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What does Judaism say about magic?

by Rabbi Mendy Hecht

  

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G-d is the Force. He is One, but to give us Free Choice, He created Two: Light and Darkness. Both come from Him, but only one is His Will.

Darkness doesn’t exist. It is merely the absence of Light. In such black places can the darkness be harnessed to create what has come to be perceived as black magic.


And those are places we ought not enter.


G-d created the world. It is His. He created each thing for a reason. And the way He created it is the way it ought to remain.


Unless, He instructs us to change it.


There are ways to transcend nature, but it is impossible to circumvent G-d.
G-d instructed us to control many of our natural cravings. He gave us permission to heal. He commanded us to feed the hungry and give money to the poor. He allowed to us to work the land and develop natural resources. He taught us how to bring spiritual light into the world, and commanded us to do so through his Torah and Mitzvot.


Yet He forbade us from tapping into dark energies to create (the illusion of) black magic.1


Immediately after the section on black magic, the Torah states:2 "Be whole with G-d", meaning: black magic makes you un-whole with G-d. Filling your life with the pursuit of universe-control, attempting to supernaturally shatter the barriers of physics, experimenting with the occult and the extrasensory, is unwholesome.


And most of the time, simply foolish.3 After all, the vast majority of the time, this stuff (especially séances, tarot cards, psychics and crystal balls) is flatly bogus.


There are ways to transcend nature4, but it is impossible to circumvent G-d. G-d prohibits magic and G-d is just better at being G-d than we are, so trust Him. Let go. Leave your future and the universe in His hands, and lead your life in accordance with His will.

Footnotes

  • 1. Deuteronomy 18:10-11
  • 2. Deuteronomy 18:13
  • 3. Maimonidies laws of Idol Worship 11:17-18
  • 4. Deuteronomy 18:14-15 - the Torah continues to state that prophecy could be real, and when it is it must be abided by. But the Torah describes the criteria for authentic prophecy.

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Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Mitzvot
Plural form of Mitzvah. Commandments of G-d. Mitzvah also means a connection, for a Jew connects with G–d through fulfilling His commandments.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.