Tag: demons

Nachmanides’ strange understandings of demons, hell, souls, women’s period, rape, and other subjects

The following is a draft of a chapter from my forthcoming book “Nachmanides: An Unusual Thinker,” which should be published sometime this year   The prior chapter examined Nachmanides’ mystical view of God. This chapter looks at his approach to other subjects. Did Nachmanides insist that midrashic tales are not parables, but true facts? Did […]

Jewish Philosophy Unintentionally Including Christian Beliefs

                                          Jewish Philosophy Unintentionally Including Christian Beliefs   I spoke about Hasdai Crescas in the past, but a nice young man asked me in the synagogue about Crescas and how he differed with Maimonides, and […]

Demons and Sympathetic Magic in the Passover Seder

                                            Demons and Sympathetic Magic in the Passover Seder   I spoke in the past about the ancient Jews believing in demons, the power of sympathetic magic (doing something on earth that causes heaven […]

Demons and Sympathetic Magic in the Passover Seder

                                               Demons and Sympathetic Magic in the Passover Seder   We saw in the prior articles that the belief in demons, the power of sympathetic magic to conjure the appearance of the messiah, the use of an intercessor to obtain God’s attention, and the belief in the effectiveness of magic numbers to help accomplish […]

The strange view about a lurking diabolical evil inclination

                                                 The strange view about a diabolical evil inclination   The belief in an evil inclination that is independent of the human body and that works to incite behavior that is detrimental to the body, like the similar concept of evil angels, is so widespread today among Jews and non-Jews that it is hard to […]

The Non-Jewish – Indeed, Anti-Jewish – Origin of Kapparot

                                                                                 The Non-Jewish – Indeed, Anti-Jewish – Origin of Kapparot   While the shofar came to be seen as a rational and important part of the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services, the same cannot be said of the kapparot and tashlich rites that are still celebrated by many Jews. Thus, while Maimonides included […]

Do angels and demons exist?

  The following is based on what I wrote in my recent book “Unusual Bible Interpretations: Five Books of Moses.”                                                                                                                                                                Angels and demons   Did brilliant well-respected ancient thinkers of all religions have ideas that modern people should reject? Certainly. Aristotle, one of the greatest philosophers, had the despicable incorrect notion that women […]

The Bizarre Belief in Evil Angels – part 2

                                               The Bizarre Belief in Evil Angels                                                                    Part 2   Medieval Jewish Bible Commentators Accept the Existence of Angelic Beings Many medieval Bible commentators were not affected by rational philosophy. Principal among them is Rabbi Solomon Yitzchaqi (Rashi), Moses ben Nachman (Nachmanides) and Abraham Saba (born 1407). These Bible commentators accepted the […]

The Bizarre Belief in Evil Angels – part 1

                                                     The Bizarre Belief in Evil Angels                                                                     Part one[1]   Since, as we saw in earlier essays that I wrote, demons and evil angels played such a large part in the lives of many Jews, it is advisable to explore the origin of the belief in some depth. The average Jew today is […]

Bribing Satan: Part Two

                                                                     Bribing Satan: Part Two[1]   The Tashlich service was not the only High Holiday ceremony that the masses felt they must observe to avoid having Satan harm them. The eighth-century Midrash Pirkei de-Rabbi Eliezer is a rather unusual volume of biblical folk legends that many Jews insisted were true. The Pirkei author believed that […]

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