Saturday, January 13, 2024

Why no real magic today or demons?

Rav Kaminetsky (Emes L’Yaakov Shemos 7:22) And the Egyptian magicians did the same with their spellsConcerning the question why are there are no true magicians today or demons or spirits (dybuk) that our ancestors told us about? Similarly there are many types of knowledge that we don’t have or know about. The answer seems to me  that this is the result of a case of measure for measure that G-d arranged to ensure  that we have free-will and not err. That is why as explained by the Ramban  (Shemos 14:21)  G-d had a strong wind blowing during the Splitting of the Sea so the Egyptians could err and say it was happening because of the wind and therefore they could also cross the sea  as the Jews had. Consequently when there were prophets who performed miracles  to persuade them to do G-d’s will, if they didn’t also have real magicians who could do these miracles then they would have had no free-will like what happened to Pharaoh. Even though with the plague of lice the magicians acknowledged that it was the finger of G-d. Pharaoh said in his heart that was because the magicians were lying  in order to conceal that Moshe was a greater magician  than they. Therefore as long as there  was prophecy there needed to be real magic. Afterwards since they still had bas Kol there were also  invisible spiritual forces like demons. As long as there were people who could do amazing signs and wonders  there were demons which were manifestations of hidden dark spiritual powers. 

However later when no one was able to do miracles and everything was purely material and only intellect and desire   were involved that is why our Sages have stated that no one as great as Moshe will ever occur again. amongst the Jews  though it is possible  amongst the Babylonians, it is possible  to have someone like Bilaam. In order to allow free-will, That is why in the time of Moshe  it was necessary to have Bilaam.  This is a general rule This explains why Yosef responded to Pharoh when he said “I heard  that you interpret dreams.” By saying it is not his knowledge but rather G-d’s concern for Pharoh’s welfare Similarly with Daniel, Nevuchadnezer said to Daniel  “can you tell me what my dream means?” Daniel answered that the meaning is not obtained with esoteric knowledge since only G-d can reveal it, Daniel was thus denigrating this esoteric knowledge which had created a barricade between man and G-d’s providence. This is expressed by the statement that these esoteric arts were considered the epitome of knowledge and understanding in the eyes of non-Jews,

It would seem that this idea can also be used to justify the view of the Rambam that demons don’t exist and that they are not real. There are many who have criticized him and pointed out that demons are mentioned many times in the gemora so how does the Rambam explain these gemoras?...

However according to what I have written it is possible that the Rambam  believed that in the time of the gemora since there were Amoraim who had the power to resurrect the dead and perform other miracles therefore of necessity it was needed to have  the dark  spiritual powers such as demons – in order to have a balance for free-will.  So therefore only in modern times when true spiritual powers are hidden will will there be a corresponding concealment  of the dark forces such as demons

And I remember that when I was in Kelm, that Rav Ekchonon Wasserman  wrote in the name of the Chofetz Chaim “that the famous event of a dybuk that occurred in his lifetime was likely the last appearance of this type. That was because that to the degree the power of Torah and true spirituality is reduced the power of the dark forces of impurity are likewise reduced.”

However it is possible that even today that in the places where there are still Jews with  pure faith and act properly that they also have an extra measure of the dark spiritual forces – in order to maintain a proper balance. Think about this deeply!


  1. Plenty of magic today
    Look at Dayan Sherman ' rulings on annulment of giur, not listening to the other side.

  2. time of the gemora since there were Amoraim who had the power to resurrect the dead and perform other miracles.



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