Monthly Archives: June 2017

Interview with Yuval Harari- Jewish Magic before the Rise of Kabbalah

The Talmud is chock-full of magic and ways to ward off demons. Rabbi Hai Gaon claimed that the belief in demons was widespread in the Babylonian academy of Sura as a continuity of the ancient magic of Babylonia court of Nebuchadnezzar, a world filled with spirits who inhabited the air, the trees, water, roofs of houses, and privies.

The Talmud taught that are invisible. “If the eye could see them no one could endure them. They surround one on all sides. They are more numerous than humans, each person has a thousand on his left and ten thousand on his right”. Yet, if you want to see them, “bring the tail of a first born black cat, that is the daughter of a first born black cat. Burn it in fire, grind it up, fill your eyes with the ashes and then you will see them.” (Ber. 6a). This topic has not been given the attention it deserves.

Most ignore this topic because Modern Jews feel they have evolved beyond the past and Orthodox Jews ignore it because they cherry pick this material out as folklore or the ideas of the common people irrelevant to the their reading of the halakhic project. Historians, however, seek to understand the thought patterns of the past and to comprehend the cultural construction and the discourse on the topic at that time.

Harari

Yuval Harari has recently written a tome entitled Jewish Magic before the Rise of Kabbalah, (Wayne State Press, 2017) dealing with this understudied aspect of rabbinic thought.  Harari did his PhD at the Hebrew University under the supervision of Professors Shaul Shaked and Moshe Idel. Currently, he is professor of Jewish Thought and the head of the Program of Folklore Studies at Ben Gurion University. (Not to be confused with the current bestselling author Yuval Noah Harari of Sapiens & Homo Deus).

Yuval Harari’s book appeared a few months ago in English offering an comprehensive overview of the topic. The first part of the book reviews the scholarship on magic, on Rabbinic magic, and on the role of magic in ancient Judaism. Then it presents the types of ancient Jewish magic as various typologies, categories and types of discourse, The book can be the basis for an entire course, almost a Germanic textbook of the field of Jewish magic.  His book focuses on magic in the Second Temple and Rabbinic era as well as Heikhalot literature, Geonim and Karaite writings.

Harari has also translated and annotated Harba de-Moshe the Sword of Moses (2012)a wide-ranging Jewish treatise of magic compiled in Palestine during the third quarter of the first millennium. In addition he has articles on magical love spells, on magic to gain knowledge,  magic to harm and kill people, and magic for economic success. 

Harari is not the only recent book in the field, a similar and complimentary work by Gideon Bohak Ancient Jewish Magic: A History (2011) gives a historian’s perspective. And recently, Naama Vilozny wrote a book on the pictorial representation of demons. Read together, these works will give one a complete overview of the current state of the field. Two basic texts available in translation that would serve as a basic for discussion are the Sefer ha-Razim, which reflects deep influence of contemporary Greco-Roman magic and a typical Jewish celestial hierarchy of firmaments and angelic hosts and Harari’s edition of  Ḥarba de-Moshe, which is contains a long list of magic recipes of Jewish Babylonian origin.

We have some surviving amulets from Jews from the rabbinic era but thousands of magical bowls. – see here and here. The need to warn off demons was a major Jewish concern of both common people and learned rabbis.

Personally, I know an elderly educated Christian who when confronted with the magic in New Testament replies that it is only metaphor or it was folk believe and not really part of New Testament’s binding message. He has no historic sense that they truly believed in it. Many Evangelicals (and Orthodox Jews) take this anti-historic approach, thereby denying that rationality includes historical consciousness. They also do not sense that the term “magic” is problematic, because it has generally been used to describe the religious and ritual practices of people whom the speaker disapproves of their practice. In the sense, that what I do is ritual, but what other people do is magic or idolatry.

Harari seeks to understand the worldview and discourse on ancient Jewish magic that was widespread during this time.  Since magic was part of an entire worldview, he does not draw hard lines between magic and ritual or halakhah. Harari’s book (together with Bohak’s) shows that Jews truly believed in magic.  This is in contrast to the 19th century rationalist Rabbi Zvi Hirsh Chajes or the Talmudic historians Shaul Lieberman and EE Urbach, who made it disappear from significance.

Harari emphasizes that magic is a pre-scientific technology, and does not devote much attention to the other dimensions, the functional and symbolic aspects. Hence, the book does not serve as a detailed reading of individual formula. Hence, it does not discuss the language and structure of magic formula. But he does note that ancient Jewish magic was not to become a wizard in the Harry Potter sense, rather these works offer pragmatic actions for specific practical goals such as healing or as a hex.

He also notes that these works assume that God gave us this power to do magic, just as He gave us the ability to farm or heal as doctors,  and therefore it does not detract from God’s providence.  The power is in the Hebrew alphabet itself, so that Jewish charms are less performances like the enunciation  of hocus-pocus and more an actual power in the language. In the terminology of the philosopher of language, J. L. Austin- the formula are more perlocution than illocution.

We await similar volumes for Jewish magic in medieval and modern times. A book on the the worlds of Jewish astral magic, kabbalistic magic, amulet writing, and baalei shem is a desideratum. The 1939 classic Jewish Magic and Superstition by Teaneck Reform Rabbi Joshua Trachtenberg is woefully inadequate at this point.

Harari is beginning to document more recent phenomena, such as his forthcoming article entitled  Three Charms for Killing Adolf Hitler: Practical Kabbalah in WW2. On the older segulot books available in most Israeli book stores, Harari gives a short introduction.

In our own time, magic has returned after a 200 year hiatus.  The scholar of religion Amanda Porterfeld (2001) notes that there was a steady decline and eradication of magic due to the Enlightenment project of rationality from 1780 to 1980’s. Now, we have witness an upswing in magic in which she claims there was more magic in the 1990’s than the prior 200 years. In the Jewish world, there are now many new Haredi works on magic and discussions of how Jewish law permits any form of magic needed for healing.

But now in the 21st century, we do not refer to demons and magical bowls anymore, nor do we generally write amulets the way RabbI Yonatan Eybeshutz did. Rather, we give magical powers to ordinary activities. For example, a local Teaneck Orthodox –distributed for free –throwaway paper this month had an ad for how to cure the medical condition of depression using Psalms. The weekly paper usually presents a colorful gallery of upper middle class educated Orthodox Jews returning to magic including various donations to rabbis who will perform these practices just for you or how donations to a specific cause has magical powers.

Other common example of contemporary magic are the use of dollars given by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, visits to Rebbes Ohel, going to Galilee holy trees and graves in order to find a spouse, or the many recent segulot associated with weddings. We call them segulot but they are magic nevertheless.

The academic historian or scholar of religion does not dismiss these phenomena; rather they seek to understand the worldview and discourse of 21st century magic. What functions does it have? and how does it shape their theology? Even the theologically inclined rabbi should ask: What need does the community have for these practices? This would serve as a window into their culture and thinking about theology. What are the critical points of weakness in life that need extra help? Where does the power come from? and what are their views of providence? Conversely, what is the power gained in condemning these practices and are the current condemnations similar to ancient Jewish debates with Christians and pagans saying what I do is religion and what you do is magic?

Harari’s goal is to try and answer these questions of the rabbinic age, late antiquity and the early Islamic period. The interview below gives the reader a good sense of his approach.

ashmedai
(A bowl to bind Ashmodai, King of the demons)

 1) Is sorcery and magic important for Rabbinic discourse?

Magic and sorcery are discussed in rabbinic literature in various contexts and are of great significance for the rabbis’ discourse on ritual power. It is evident that Jewish culture admits the idea of human ritual power and is reluctant to give it up.

Moses and Aaron, Elijah and Elisha are the most prominent biblical figures in this regard. Stories about them, as well as about other biblical and later outstanding figures, teach that God’s agents are capable of backing the truth they promote by means of ritual power which they possess and employ at need.

In antiquity, this kind of power had a major role in the marketing of the truth and in pointing out its possessed real agents. The problem arises when other agents also seem to control such power and to use it for backing other truth so as to undermine both the monopoly of God’s agents on truth and the social order associated with it.

From biblical time to our day, there is an unclear and sketchy borderline, between the prophet (or the rabbi or the ḥasid) and the sorcerer, between miracle and magic, and between prayer and incantation.

Since the insider available evidence of Jewish magic culture is now broad, we are not anymore dependent on the rabbis’ prism for understanding what that culture looked like in their time. The significance of the rabbinical magic discourse on magic is thus found more in the discourse itself than in the magic.

Traditions dealing with ritual power at the hands of the rabbis, accusation of women in performing witchcraft along with stories on conflicts between rabbis and witches and sorcerers (in which the former have, of course, the upper hand), point at the essentially political coping of the sages with the existence of ritual power outside their circles.

2) How is early Jewish magic a cultural system?

Magic is may be considered as pre-scientific technology, a scheme of technical practices founded on the belief in the way reality is run. Given the traditional premises concerning what forces that reality, magic behavior was rational.

Jewish magic is founded on a belief in human aptitude to affect the world by means of rituals, at the heart of which is execution of oral or written formulas. It is not different from Jewish normative religious view, which ascribes actual power to sacrifice, prayer, ritual, and the observance of law. Magic also does not differ from the normative views regarding God’s omnipotence or the involvement of angels and demons in mundane reality. It has elaborated as a system parallel to, and combined with the normative-religious one, a system that seeks to change reality for the benefit of the individual, commonly in order to remove a concrete pain or distress or to fulfill a certain wish or desire.

Books of magic recipes from antiquity as well as from later periods show that magic was pragmatically required in every aspect of life. Magic fantasy of the kind of One Thousand and One Nights or Harry Potter is missing almost all together from recipe books, which usually offers assistance in achieving targets that may be achieved also without magic. According to these Jewish books, magic power can be implemented personally or by an expert. Expert magicians offered their help in choosing and performing the right ritual and in preparing adjuration artifacts and other performative objects, such as amulets of roots and minerals.

Jewish performative artifacts from late antiquity, mainly amulets and incantation bowls, attest to the use of magic techniques for various aims including healing, protection, social and economic success, exorcism, love, sex, and harm. Recipe books also present the elements of the magic ceremony, which includes use of various materials – minerals, plants and animal (or human) organs, gestures on the side of the performer, and execution, either orally or in writing, of an adjuration formula. As noted, the goal of the ceremonial acts is to bring upon a certain result, desired by the beneficiary of the charm.

3) How is your approach different than Lieberman and Urbach and different than Nuesner, Gruenwald and Idel?

When it comes to magic, both Saul Lieberman and Ephraim Urbach seem to have had a pre-perception of the kind of religiosity the Sages had assumed and what could or could not have been part of it. They treated the rabbis as the founding fathers of Orthodox Judaism of the kind they themselves assumed. Their image of the Sages had a significant role in the self-image of these scholars.

It seems to me that in spite of their profound acquaintance with rabbinic literature they found it difficult to admit that rabbis not only believed in the actual power of magic but also carried it out. They both had a view of what real Judaism is and magic had no part in it. Thus, if we find expressions of magic belief and action in Judaism they certainly result from “foreign influence,” alien element that penetrated from the outside and stained it. Surely, there was no room for magic among the true founders of rabbinic Judaism. The problem is that this is not an easy claim to make about Rabbinic literature (Lieberman was actually more flexible than Urbach in this regard). Both scholars, however, made great effort to “clean” the rabbis from real involvement in magic either in thought or practice.

Jacob Neusner, Ithamar Gruenwald, and Moshe Idel presented a different picture. In their mind, there is no chasm between magic and religion, so they did not see a problem in assigning magic to the rabbis. They did not consider magic a superstition that stains the religiosity of those who believe in and practice it. Therefore, unlike Urbach and Lieberman, they did not abstain from pointing exactly at those sources that attest to the existence of magic in rabbinic thought and action.

I myself perceive rabbinic literature as a polyphonic corpus, which from the outset does not reflect monolithic thought, faith or stance. No wonder then that we find in it a prohibition against sorcery together with stories about rabbis who make perfect use of it. I also do not think that Halakha should receive priority over Aggadah in the investigation of the rabbis’ cosmology reflected in this corpus. This was a world where all peoples believed in and practiced magic.

Furthermore, why would ancient Jewry need influence from the outside in order to develop its own magic culture? Could not they do it on their own? Were they not capable or intelligent enough to create their own magic belief and praxis? I’m sure they were.

My own discussion on magic in rabbinic literature (and other ancient treatises from Second Temple and Heikhalot and Merkavah literature) differs from that of the scholars who preceded me because I approach it with a profound acquaintance with Jewish magic culture itself from the early Jewish magical texts.

In my book I aim at introducing the entire evidence of rabbinic magic discourse, or better occult discourse, for I also deal with demonology, divination, dream interpretation and astrology.

4) Why do we have to control demons? How do we do it?

Many peoples in antiquity believed in the existence of demons and Jews were no exception. Jewish cosmology ascribed to demons all kinds of misfortune – from illness and death to personal disasters and failures.

The significant role of demons in Jewish weltanschauung in late antiquity is attested by the many terms used for denoting the various kinds of these hidden entities: zika, mazika, nidra, barukta, tulin, deivin, shedim, lilin and many more. According to that view, demons can infiltrate one’s house, body, thoughts and dreams and cause harm. Exorcistic knowledge is thus required in order to treat illness, troubles and distresses. The Talmud discusses demonological issues and details a few spells against demons. The magic evidence attests to the use of exorcistic objects – amulets and bowls, empowered by spells and holy names that were written on them. These objects and spell had one goal: to prevent demons from harming the beneficiaries named in them and to expel them had they already penetrated into his or her body and life. In a few rabbinic stories, however, demons are domesticated and subordinated by rabbis and sometimes even act in their service.

 5) What are the types of Jewish magical artifacts? Can you give examples of the formula?

Two major types of ancient magic artifacts remained to our day: metal amulets and a few clay tablets from Palestine and its surrounding, which were produced for healing, exorcism, protection, success, and subduing others in order to gain their love or to control them; and Babylonian incantation bowls, which were used mainly for protection against demon and exorcising them (and in rare cases for cursing a rival or for returning evil sorceries upon their sender).

Whereas only a few dozens of amulets have so far been uncovered, the corpus of Jewish incantation bowls includes more than fifteen hundred items. Beside these two types we should note a handful of magic jewels (striking in their relative absence given the popularity of magic gems in the surrounding Greco-Roman world) and the remnants of five human skulls covered with spells.

These objects were mainly produced in the 5th-7th centuries CE. Dozens of hide and paper amulets, mostly from the 10th-13th centuries were found in the Cairo Genizah. All of these objects survived because of the material of which they were made or, in the case of the Genizah, because of the dry climate in their place of storage. Magic recipes from late antiquity and the early Islamic period indicate many other strata, such as leather, cloth, eggs, and leaves for producing written charms and there is no reason to suspect their use by contemporary charm writers. Other objects of performative nature such as roots, knots, bells, a grasshopper egg, a fox tooth and a nail from the crucified, are mentioned in Rabbinic literature.

Performative (magical) artifacts are identified as such by scholars through the linguistic components of the text. Here is an example of an adjuration text from an amulet which was probably produced at the beginning of the 7th century CE. It was written for Yose, son of Zenobia, to rule over the inhabitants of some village and was found in Ḥorvat Marish (near Tel Ḥazor):

“For your mercy and for your truth” (Psalms 115:1; 138:2). In the name of YHWH we shall do and succeed. Strong and mighty God! May your name be blessed and may your kingdom be blessed. Just as you have suppressed the sea by your horses and stamped the earth with your shoe, and as you suppress trees in winter days and the herb of the earth in summer days, so may there be supp[ressed…    ] before Yose son of Zenobia. May my word and my obedience be imposed on them. Just as the sky is suppressed before God, and the earth is suppressed before people, and people are suppressed before death, and death is suppressed before God, so may the people of this town be suppressed and broken and fallen before Yose son of Zenobia. In the name of ḤṬW‘‘ the angel who was sent before Israel I make a sign. Success, Success, Amen Amen, Selah, Hallelujah.

6) Why are you personally interested in magic?

Some ten years ago, when I was sitting in an Oxford coffeehouse and pondering about the book I was about to complete, the following sentence came to my mind: magic is a rather boring matter. I knew immediately that these were going to be its opening words. And indeed, in itself, “magic is a rather boring matter: practical action, supernatural technology. In its simple version, a few words are uttered, some of them meaningless. In more developed versions, some acts are performed and then the words are uttered.”

I’ve studied philosophy, Jewish thought, Early Christianity, Gnosticism, Kabbalah and comparative religion. I encountered profound thinking, ideological systems, myths, ethics and sophisticated means of expression. Magic technology is very far from that. It was like turning to the study of Ritual Engineering. Nevertheless, as I also wrote there, something in it captures the imagination. But there is much more than that.

First, there are people behind the praxis. Magic recipe literature is a broad map of human fears and anxieties, distresses and needs, aspirations and desires. It is a practical literature that, focusing on daily needs of the individual, slips beneath the radar of social supervision and reflects life itself in a fascinating way.

Second, magic is highly democratic. It focuses of the individual and, indifferent to religion, race or gender, takes personal needs of all kinds very seriously. It supports the individual at times of crises and assists him or her in fulfilling personal wishes. Bronislaw Malinowski viewed magic as ritualization of human optimism and I totally agree with him. Belief in magic is an expression of human optimistic decision to act rather than to despair and give up.

Unfortunately, power always involves potential aggression and the promise of magical power also has a destructive facet. Books of magic recipes reflect that facet with instructions of how to harm and abuse the other. Painful as it is, here too magic literature mirrors life itself.

Finally, because of the vague borderline between magic and the power of “true religion,” magic discourse is political by its very nature. It concerns knowledge and power, ideology and hegemony, exclusion and reproduction of social structures.  That is true concerning all times – past and present.

7) Can you explain love charms and how they work? Give examples.

In Jewish magic literature the term “love” denotes a broad spectrum of relationships, from emotional attachment and marriage to sexual loyalty and abuse. In many cases, it is hard to separate these aspects from one another.

Here are a few examples. First, a cloth amulet that was found in the Cairo Genizah, written for arising feeling of love in a man’s heart toward a certain woman: “You, all the holy knots and all the praiseworthy letters, kindle and burn the heart of Tarshekhin son of Amat-Allah (in longing) after Gadb daughter of Tuffaha.”

The second example is a “tested and proven” recipe also from the Genizah. It aims at the same target but through different means:

“For love. Tested and proven. Take an egg and draw out what is in it through a small piercing and when the egg will be empty, take the blood of a man and of a woman and fill the entire egg and seal the hole in the egg with wax and write [on the egg] with the [mixture of the] bloods the names of the man and the name of the woman and bury it in the ground. And immediately there will be great love between them, so they will not be able to separate from one another.”

The third example is from the opening of a recipe in the early magic book entitled Sefer ha-Razim (The Book of Mysteries): “If you wish to turn (to your favor) the heart of a great or wealthy woman, or the heart of a beautiful woman…”

Sexual abuse of a woman is hinted in two close recipes in another old magic book, Ḥarba de-Moshe (The Sword of Moses). The first suggests: “For a woman to follow you.” The aggressive sexual meaning of this title is exposed through the following recipe, “For untying her,” which aims at untying the poor woman of the binding love charm when she is no longer desired.

8) What are the major magical recipe books? Why is Harba de Moshe important?

Two magic books have survived from antiquity: Sefer ha-Razim (The book of Mysteries) and Ḥarba de-Moshe (The Sword of Moses). Both were probably composed in Palestine in the second and third thirds of the first millennium CE respectively.

Sefer ha-Razim reflects deep influence of contemporary Greco-Roman magic, whereas Ḥarba de-Moshe contains a long list of magic recipes of Jewish Babylonian origin. These compilations, in which the recipes are enveloped by a theoretical, cosmological framework, are expressions of an advanced stage in the process of assembling and organizing written magic information.

Sefer ha-Razim is structured according to the seven firmaments and leads the reader from bottom to top. It specifies the names of the ruling angels in each firmament, their character and their area of authority, and guides him or her how to gain control over them and force them to act. Jewish cosmology typical of apocryphal treatises and Hekhaloth literature and (at times Judaized) Greco-Roman magic practices are firmly interwoven in this book.

Ḥarba de-Moshe points at a hierarchy of 13 arch angels who rule endless battalions of angels and who possess the magic sword of holy names as well as the Torah. The book starts with a description of a three-day complicated ritual, which prepares the performer to rule the sword of holy names. It then presents the sword itself and details some 130 recipes which use it (actually parts of it) in various magic rituals that target an array of goals. It is in this book that magic literature first shows itself as a map of human fears and distresses, needs and desires and proposes itself as a systematic solution.

9) What is the theology of these works? Did God give this power to humans? Can humans control angels?

Both treatises, Sefer ha-Razim and Ḥarba de-Moshe tie magic power with human capability to gain control over angels by means of rituals and adjurations and to force them to fulfil their adjurer’s will, and both exclude God from the influence of human magic.

As noted, Sefer ha-Razim is structured according to the seven firmaments. Six of them are described as inhabited by angels who are appointed over various aspect of life: healing, harm, success, love etc. Typically of this cosmology, God is located in the seventh heaven. The “seven heaven” is entirely dedicated to the description of God’s heavenly praise and worship and no recipe is proposed.

The Sword of Moses, which also distances the Lord from the influence of human magic, presents him as the patron of this art. The book opens with an explicit connection between the magical sword and the Torah and echoes the well-known tradition about Moses’ heavenly struggle with the angels and his return to earth with the Torah that God gave him and the heavenly secrets, “names by which the world is run” in the book’s words, which he received from the angels. It tells that God commanded the angels to honor his names, which were reviled to Moses, and to obey him or anyone else who would adjure them by these names.

The author of The Sword of Moses did not think there was a contradiction between God’s omnipotence, in which he faithfully believed, and human magic power, which he enhanced. According to him, performative use of God’s names became possible because God himself enabled it and supported it.

10) Do you believe in magic?

I’m an atheist. I was raised in a non-religious family and in a non-religious community. I do not believe in the existence God, angels, demons, or ghosts, let alone in their intervention in the mundane world. I highly esteem the significance of human rites and ceremonies and their influential power on the individual and society but I do not believe in their power to change the non-human world in a direct cause-affect manner. From this point of view, the distance between Jewish magic and religion shrinks. In many cases it is reduced to social questions of hegemony and margins.

I’m striving though to avoid judgmental attitude toward the many who do believe in magic, segulot, and “practical Kabbalah.” I’m also not part of the campaign against agents of magic and practical Kabbalists who are often accused of being charlatans. A charlatan is a person who pretends to do or to sell something he or she know they cannot supply. In the field of practical Kabbalah services the practitioner’s self-belief is crucial. Those who are in need of the ritual service and seek it undoubtedly believe in its potential value and are willing to give up time and money for it. If the expert also believes so, who are we to denounce this trade?

On the other hand, when it comes to a person who consciously takes advantage of others’ distress and deceives them, is magic service really differs from one through religious prayers, and blessings? I myself would not rely on any of them but who am I to decide for others what is and what is not real in this world.

11) Is magic perlocution according to J.L Austin’s categories?

Magic language is a performative language. It does not aim at describing the world but at acting in it. Many scholars consider magical speech act an illocutionary act in terms of Austin’s theory—that is, ascribing to the act of speech in itself, if performed in the right circumstances by the right person, the power to make a change in the world—and explain magic language in various cultures, including Judaism, by means of that theory.

I, on the contrary, believe that we should be careful about that. Austin’s theory approaches utterances within a consensual language. All the illocutionary speech acts he points at are dependent for their performative power on social consensus and generate results in the human, interpersonal sphere. Jewish magic, on the contrary, is based on recognition of the inherent power of (Hebrew) language, which can change every aspect of reality, human as well as non-human (God himself created the entire world through speaking!).

Now, can we really mix the two approaches? If we understand a magic incantation as a speech act à la Austin are we also willing to admit its actual performative result in the world?

But if we deprive the magical speech act from its performative results, what is use in explaining it in terms of a modern theory that aims precisely at explaining the performative character of human utterances?

Exorcistic spells and adjurations of angels could have been considered perlocutionay utterances in Austin’s terms—that is, utterances that affect other persons and make them do something—had the incantations themselves attested to their view as such in the eyes of their performers. But rather than driving these entities to act on the basis of a consensual inter-personal consensus, magic formulas aim at compelling them to do so in the same pseudoillocutionary manner in which they impose their performative power on the world in general.

Whereas Austin’s speech act theory does not seem to be productive in the context of Jewish magic, I find Wittgenstein’s view of language and especially his famous concept of “family resemblance” highly beneficial for the theoretical move I develop in the book, a move which I believe leads us to a better understanding of ancient magic and its place in Jewish culture and society.

12) What are your next projects?
—I’m currently working in three main directions:
(a) Jewish dream magic. For example, dream inquiry (she’elat halom), dream divination through the dead, demonic dream divination, harmful magic by means of dreams and so on.
(b) Visual aspects of medieval and early modern Jewish magic manuscripts.
(c) Magic in Modern Israel. This includes an article on Jewish magic used  by Jerusalem Kabbalists during WW2 entitled Three Charms for Killing Adolf Hitler: Practical Kabbalah in WW2.

demons

(A photo gallery of Rabbinic Demons, the sort the Talmud was worried about)

Advertisements