Home Uman Ask A Breslover: Are Demons For Real?

Ask A Breslover: Are Demons For Real?

by breslov.org

Q: What does Judaism say about demons?

A: The Gemara speaks of them in a matter of fact way as quite real and entities to be reckoned with. The Mishnah states that they were created in the twilight of genesis (which is a subject of interpretation among the commentators). The Zohar also discusses demons, as do many other kabbalistic texts. Yet we have a tradition that the Arizal banished the demons of his era. And although some came back subsequently, the Baal Shem Tov to sent them packing. Since then — who knows?

Yet the Rambam, under the influence of the Arab-Greek rationalism of his day, basically dismissed them as imaginary, or at least inconsequential if one didn’t believe in them.

Many Modern Orthodox Jews today share the Rambam’s attitude, while Chassidim and other traditionalists believe in them, at least theologically.

Dovid Sears

מאמרים קשורים


Jason Caplan March 25, 2013 - 8:16 pm

Dovid Sears, enjoy reading your writings and posts. On this issue, I find it funny to use the word “influence” sounds like an intoxicating drink!

but, we know that the Rambam synthesized the Aristotelian ideas, and the Kabbalists took Neo Platonic ideas. So, which Greek philosopher are you looking at? Its not that one Rabbinic stream of thought is more authentic than the other. Both the rationalists and mystics looked out into the world and brought what they felt, were the best ideas back in.

On the issue of demons, did they really leave the world at the same time as the scientific revolution? that would be some timing!! The Gemara is filled with the science of their day, which we have updated, and a future generation will update ours. Its simply human, people thought there were demons, and we found that there are no such things.

its not a ‘traditional’ Jewish concept to hold on to ideas that have been proven false.

Wish you a very healthy, happy, uplifting, Chag Sameach!!

breslever August 14, 2014 - 8:32 pm

jason i must correct you the accepted opinion is that we believe bemunah shleimah that they exist its just that they were banished from civalized areas! The kav hayashar a 17th cen. writer speaks of them matter of factly what i have written is the torah view.

Jason Caplan February 13, 2017 - 10:48 pm

I am just seeing this response. Thank you for responding breslever.

I have never seen an ‘accepted opinion’ that includes faith. Opinions in the Torah/Talmud are based on a pasuk and actual evidence. Have you ever seen a demon? I haven’t, nor have I met anyone who has, or seen it ever documented. The torah view is to use our minds, evidence, and clear thinking. With that in place, demons left the human imagination at the advent of the scientific revolution. It took a while to spread to the masses of people and become commonplace, but here we are.

Dini November 26, 2018 - 6:28 pm

I like how this conversation has two year intervals… I have been researching demons in the torah and commentaries at length, and I’ve come to learn that they do, in fact, still exist. Have you heard of Lilith (Adams first wife), who was a demon and is responsible for miscarriages? Babies in their first few days of life are still at risk, and the way to protect them is to have the names of the three angels that captured her by their bedside. People can also see them- when my friend’s father was twelve, he once took a nap, and when he opened his eyes, he saw a frightening female form hovering over him. Obviously terrified, he ran to his parents who had a scribe check the mezuzah at his door. In the shame, where it spells out HaShem’s name (Shin Daled Yud), the last letter was scratched out, resulting in Shin Daled (shed=demon).


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