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Very good, clean and tightly bound. Binding: Softcover Pages: Dimensions: Enlarge Image. Default Title - R Many people will be surprised to find that Judaism is fundamentally aligned with what we think of as the New Age. Many of the things we associated with the New Age are not new but are part of Kabbalah, the Jewish mystical tradition.
New Age Judaism is not about Judaism modified to meet the needs of the moment, but rather it makes age-old Judaism, traditional and kabbalistic teachings accessible to the modern person in a new way.
ISBN 13: 9781558747890
New Age Judaism is a very practical guidebook to Jewish spirituality drawn from the insights and personal observations of the author, a well-known meditation teacher and psychotherapist. 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.
Write on the egg with the mixture of the bloods the names of the man and the woman and bury it in the ground. Immediately there will be great love between them, they will not be able to separate from one another. Today there are new ways of packaging and marketing Jewish magic in regard to romance. For only a small donation to its website, the American Orthodox rabbinic group Vaad HaRabbonim will chant incantations and pray for donors to find their romantic mates at midnight on the seventh day of Pesach—apparently the exact time of the parting of the Red Sea.
The group boasts that 90 percent of the names on its prayer list have gotten engaged. Jews and non-Jews both believed that women were more likely than men to possess supernatural gifts such as clairvoyance. Women mainly practiced folk magic, usually for household purposes—especially anything to do with fertility, birth control or pregnancy. By the early 17th century, there were instances of rabbis consulting with female mediums in order to reach the dead—which brings us to witches. A page from Sefer ha-Razim, a magical handbook from the Talmudic period, that includes examples of the hamsa, a symbolic hand worn as a pendant or hung on a wall as protection against the evil eye.
A dark and threatening image of Jewish women as witches emerged during the Middle Ages. At the time, in Christian as well as Jewish society, there was a great fear of the supposed prevalence of witches with vampire-like characteristics.
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These women were accused of drinking blood and eating children. Even after death, they were thought to find ways to devour the living. Sefer Hasidim The Book of the Pietists , the most important work of the 12th- and 13th-century mystical movement, provides advice on how to deal with these women. The book recommends that in the moment before a vigilante-style execution the book clarifies that this, of course, would never be done by the pietists themselves , these cannibalistic witches should be offered absolution in exchange for information about how to neutralize them in their graves.
And although Jews did not actively take part in the early modern European witch hunts, which resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of women, leading Jewish figures endorsed them. A new kind of unwelcome body invader entered the Jewish lexicon during the 16th century—the dybbuk.
New Age Judaism: Ancient Wisdom for the Modern World
A malevolent spirit or ghost, the dybbuk was said to usually possess low-status members of society, most commonly women and children. Badly behaved spirits, dybbukim were renowned for accusing respected members of the Jewish community of embarrassing sexual acts. Usually a male spirit possessed a female body. In one famous case, a dybbuk was alleged to possess Eidel, the beloved daughter of 19th-century Hasidic leader Rabbi Sholom Rokeach of Belz.
After his death, the voice of Rabbi Sholom emerged from Eidel, accusing different prominent men in the community of sexual misconduct. The exorcism itself likely involved burning herbs and incense and then immersing Eidel in water. Following the exorcism, Eidel collapsed and never fully recovered, reportedly suffering from severe depression for the rest of her life.
Kate Miriam Loewenthal, a professor of psychology at the Royal Holloway, University of London, theorizes that voiceless members of society may have claimed to be possessed in order to have a way to express their views, or that those who were deemed possessed were actually suffering from mental health issues.
Excerpts from Harba de-Moshe, a Jewish magical treatise from 7th—9th century. To my surprise, there were also instances in which Jews actively wished to be possessed by benevolent spirits.
Isaac Luria, the foremost Jewish mystic of the 16th century, and his followers regularly performed graveside rituals intended to attract friendly spirits to possess their souls. They believed that being possessed would increase their ability to know and understand the unseen world. During the early modern period, roughly the 15th through 18th centuries, the study of magic and mysticism occasionally led to close personal contact and intellectual collaboration between Jews and Christians.
Kabbalah, equated with magic by many, caught the eye of Christian scholars such as the Catholic priest Marsilio Ficino and philosopher Giovanni Pico della Mirandola Both men wanted to discover the secret ancient wisdom they believed existed in medieval Jewish mystical literature. This kind of collaboration, however, was unusual.
More often, Christian interest in Jewish magic led to trouble for Jews and contributed to anti-Semitism. Medieval and early modern Christians viewed the Jew as the magician par excellence. Christians believed that Satan was the ultimate source of all magic. As a result, Jewish skill with magic was taken as evidence of their allegiance to Satan and their demonic nature as a people.
Because of this belief, Christians persecuted Jews time and time again.
The most serious episodes were mass attacks and massacres, such as the one that began at the coronation of King Richard the Lionheart in London on September 3, Amid fears that they would cause mayhem, Jews and women had been barred from the ceremony. Despite the ban, a Jewish delegation attended, bearing gifts and pledges of fealty. Accused of having come to cast evil enchantments over the newly crowned king, they were stripped, whipped and banished from court. The violence escalated and led to a large-scale pogrom in London that eventually spread to other cities in England.
Thousands of Jews died before the brutality ended more than a half-year later. Similarly, untold numbers of Jews were accused of black magic and killed during the roughly years of the Roman Catholic Inquisitions. These prejudices followed Jews into the modern world, and accusations of black magic persist as a source of anti-Semitism. Magic is an important part of my Jewish heritage. We live in troubling times. Sometimes Jews viewed magic as a tool to combat their enemies. Throughout their history, Jews have created and compiled magical practices, spells and recipes intended to harm those who threatened them.
One example occurred during World War II.
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As the news of the Nazi annihilation of the Jews spread beyond Europe, there were Jews in Palestine, who over the objections of some rabbis, began to practice magic in an attempt to save European Jewry. Once there, the group put ash-filled sacks on their heads and chanted incantations for 24 hours. At night, they blew dozens of shofarot and called for God to show the Jewish people mercy. Afterward, the group filled cups with tears and marched around the tomb seven times, then shouted seven times in unison for God to prevent Hitler from entering Jerusalem.
Similar pilgrimages were made to the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. And, to protect Palestine itself from the Nazis, Kabbalists were said to have traveled in a plane to spread cock blood on the borders of the land. An alternate version of this story claimed that British officers asked the Kabbalists to fly in a military plane to spread the protective blood over both Palestine and Egypt. It is also possible that Jerusalem Kabbalists created three magical charms intended to kill Adolf Hitler.
These rumors are found in contemporaneous letters and reports and, although evidence that these events actually took place is scanty and disputed, the prevalence of such stories demonstrates the continuing importance of magic in the modern Jewish world. Which brings us to today.
New books by Simon Schama and Martin Goodman present very different approaches to their subject.
Not only is Jewish magic alive and well, it has also become trendy. The Jewitches I spoke with explained that they use magical Jewish rituals and charms to address contemporary concerns such as workplace discrimination and wage disparity. The ancient wisdom of Jewish magic helps me bring order to chaos.
And perhaps it does more as well.
A few weeks ago, I had lunch with my childhood friend Rachel and her new baby daughter.