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October 20, 2014 / 26 Tishri, 5775
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The Difference Between Superstition and Ritual

Much of what all religions teach is magical. If one does not believe in God, then we would rightly call it all superstition.
Madonna, with her red string, is one of the fans of the  Kabbalah Centre, debunked by orthodox rabbis and now sued for fraud by former followers.

Madonna, with her red string, is one of the fans of the Kabbalah Centre, debunked by orthodox rabbis and now sued for fraud by former followers.

Science has shown that ritual even has the benefit improving the taste of one’s food. The little things that we do before we eat have been shown to enhance the flavor of what we are eating. (See: NY Times) It’s reasonable to assume that rituals have a similar effect in other areas of one’s life. It’s even possible that some superstitions navigate from magical to ritual over time. While we can scoff at the pure magical thinking of superstition, it is important to recognize the very real benefits of ritual.

Rituals can enhance our lives in a non-magical way. They provide comfort, they soothe us, they calm us, they make life taste better. No amount of magical thinking can all rituals to superstition.

Link: The Atlantic

(Also see this from 2009 on this blog: Gizmodo Headline)

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About the Author: Rabbi Eliyahu Fink, J.D. is the rabbi at the famous Pacific Jewish Center | The Shul on the Beach in Venice CA. He blogs at finkorswim.com. Connect with Rabbi Fink on Facebook and Twitter.


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