web analytics
September 17, 2014 / 22 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Uncategorized
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



Home » Uncategorized

Amulets


Silver - Persia, 19th century.

Silver - Persia, 19th century.

‘The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious’ – Albert Einstein

 

Cut out parchment - Ukraine, 19th century.

Cut out parchment – Ukraine, 19th century.

In this article we will deal with kamayot or amulets, significant items in the collection of Judaica.  (A more comprehensive delving into this fascinating subject can be found in my introductory text to our exhibition catalogue on Jewish Amulets.)

From the earliest period of human development, man has recognized the existence of hidden powers at play in the world, powers that can influence the events of his life for better or worse. In his lack of control and resultant fear of virtually everything happening around him, he fashioned a variety of idols and images to which he might pray for deliverance. With the giving of the Torah, life became meaningful, and he could now find answers to his problems within the sacred text.

Silver gilt. Italy 18th century.

Silver gilt. Italy 18th century.

The Torah attempts to explain that the vicissitudes of life are “ordained by G-d,” and that all natural phenomena in the universe belong to the Creation as described in Genesis. Therefore, the yearning for solutions and answers to all the inexplicable and mysterious events surrounding us, as well as to our daily problems, may be channeled and addressed to the G-d of Moses and the patriarchs. The formulation of such supplications has been the domain of individuals, known as mekubalim, versed in composing special prayers for redemption, healing and salvation.

While the Torah categorically forbids the practice of magic and sorcery, the type of magic that utilizes the many mystical Names of G-d is permitted. Despite the fact that some Talmudic authorities condemned the use of the names of demons, Rabi Eliezer of Metz held that quoting the names of demons is not very different from quoting the names of angels. Thus, the practice of writing amulets that include the holy Names of G-d and the multitudes of angels and demons has existed for millennia. During the early medieval period, Kabbalah was co-opted in the formulation of amuletic texts, particularly in the so-called “Ilanot Katanot” – small trees. However, a distinction was made between the deeply spiritual Kabbalah (Kabbalah Iyyunit) that investigated the infinite G-d of the Torah and the practical Kabbalah (Kabbalah Ma’asit), in which the principles and accoutrements of Kabbalah were applied to amulet texts and procedures aimed at influencing life in the material world.

During the Talmudic period (ca. mid 1st to late 5th centuries) the use of amulets was often discussed, and the Sages concluded that if the amulets were intended to cure and remedy personal problems, their use was permitted. In medieval times the use of amulets was so widespread that the subject frequently came up in rabbinical responsa.

Gilt silver, North Africa, 19th century.

Gilt silver, North Africa, 19th century.

Rav Moshe Isserles, the Rama, explains the use of names in magic as follows: “From G-d comes the power to invoke heavenly princes by means of the holy names.” Rav Moshe Zacuto, the Ramaz (1625-1697), in his Shoreshei Hashemot (Roots of the Names) quotes over 2,000 magical names. According to kabbalists, the Torah itself is an elaboration on G-d’s various Names. Ramban, in the 13th century, stated the matter clearly when he declared that “the whole Torah is composed of G-d’s Names.” The first edition of the Zohar in 1290 was also a great impetus towards the formulation of magical amulets. The mystical dimension of Judaism and the emotional and spiritual language of amulet texts had deep roots in kabbalistic mysticism.

About the Author: Romanian-born Peter Ehrenthal came to the States in 1957. He and his son have owned one of the finest Judaica galleries in the world since 1973.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

3 Responses to “Amulets”

  1. Any magic is wrong, from horoscopes, to readings, and Pokemon.

  2. It is still forbidden

  3. Vicki Spaan says:

    Israel has my heart. Keep up the good work (all branches of Israel Defense Forces). You have The Lord God Almighty on your side. You are guaranteed to win. I am praying unceasingly for each of you in IDF and Israel. I am praying for the families of the fallen heroes. May their memories be a blessing. I am also praying for the sick and injured people of the Israel Defense Forces. I support Israel’s right to defend herself. … Thank you, US Congress, for caring about Israel and giving them a last minute infusion of $225 million for the Iron-Drone anti-missile system on 8-1-14. I also support Prime Minister Netanyahu. Most importantly I am praying for Peace in Jerusalem!

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
The Iron Dome was called on for the first time in 2013 to intercept a missile fired by terrorists in Sinai at Eilat.
Iron Dome: Israel Ends the Long Battlefield Reign of the Missile
Latest Uncategorized Stories
Teens-091214-Shofar

This Holy Day comes once a year
With prayers and begging and pleading and tears,

A march organized by the Swarthmore College chapter of Students for Peace and Justice in Palestine (SPJP).

J Street’s co-sponsorship policy extends to groups on both the anti-Israel and pro-Israel side of the spectrum.

Students participate in South Florida Jewish Academy’s inclusion program.

The inclusion program, in which children with special needs are in the same class as neurotypical (mainstream) peers, is, says Gansburg, the only Jewish program of its kind in Florida.

Israeli-flag

In 19th century entire ancient Jewish communities fled Palestine to escape brutal Muslim authorities

He followed her advice and, before departing, the rabbanim offered him a bracha. “Aba Yudin, may the Lord return your wealth, for all the kind deeds you do.”

Rabbi Yehuda Glick, a licensed tour guide and head of Haliba mvt for Jewish rights, has ‘sparked unrest’ by praying.

With generous support from the Egyptian Jewish community, the exiled family built a new life for itself in the Mafruza and Gabbari refugee camps near Alexandria.

There could be no Jewish-themed books and, as such, the lack of knowledge these boys displayed in regards to many of the topics we read about was clear.

What does Hashem want of us? That we should protect each other and the awesome heritage He gave us.

Channel 2 report: IDF could re-conquer Gaza, but cost would be hundreds of IDF deaths, violence from Judea and Samaria, Israeli Arabs

While the Torah categorically forbids the practice of magic and sorcery, the type of magic that utilizes the many mystical

“I’ll make you a deal,” he said. “If you pay monthly – it’s $4,500; if you pay six months up front – I’ll give it to you for $4,200.”

Question: I recently returned from a trip abroad and wanted to say HaGomel. When I mentioned this to the officers of my synagogue, however, they told me – as per the instructions of the synagogue’s rabbi – that I would have to wait until Shabbos to do so. I was not given any reason for this and did not wish to display my ignorance, so I quietly acquiesced. Can you please explain why I had to wait?

Name Withheld
(Via E-Mail)

Latest updates on Color Red incoming rocket alerts from The Jewish Press.com .

More Articles from Peter Ehrenthal
Silver - Persia, 19th century.

While the Torah categorically forbids the practice of magic and sorcery, the type of magic that utilizes the many mystical

Chanukah lamp, Russia 19th century (2)

Synagogue ritual art is also abundant but for various reasons not usually collected.

A new generation of Sabra artists have come to the fore, creating imaginative and attractive pieces of arts.

The highlight of the auction was a superb and extremely rare ram-shaped silver spice container (very similar to the one in the Kiev Jewish Museum, and probably by the same maker) which brought $36,000.

Collecting Jewish antiques entails a bit of dedication as well, as there are many different categories of art that we have to deal with.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/uncategorized/amulets/2014/08/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: