visiting the necromancer and relying on the answer and being punished for it - as also may be seen in that Pharoah's helpers could repeat the first two plagues - Blood and Frogs). Thus since these powers are REAL the OT warned categorically against using them and turning them into part of another religion, and thus not worshipping God.
(It gets more complicated but that is the gist of it)

Magic is a late term and it implies things to the modern mind that are just not compatiable with Judaism. If you talk of "real" magic then again what was said above holds.

Mysticsm teaches us the powers INHERENT within our reality and what their purpose is. NOT so much how to harness them for our own use. How to influence them - YES but to harness them is a whole diff. ballgame and cup of tea.

The idea as proported in another thread here and on some idiotic sites on the web that one can with the proper knowledge channel the Sefirot is gobbdlygook and just ludicrous. An understanding of Sefirot, the Shechinah, the creation and God is something that Judaism does not usually "publish" in public. As the Mishnah states - The Age of forty for wisdom to learn the mystical parts of God. There is a reason for this.

The famous legend of "Four entered the orchad..and only one came out unharmed...for he entered in peace and left in peace" must be discussed in context with all this. This is NOT a simple subject, if one is looking for Jewish point of view - otherwise as I said, and as I have seen even at AW - make up whatever you wish. Then it is the realm of fiction.

These are long, serious, and complicated discussions certainly not able to be handled in even a series of posts.

Be all that as it may - as you may now understand the terminology of Magic is not exactly something that will be accepted within the context of Judaism. And this is not just a semantic thing. It is based upon an understanding of what "magic" is.

dragonjax
09-10-2006, 03:53 PM
Mysticsm teaches us the powers INHERENT within our reality and what their purpose is. NOT so much how to harness them for our own use. How to influence them - YES but to harness them is a whole diff. ballgame and cup of tea.

So I should have said "Jewish mysticism" in the thread title. Could you explain a little more about the difference between influencing our own inate powers (which, I assume, one learns from studying the true sources [non Christian/Islam-influenced versions] or from a learned mentor) and harnessing these powers for our own use, which you say is something completely different? Is it that mysticism is a way of understanding the universe, God, and our place in it, and that we can--not shape things, but suggest certain paths/outcomes by voicing the right, um, wording? prayer? to God and/or the various angels/archangels? Is this even close to being sort of correct?


Also I should add to my previous post, that you will find in the Zohar and other such works a very strong underlying sexual current in many of its descriptions.
Could you get into a touch more detail here? As I mentioned, my work is paranormal romance, so if there's a sexual connection between mysticism and sex, this is a HUGE neon sign for me. Instead of the idea of the main character having to be chaste, perhaps I should consider doing the exact opposite: that for her to influence the...energy? source? Name?...she innately can touch but doesn't understand, she needs to have sex?

(Apologies if the above offends.)

TeddyG
09-10-2006, 04:28 PM
So I should have said "Jewish mysticism" in the thread title. Could you explain a little more about the difference between influencing our own inate powers (which, I assume, one learns from studying the true sources [non Christian/Islam-influenced versions] or from a learned mentor) and harnessing these powers for our own use, which you say is something completely different? Is it that mysticism is a way of understanding the universe, God, and our place in it, and that we can--not shape things, but suggest certain paths/outcomes by voicing the right, um, wording? prayer? to God and/or the various angels/archangels? Is this even close to being sort of correct?
Jackie:

First of all NOTHING OFFENDS. What I do get pissed at (especially being a former NYer like you) is when others portend or place themselves as experts in areas they have not a clue what they are talking about. That grates on the need for some intellectual honesty. But nothing really offends me.

You hit almost a bingo in the above statement. It is VERY true and it is VERY false. Dichotomy. Conflict. (important word that is - CONFLICT)
J. mystical teachings ideas etc. sees the world on many different plains of existence. There is the REAL world the hear and now - past present and future - which is dealt with in a series of laws derived from the OT. This is the world that ONE MUST concentrate upon and on.

There are other plains of existence though. That of Heaven and Hell, that of angels and demons. And that of the idea of God.

I do NOT want to get too complicated. But I will try to explain in short. The first and most foremost question of the Kabalah, is this:

If God is all over and as the Talmudic statement says 'God is the place for the world and the world is NOT the place for God' meaning that the world (universe) exists within God's mind and creation and not that the Universe is home for God - then how did the universe come into existence? It is a theological-philosophical equivalent of the scientific question.

If God is all over and God is God then everything should be God. So the Kabalah came up with its first and most famous statement of "zimzum" which for lack of any better term would mean Implosion. God made space for the Universe to come into being. (This is about as much as I am willing to go for now in the discussion of Creation ideas with mystical ideas.) Thus with this ZimZum the Kabalah and so to Judiasm had to come to grips with the creation of good and evil. For evil is impossible in the mind of God who is all good. (I hope you are following).

This is NOT just a theological question on the existence of evil to the Kabalah. This is a CREATION question - one which must be understood to come to grips with the way God created and let the world run.

It is the belief of Judiasm that man has all the power to shape things. This is also an age old problem in Judaism which Maimonides was fascinated with. The exsistence of foreknowledge on the part of God (God has no past present future) and thus God knows all that was all that is and all the will be, and yet the insistence in Judaism that man has free will. Total and complete FREE WILL.

All these I bring to your attention for they demand thought. They are just chapter headings, if you will.

Thus a whole series of creations - not just the world but the various heavens and hells as well as the various spheres of influences that are needed or desired or must be tapped into to reach "divine" thought. (The Sefirot - very much misunderstood especially here at AW).

None of this can be divorced from the other. None of this can be taken as just one part and thus one may say...okay if I get the sefirot right, then I can influence an angel or demon etc. and I can get the right numbers for the Lotto. Just does not happen that way.

Okay move on further.....Angels are part of all this. But we do NOT pray to angels. One who is emmeshed within Kaballah may call upon an Angel to intercede in Heaven for him or others (many Hassidic legends are based upon this) BUT there is NO praying to an angel as an independent source separate of God. Any Talmudic story that even leans towards defining itself as such is immediately reitereated, explained and discussed.

Prayer to God is also a very deep ingrained notion in Judaism. We pray 3 times a day. Our lives revolve around it. The question as to what prayer should or may accomplish is complicated as well. (A great deal of my published short stories are about this very subject in literary fiction.)

This is all disjointed. But trust me on this, Jackie, there is logic in what little I have written. The fact is that this is a long and deeply involved subject which would demand of you an incredible amount of background information.

(MY WIP - The Chronicles of the Children of Heaven is based on a lot on the angels and demons and the seven heavens and hells.)

TeddyG
09-10-2006, 04:54 PM
Could you get into a touch more detail here? As I mentioned, my work is paranormal romance, so if there's a sexual connection between mysticism and sex, this is a HUGE neon sign for me. Instead of the idea of the main character having to be chaste, perhaps I should consider doing the exact opposite: that for her to influence the...energy? source? Name?...she innately can touch but doesn't understand, she needs to have sex?

Again a bit of chapter headings.
Judaism looks upon sex as a "holy" act - for it is the act of procreation. The act that we as humans have to imitate God in "creation". Albeit this is creation of something from something (Yesh Me'Yesh) and not creation of something from nothing (the original creation sequence of God called Yesh Me'Ayin)

There is nothing "dirty" or "evil" about the sexual act in Judaism. It does not emenate from an "original sin" it does not force uncleanliness.

A great deal more must be said here but that is a chapter heading,.

The Mystical connotations prevelant in the Zohar and some other works present many sexual connotations - for the act of sex is an act of "completion" in many ways.

Chastity (edit: meaning Life long chastity) is not a Jewish concept that is lauded or praised. Indeed it is looked down upon in all ways. However, the sexual act to be "kadosh" - "holy" must be acheived in certain ways with certain pre-conditions. Adultery is a sin. Sex by those not married is in most conditions not looked upon in a positive manner. Sex by Jewish people during the wife's period is prohibited. And on and on and on. In other words the act of sexual contact and gratification does have its own set of rules and innate powers.

If you want more on this it will get graphic :D - and of course you can come to the HOL to see more!

But that is somewhat of an intro.

smiley10000
09-10-2006, 05:16 PM
Sorry if I was unclear in my post before. I did not think the details of the family purity laws were pertinant to the discussion. As Jackie was asking specifically about the need to be chaste to do holy things. Although there may be times in a relationship of a man and woman where they must be seperate this is in no way a permanent seperation.

Just to add to Teddy's excellent post above. The relationship between G-d and the Jewish people is compared to the relationship of a husband and wife. This means many of the mystical sources and Jewish teachings discuss the relationship of a husband and wife to explain how a Jew should relate to G-d. Song of Songs is a good example of this.

good luck,
:) 10000

dragonjax
09-10-2006, 05:28 PM
Teddy, this is fascinating. I thought that Jews don't believe in hell, but rather in layers of Heaven. (I could swear I remember being taught something like this in Hebrew School. Er, along with angels having only one leg, and people feeding each other in Heaven with forks attached to their wrists--they have to feed the people across from them, because they can't bend their elbows...Maybe I'm completely misremembering...)

You've given me a lot to ponder. THANK YOU.

I would like to touch a bit more on the sexual current in mysticism -- what is the HOL? And maybe this should go offline, if it's going to get graphic? Could you PM me -- or email me at

d r a g o n j a x AT m a c DOT c o m

Thanks again.

dragonjax
09-10-2006, 05:28 PM
Thanks again, 10000!

dragonjax
09-10-2006, 05:32 PM
ZimZum: Implosion. Am I correct in saying that God created within Himself the universe--part of Himself, yet removed; connected, yet independent?

Maybe sort of like a pregnant woman, with a maturing fetus in her womb? Well, maybe not; the fetus is completely dependent on the mother for life. But the fetus exists independently -- if connected. Is this analogy in the right ballpark?

Or is it more like the universe is like the underwater city of Atlantis--encased in a life-supporting bubble--and the waters around it is like God?

Popeyesays
09-10-2006, 06:49 PM
I think the popular notion that Judaism ande magick go together is quite old. At least as old as the Moorish occupation of Spain. There the great Judaic philosophers were treated well and allowed to delve deeply into mysticism, sciences and 'politics'.

To the Christian mind of the time, the Moors and Muslims in general were leagued with the devil, therefore there was no question in the minds of the unenlightened that they must be sorcerors as well. Since the Jewish philosophers were so key in the sciences they must have been sorcerors as well.

When Ferdinand kicked the last of the Moorish princes out of Spain around 1490, the inquisition was formed to ferret out those Moroscoes and Jews who refused to give up Judaism even while ostensibly converted to the Roman Church. The inquisition started with the assumption that those individuals were sorcerors, popularized it, and the Jews of Europe have been saddled with it ever since.

It became so inherent, I believe, that Judaic mysticism had to go largely underground to avoid added persecution to the Jewish community at large. We still see evidence of the saturation of all European culture leads to stories like "The Golem".

Regards,
Scott

TeddyG
09-10-2006, 07:03 PM
Teddy, this is fascinating. I thought that Jews don't believe in hell, but rather in layers of Heaven. (I could swear I remember being taught something like this in Hebrew School. Er, along with angels having only one leg, and people feeding each other in Heaven with forks attached to their wrists--they have to feed the people across from them, because they can't bend their elbows...Maybe I'm completely misremembering...)

One thing at a time. Discussions of what angels look like is really dependant upon the source. For instance the Talmud in Tractate Chagigah 14b and onwards discusses some angelic looks. So to in the tractate Sanhedrin and elsewhere. BUT there is also a wealth of information in Midrash and Aggadata.

Yes we have hell. (Look at the Tractate Chagigah above and many other Talmudic references.) We also have the Angel of Death and Satan who may or may not be 2 diff. entities.

(Hebrew school may not have been specific :) )

I have NO clue where that mishkabobble of forks etc comes from. Sounds like something grandma made up in the shtetel to ward off the evil eye.

TeddyG
09-10-2006, 07:07 PM
ZimZum: Implosion. Am I correct in saying that God created within Himself the universe--part of Himself, yet removed; connected, yet independent?

Maybe sort of like a pregnant woman, with a maturing fetus in her womb? Well, maybe not; the fetus is completely dependent on the mother for life. But the fetus exists independently -- if connected. Is this analogy in the right ballpark?

Without knowing it you hit a triple with the above analogy. The pregnant woman with the fetus is often used as an analogy here. But it is also used in explaining the nature of Messiah in Judaism as well.

I hesitate to get into zimzum. Part of my Yeshiva upbringing, part of my long years spent in Yeshiva, and part of my natural reticence to discuss such things where every word is looked at differently by many diff. readers. so for the time being let us leave it.

TeddyG
09-10-2006, 07:09 PM
HOL is a thread here at AW..the House Of Love, where a great bunch of nuts hang out. However, it was just a joke! I tend to gravitate there when at AW. But rarely are we serious. So it was a joke.

As to the sexual content. Boy oh boy...my favorite subject!!!!!! :D
(Is all I will say!)

TeddyG
09-10-2006, 07:10 PM
I think the popular notion that Judaism ande magick go together is quite old.

Back to the black plague and before. Magic and Judaism though as I said, are not terms which can live peacefully together if we define magic with its common meaning

smiley10000
09-10-2006, 10:47 PM
Teddy, this is fascinating. I thought that Jews don't believe in hell, but rather in layers of Heaven. (I could swear I remember being taught something like this in Hebrew School. Er, along with angels having only one leg, and people feeding each other in Heaven with forks attached to their wrists--they have to feed the people across from them, because they can't bend their elbows...Maybe I'm completely misremembering...)



Your hebrew school sounds like it was far more interesting than mine! All we learned about was what you did to a slave that didn't want to be set free in the seventh year...

Angels are said to have one leg, this is why we say the Shemoneh Esreh with our feet together-to stand like angels. Now what this means :Shrug: no clue, I have never learned the Gemorah...

There is a concept of Hell although it is rather different than the Christian one. I think (Teddy you may be able to confirm) that most sources say the max period a neshama can stay in Gehennom is nine months. It is a cleansing process to prepare the soul for Heaven. Heaven does have levels, so to speak, the reason a person says Kaddish for a year after a family member dies is for Aliyah Neshama (A raising of the Soul).

I too have never heard of forks attached to wrists and people feeding each other, but, meh, sounds kinda neat.

Happy researching!
:) 10000

TeddyG
09-11-2006, 12:15 PM
Angels are said to have one leg, this is why we say the Shemoneh Esreh with our feet together-to stand like angels. Now what this means no clue, I have never learned the Gemorah...

I am not really sure the Source for the above. And I believe strongly in sources. The most prevelant reason given for standing with feet together during The 18 Bendictions (Shemonah Esreh) is that you are standing before God and this prayer includes not only praise but also all your private supplications. Thus you stand at ATTENTION before the King. Just as you would stand at attention before a Human King, all the more so you stand at attention before the King of Kings.

As to the way angels look. Oh boy. You have many diff. categories of angels. Just to name some from the Shabbat Prayers

1. Areylim
2. Cherubim
3. Hayyot
4. Ofanim
5. Metatron & Sandalphon
and now some more
5. What is known as the Arch Angels (originally 5 and now 4 as Satan is whom we call Sammael and was an original Arch Angel)
6. Many many different categories of angels below this....

Now each category has its own traits. Each one has its own powers. Each also looks differerntly. As you can see this can very complicated and very long.


There is a concept of Hell although it is rather different than the Christian one. I think (Teddy you may be able to confirm) that most sources say the max period a neshama can stay in Gehennom is nine months. It is a cleansing process to prepare the soul for Heaven. Heaven does have levels, so to speak, the reason a person says Kaddish for a year after a family member dies is for Aliyah Neshama (A raising of the Soul).
To correct this the period is 11 months. Thus one says Kadish for one's parents only for 11 months and not the full 12 which is the year of mourning for a parent. The Aliyaha Neshamah takes place at the END of period of Kaddish. The Kaddish and why it is said for the dead is a very interesting choice. I will try and explain some things.

(Actually it is 12 months - but only for a truly evil person. Since one never assumes that one's parents are evil it is only said for 11 months for them for you assume your parents are not evil. Interestingly enough, one time I saw someone saying Kaddish for his parents during the 12th month. I assumed this was due to his ignroance of the law. So after synagogue I pointed this out to the person in private. He said with a smile, "I am well aware that Kaddish must only be said for 11 months but this case is different" So I let the matter drop. Much later on, I found out the reason for that full 12 months, and I must say that I had to agree - and also found out which Rabbi had given him the answer to say Kaddish for 12 months, which was also interesting.)

First off if you look at a Kaddish (English trans.) you will NOT find one word in there about the dead. The whole Kaddish is glorification of God's name. It does not mention the dead nor does it speak in any way about them. Thus one should ask oneself why this prayer specifically is being used to "remember" the dead and why it is recited during mourning.

Second, the kadish is not in Hebrew. it is Aramaic. The talmud tells us that the reason it is Aramaic, is because the angels themselves do not understand one langauge...Aramaic. And thus the Kaddish goes straight from the person reciting it to the throne of God without any angelic intercession. Thus it is actually in esoteric terms a prayer that we recite which rests at the throne of God and comes directly from the person reciting it. For the person himself gives praise to God even in times of mourning. In a way it can be looked at as a fulfillment of the mishnah which states "as one blesses God for the Good so must one bless God for the evil" (Tractate Berachot)

Since your original questions were not on this matter I will let this rest here.

smiley10000
09-11-2006, 08:28 PM
The source: Taken from Ezekial 1:7 (describing the image of Chayos -one of the types of angels- Teddy, what is the English for Chayos?) Artscroll Stone Edition Translation
"Their legs were a straight leg, and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a rounded foot,..." Original Hebrew: ורגליהם רגל ישרה
Kedushah in the 18 Benedictions is based on the praise of the angels. We therefore stand as they do (with one straight leg) when we say it...

sometimes you have to go back to the basics to find the answer...
;) 10000

Lisamer
09-11-2006, 08:43 PM
For inspiration on this topic, you must, must, must read Snow in August by Pete Hamil! One of the best books I have ever read!

Saint Fool
09-11-2006, 09:11 PM
Hmmm ... great discussion. NOTE TO SELF: If I ever write a book with magic as a key element, I will either make it up or keep it so simple that it is basic and sensible, e.g., Pratchett's Feet of Clay where putting the words in its head makes a gollum work)

Ralyks
09-12-2006, 12:40 AM
I popped in and read this discussion because I found it interesting as a Christian who was trying to explain to a friend why the practice of "magic" was incompatible with Christianity and that, in this respect, there was really no such thing as "white magic." There are miracles and there is magic, and magic is a forbidden practice for the Christian. Miracles can occur in a ritualistic setting--like Christ spitting in the dirt to make mud and then rubbing it on the blind man's eyes--but it is not the ACT or ritual that creates the miraculous outcome, but rather God behind the act. It's not like a spell that can just be said and -- poof -- you get the outcome.

Magic is man's attempt to play God rather than allowing God to work through man. Anyway, the heading caught my eye, because I didn't see how Judaism was compatible with magic.

TeddyG
09-12-2006, 12:49 AM
The source: Taken from Ezekial 1:7 (describing the image of Chayos -one of the types of angels- Teddy, what is the English for Chayos?) Artscroll Stone Edition Translation
"Their legs were a straight leg, and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a rounded foot,..." Original Hebrew: ורגליהם רגל ישרה
Kedushah in the 18 Benedictions is based on the praise of the angels. We therefore stand as they do (with one straight leg) when we say it...


Quick hit and run here cause this is basically the only thread i have time for...
Okay remember Smiley...i doubt anyone else sees the Hebrew you are typing it probably shows up as gibberish on their screen

First to Chayos or Hayyot or Chayyot...Remember it is actually Chayyot Ha'Kodesh and thus kind would literarly mean "The Holy Animals" but would be misleading for those reading it and then putting it into English terminology of animals meaning animals.

The verses you are beginning to quote from Yechezkel are the origins of Maaseh Merkavah...and Maaseh Bereshit...and I have kind of tried to stay away from those for now. That would really lead into some deep discussions and verse interpertation which never seems to go over well in AW. Also it is imperative to remember that the descriptions you are reading must be superimposed with all the descriptions Ezekiel gives throught all those chapters (and possibly Daniel etc.)

And finally you have presented the Kedusha and before hand the Shemonah Esreh, both you claim is in imitation of the Chayyot. With all due respect to ArtScroll, you will excuse me if I ask - where did you get the source for the one-legged anaolgy. (Please dont say ArtScroll as that is NOT a source. Where is the original source for this?) [I know I know. But I am not a hasid of ArtScroll Judaism...]

TeddyG
09-12-2006, 12:57 AM
I popped in and read this discussion because I found it interesting as a Christian who was trying to explain to a friend why the practice of "magic" was incompatible with Christianity and that, in this respect, there was really no such thing as "white magic." There are miracles and there is magic, and magic is a forbidden practice for the Christian. Miracles can occur in a ritualistic setting--like Christ spitting in the dirt to make mud and then rubbing it on the blind man's eyes--but it is not the ACT or ritual that creates the miraculous outcome, but rather God behind the act. It's not like a spell that can just be said and -- poof -- you get the outcome.

Magic is man's attempt to play God rather than allowing God to work through man. Anyway, the heading caught my eye, because I didn't see how Judaism was compatible with magic.

I cannot in all fairness in any way comment on what is forbidden or not forbidden in Christianity. That I think would be up to a knowledgable person within their own sector to comment on. For instance "Talking in tounges" may to some seem like magic to others a legitimate expression or to others a miracle.

The question as to Jewish Magic. I tried to explain in previous posts the inherent contradicition in terms. HOWEVER, that does not mean, that magic in another realm or let us say by another terminology does not exist. Indeed one would say that it certainly does exist, but in more of a mystical/esoteric/religious context. The problem is that the OT has specific injunctions against witches and witchcraft - but it seems to recognize these powers as well.

I am not going to get into this now, but the famous Talmudic Statement in Tractate Sanhedrin that "Simeon Ben Shetach hung 80 witches on the same day" is proof of that - but do NOT jump guns here cause that statement cannot by any means be taken on face value. (First off Witches in OT were not given the punishment of hanging...second it was against Jewish Sanhedrin Law to kill more than one person in one day, and the Mishnah tells us that a bad Sandhedrin killed one person every forty years.) So you must know how to interpert that statement (which btw has a lot to do with Judaism and Christianity)

Anyway that is again just chapter headings...

dragonjax
09-12-2006, 06:09 AM
Thanks again to Teddy and everyone contributing to this thread. You folks are helping me rethink the concept for the novel -- which is now promising to be much stronger than previously.

smiley10000
09-12-2006, 03:42 PM
Sorry about the Hebrew... I didn't think about that...

Teddy, I'm shocked, you don't stand in awe of Rabbi Arthur Scroll, gadol of our generation? :tongue

No, I would never call Artscroll a source. I was actually just pulling it from the words of Kedushah itself:
"We shall sanctify Your Name in this wrold, just as they sanctify in heaven above, as it is written by your prophet (Isaih 6:3) 'And one will call another and say...'"
Sorry, thought it was pretty clear...
:Shrug: 10000

TeddyG
09-12-2006, 03:47 PM
Sorry about the Hebrew... I didn't think about that...

Teddy, I'm shocked, you don't stand in awe of Rabbi Arthur Scroll, gadol of our generation? :tongue

No, I would never call Artscroll a source. I was actually just pulling it from the words of Kedushah itself:
"We shall sanctify Your Name in this wrold, just as they sanctify in heaven above, as it is written by your prophet (Isaih 6:3) 'And one will call another and say...'"
Sorry, thought it was pretty clear...
:Shrug: 10000

That is only step one. Okay you quoted the Kedusha, but now how do you know that is the way they (angels etc.) sanctify it in heaven and how do you know the ones doing the sanctification have but one foot?

(Thought I would let you off easy! - Think again!)

smiley10000
09-12-2006, 06:01 PM
That is only step one. Okay you quoted the Kedusha, but now how do you know that is the way they (angels etc.) sanctify it in heaven and how do you know the ones doing the sanctification have but one foot?

(Thought I would let you off easy! - Think again!)


Sigh... Okay... I think you would need to talk to someone far more learned than me... we are going back to my sem studies 7 years ago...

I'm just a girl! What do I know????
:flag: 10000

TeddyG
09-12-2006, 06:10 PM
I'm just a girl! What do I know????

If any of my daughters said that to me, married or single, I would give them such a mouthful - they would not know what hit em!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As to the sources...they are always critical. The reason I am pushing on this is that the normative reason is given that since you are standing before the King of Kings you must stand at attention (and thus feet together).

Any other reason of course, would be based upon either Midrash, Aggadata and/or Zohar etc. And if such a reason truly is given then their should be a "logic" behind it or some type of hint towards the why...

This is imperative. For even if we have a source that says that man is mimicing the Chayyot then we MUST ask why man should mimic them in this case - which would force an evaluation of the nature and purpose of the Chayyot.

I will take a look at the Netiv Binah (a two volume expl. of the Siddur) and see if he has any mention of this. I will also look at the Siddur of Rav Kook to see if there is any mention there. I dont deny what you are saying, I just find it puzzling and strange. So I need the source of course!

smiley10000
09-12-2006, 09:52 PM
I mean't it a little tongue in cheek...

But, the truth is, I do not learn Gemorah. I do not study sources and therefore I only know what I have been taught by those that know far more than me.

If you do find the source, I would be interested in hearing about it.

Why do you think it is so odd that we try and emulate angels? Is that not what we do on Yom Kippur?

I do think I was mistaken about the entire Shemoneh Esreh. But, not about Kedushah...

Oh well....
:) 10000