Chapter 11י״א
1 א

אֵין הוֹלְכִין בְּחֻקּוֹת הָעוֹבְדֵי כּוֹכָבִים וְלֹא מִדַּמִּין לָהֶן לֹא בְּמַלְבּוּשׁ וְלֹא בְּשֵׂעָר וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא כ כג) "וְלֹא תֵלְכוּ בְּחֻקּוֹת הַגּוֹי". וְנֶאֱמַר (ויקרא יח ג) "וּבְחֻקֹּתֵיהֶם לֹא תֵלֵכוּ". וְנֶאֱמַר (דברים יב ל) "הִשָּׁמֶר לְךָ פֶּן תִּנָּקֵשׁ אַחֲרֵיהֶם". הַכּל בְּעִנְיָן אֶחָד הוּא מַזְהִיר שֶׁלֹּא יִדְמֶה לָהֶן. אֶלָּא יִהְיֶה הַיִּשְׂרָאֵל מֻבְדָּל מֵהֶן וְיָדוּעַ בְּמַלְבּוּשׁוֹ וּבִשְׁאָר מַעֲשָׂיו כְּמוֹ שֶׁהוּא מֻבְדָּל מֵהֶן בְּמַדָּעוֹ וּבְדֵעוֹתָיו. וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר וָאַבְדִּל אֶתְכֶם מִן הָעַמִּים. לֹא יִלְבַּשׁ בְּמַלְבּוּשׁ הַמְיֻחָד לָהֶן. וְלֹא יְגַדֵּל צִיצִית רֹאשׁוֹ כְּמוֹ צִיצִית רֹאשָׁם. וְלֹא יְגַלֵּחַ מִן הַצְּדָדִין וְיַנִּיחַ הַשֵּׂעָר בָּאֶמְצַע כְּמוֹ שֶׁהֵן עוֹשִׂין וְזֶה הַנִּקְרָא בְּלוֹרִית. וְלֹא יְגַלֵּחַ הַשֵּׂעָר מִכְּנֶגֶד פָּנָיו מֵאֹזֶן לְאֹזֶן וְיַנִּיחַ הַפֶּרַע מִלְּאַחֲרָיו כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁעוֹשִׂין הֵן. וְלֹא יִבְנֶה מְקוֹמוֹת כְּבִנְיַן הֵיכָלוֹת שֶׁל עַכּוּ''ם כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּכָּנְסוּ בָּהֶן רַבִּים כְּמוֹ שֶׁהֵן עוֹשִׂין. וְכָל הָעוֹשֶׂה אַחַת מֵאֵלּוּ וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן לוֹקֶה:

It is forbidden to follow the customs of the idolaters, or to imitate them neither in dress nor in hair-trimming and like customs, for it is said: "And ye shall not walk in the customs of the nation which I cast out before you" (Lev. 20.23), and it is also said: "And in their customs shall ye not walk" (Ibid. 18.3), and it is, moreover, said: Then take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them" (Deut. 12.30)—all of which pertain to one subject admonishing them not to be like unto them. Forsooth an Israelite shall be separated from them, and be recognized by his clothes and in his conduct as he is different than they are in education and tendencies. For even so it is said: "And have set you apart from the peoples, that ye should be Mine" (Lev. 20.26). An Israelite shall not wear a garment of a design particularly adopted by idolaters, nor raise hair-locks as their hair-locks; not shave the sides and leave the hair in the middle, such as is called a queue, nor shave the hair opposite his face, from ear to ear, and leave the locks at the back of his head as they do. He shall not build public places of the same design and architecture as are the palaces built for idolatry in order to attract a crowd as they do.2Sifra, Lev. 20; Abodah Zarah, 29a; Baba Kamma, 83a; Sotah, 49b; Tosefta, Shabbat Ch. 6. C. G.

2 ב

עַכּוּ''ם שֶׁהָיָה מִסְתַּפֵּר מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל כֵּיוָן שֶׁהִגִּיעַ לִבְלוֹרִיתוֹ קָרוֹב שָׁלֹשׁ אֶצְבָּעוֹת לְכָל רוּחַ שׁוֹמֵט אֶת יָדוֹ:

An Israelite, giving a hair cut to an idolater, should refrain from cutting the hair within three inches of his queue.3Abodah Zarah, 29a. C.

3 ג

יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁהָיָה קָרוֹב לַמַּלְכוּת וְצָרִיךְ לֵישֵׁב לִפְנֵי מַלְכֵיהֶם וְהָיֳה לוֹ גְּנַאי לְפִי שֶׁלֹּא יִדְמֶה לָהֶן הֲרֵי זֶה מֻתָּר לִלְבּשׁ בְּמַלְבּוּשֵׁיהֶן וּלְגַלֵּחַ כְּנֶגֶד פָּנָיו כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁהֵן עוֹשִׂין:

An Israelite of an idolatrous king's circle, who must sit in council together with their kings, and he feels ashamed to appear different than they, may wear their kind of clothes and shave opposite his face as they do.4Babba Kamma, 83a; Sotah, 49b; Me’ilah, 17. C.

4 ד

אֵין מְנַחֲשִׁין כְּעַכּוּ''ם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא יט כו) "לֹא תְנַחֲשׁוּ". כֵּיצַד הוּא הַנַּחַשׁ. כְּגוֹן אֵלּוּ שֶׁאוֹמְרִים הוֹאִיל וְנָפְלָה פִּתִּי מִפִּי אוֹ נָפַל מַקְלִי מִיָּדִי אֵינִי הוֹלֵךְ לְמָקוֹם פְּלוֹנִי הַיּוֹם שֶׁאִם אֵלֵךְ אֵין חֲפָצַיי נַעֲשִׂים. הוֹאִיל וְעָבַר שׁוּעָל מִימִינִי אֵינִי יוֹצֵא מִפֶּתַח בֵּיתִי הַיּוֹם שֶׁאִם אֵצֵא יִפְגָּעֵנִי אָדָם רַמַּאי. וְכֵן אֵלּוּ שֶׁשּׁוֹמְעִים צִפְצוּף הָעוֹף וְאוֹמְרִים יִהְיֶה כָּךְ וְלֹא יִהְיֶה כָּךְ. טוֹב לַעֲשׂוֹת דָּבָר פְּלוֹנִי וְרַע לַעֲשׂוֹת דָּבָר פְּלוֹנִי. וְכֵן אֵלּוּ שֶׁאוֹמְרִים שְׁחֹט תַּרְנְגוֹל זֶה שֶׁקָּרָא עַרְבִית. שְׁחֹט תַּרְנְגלֶת זוֹ שֶׁקָּרְאָה כְּמוֹ תַּרְנְגוֹל. וְכֵן הַמֵּשִׂים סִימָנִים לְעַצְמוֹ אִם יֶאֱרַע לִי כָּךְ וְכָךְ אֶעֱשֶׂה דָּבָר פְּלוֹנִי וְאִם לֹא יֶאֱרַע לִי לֹא אֶעֱשֶׂה, כֶּאֱלִיעֶזֶר עֶבֶד אַבְרָהָם. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בַּדְּבָרִים הָאֵלּוּ הַכּל אָסוּר. וְכָל הָעוֹשֶׂה מַעֲשֶׂה מִפְּנֵי דָּבָר מִדְּבָרִים אֵלּוּ לוֹקֶה:

It is forbidden to practice enchantment as the idolaters do, even as it is said: "Nor shall ye use enchantment" (Ibid. 19.26). How is enchantment practiced? For instance, those who say: "Seeing that the bread fell out of my mouth", or, "my cane fell out of my hand I shall not go to-day to that place, for if I do go, my desire will not be fulfilled; seeing that a fox passed by my right hand I shall not leave my door step to-day, for if I do leave a false person will encounter me". Likewise those who hear the chirping of a bird say: "It will be so, but not so; it is good to do that thing and bad to do the other thing". So are those who say: "Kill this rooster, he crowed during the evening; kill that hen, she crows like a rooster". So, too, is one who sets certain signs for himself to regulate his actions, saying: "If such thing will come to pass I shall do that thing, but if it will not come to pass I shall not do it", even as Eliezer, Abrahams servant did. And so are all like practices of such things forbidden. And whosoever commits an act as a result of any one of such practices, is lashed.6Sanhedrin, 65b–67b; Shabbat, 67a; Sifra, Lev. 20; Tosefta, Shabbat, Ch. 1. C. G.

5 ה

מִי שֶׁאָמַר דִּירָה זוֹ שֶׁבָּנִיתִי סִימָן טוֹב הָיְתָה עָלַי. אִשָּׁה זוֹ שֶׁנָּשָׂאתִי וּבְהֵמָה זוֹ שֶׁקָּנִיתִי מְבֹרֶכֶת הָיְתָה מֵעֵת שֶׁקְּנִיתִיהָ עָשַׁרְתִּי. וְכֵן הַשּׁוֹאֵל לְתִינוֹק אֵי זֶה פָּסוּק אַתָּה לוֹמֵד אִם אָמַר לוֹ פָּסוּק מִן הַבְּרָכוֹת יִשְׂמַח וְיֹאמַר זֶה סִימָן טוֹב כָּל אֵלּוּ וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן מֻתָּר הוֹאִיל וְלֹא כִּוֵּן מַעֲשָׂיו וְלֹא נִמְנַע מִלַּעֲשׂוֹת אֶלָּא עָשָׂה זֶה סִימָן לְעַצְמוֹ לְדָבָר שֶׁכְּבָר הָיָה הֲרֵי זֶה מֻתָּר:

One who said: "This dwelling which I built was of good prefigurement, this wife of mine which I betrothed was a blessing to me, this cattle which I purchased brought wealth to me", and, likewise, one who asks a child, What Verse art thou studying? if he mentioned to him a Verse of the blessings, he may rejoice and say: "This is of good omen". All such and the like is permitted; seeing that he neither regulated his actions nor withheld himself from performing them by these signs, save that he made for himself a mark of a thing which already had come to pass, observe, this is permitted.8See Hullin, 92b; Gittin, 68a; Yore De’ah, 179. C. G.

6 ו

אֵיזֶהוּ קוֹסֵם זֶה הָעוֹשֶׂה מַעֲשֶׂה מִשְּׁאָר הַמַּעֲשִׂיּוֹת כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּשּׁוֹם וְתִפָּנֶה מַחֲשַׁבְתּוֹ מִכָּל הַדְּבָרִים עַד שֶׁיֹּאמַר דְּבָרִים שֶׁעֲתִידִים לִהְיוֹת וְיֹאמַר דָּבָר פְּלוֹנִי עָתִיד לִהְיוֹת אוֹ אֵינוֹ הוֹוֶה אוֹ שֶׁיֹּאמַר שֶׁרָאוּי לַעֲשׂוֹת כֵּן וְהִזָּהֲרוּ מִכָּךְ. יֵשׁ מִן הַקּוֹסְמִין שֶׁמְּשַׁמְּשִׁים בְּחל אוֹ בַּאֲבָנִים. וְיֵשׁ מִי שֶׁגּוֹהֵר לָאָרֶץ וְיָנוּעַ וְצוֹעֵק. וְיֵשׁ מִי שֶׁמִּסְתַּכֵּל בְּמַרְאָה שֶׁל בַּרְזֶל אוֹ בַּעֲשָׁשִׁית וּמְדַמִּין וְאוֹמְרִים. וְיֵשׁ מִי שֶׁנּוֹשֵׂא מַקֵּל בְּיָדוֹ וְנִשְׁעָן עָלָיו וּמַכֶּה בּוֹ עַד שֶׁתִּפָּנֶה מַחֲשַׁבְתּוֹ וּמְדַבֵּר. הוּא שֶׁהַנָּבִיא אוֹמֵר עַמִּי בְּעֵצוֹ יִשְׁאָל וּמַקְלוֹ יַגִּיד לוֹ:

Who is practitioner of divination? He who occupies himself with purposeless actions so as to divert his thoughts from all relevancy, thereby preparing himself to prognosticate, and, then, foretells, saying: "That thing will come to pass," or, "it will not come to pass", or he will say: "It is proper to do so, but beware from doing otherwise." There are some soothsayers who use sand or stones as a medium, and there others who spread themselves out on the ground and fall in convulsions and cry out; there are some who look into an iron mirror or goblet and imagine things and say them, and there are others who carry a cane in hand upon which to lean, wherewith a process of knocking is continued as a diversion until the mind is ready, then the speaking starts. Upon such the prophet proclaims, saying: "My people ask counsel at their stock, and their staff declareth unto them" (Hosea, 4. 12).9Sanhedrin, 65b; Sifre, Deut. 18. G.

7 ז

אָסוּר לִקְסֹם וְלִשְׁאל לְקוֹסֵם אֶלָּא שֶׁהַשּׁוֹאֵל לְקוֹסֵם מַכִּין אוֹתוֹ מַכַּת מַרְדּוּת אֲבָל הַקּוֹסֵם עַצְמוֹ אִם עָשָׂה מַעֲשֶׂה מִכָּל אֵלּוּ וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן לוֹקֶה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יח י) "לֹא יִמָּצֵא בְךָ מַעֲבִיר בְּנוֹ" וְגוֹ' (דברים יח י) "קֹסֵם קְסָמִים":

It is forbidden to practice divination or ask counsel of a soothsayer; only the consultant of a soothsayer is punished after the manner of a rebel, but the soothsayer himself, if he committed an overt act of any of its practices or their like, is striped, in accordance with what it is said: "There shall not be found among you one who useth divination" (Deut. 18.10).10Ibid. Pesahim, 113b; Tosefta, Shabbath Ch. 8. C. G.

8 ח

אֵיזֶהוּ מְעוֹנֵן אֵלּוּ נוֹתְנֵי עִתִּים שֶׁאוֹמְרִים בְּאִצְטַגְנִינוּת יוֹם פְּלוֹנִי טוֹב יוֹם פְּלוֹנִי רַע יוֹם פְּלוֹנִי רָאוּי לַעֲשׂוֹת בּוֹ מְלָאכָה פְּלוֹנִית שָׁנָה פְּלוֹנִית אוֹ חֹדֶשׁ פְּלוֹנִי רַע לְדָבָר פְּלוֹנִי:

Who is an observer of times? They that point at times, saying astrologically: "That day is a good one, that day is a bad one; that day is fit to do that particular work, but that year, or that month, is bad for that particular thing.11Ibid. G.

9 ט

אָסוּר לְעוֹנֵן אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא עָשָׂה מַעֲשֶׂה אֶלָּא הוֹדִיעַ אוֹתָן הַכְּזָבִים שֶׁהַכְּסִילִים מְדַמִּין שֶׁהֵן דִּבְרֵי אֱמֶת וְדִבְרֵי חֲכָמִים. וְכָל הָעוֹשֶׂה מִפְּנֵי הָאִצְטַגְנִינוּת וְכִוֵּן מְלַאכְתּוֹ אוֹ הֲלִיכָתוֹ בְּאוֹתוֹ הָעֵת שֶׁקָּבְעוּ הֹבְרֵי שָׁמַיִם הֲרֵי זֶה לוֹקֶה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא יט כו) "לֹא תְעוֹנֵנוּ". וְכֵן הָאוֹחֵז אֶת הָעֵינַיִם וּמְדַמֶּה בִּפְנֵי הָרוֹאִים שֶׁעוֹשֶׂה מַעֲשֵׂה תִּמָּהוֹן וְהוּא לֹא עָשָׂה הֲרֵי זֶה בִּכְלַל מְעוֹנֵן וְלוֹקֶה:

It is forbidden to be an observer of times, though no act be committed, save to make known the lies to such fools who believe them to be true speech of the wise. Moreover, he who does aught because of the signs of astrology, and times to do his work or go on his mission on the very time, set by the heaven-gazers, even he is striped, for it is said: "Nor observe times" (Lev. 126).12Here a distinction must be made between an observer of times and an enchanter. See supra, Par. 7. G. Likewise, one who deludes the eyes by performing some act alleging it to be wonderful, but in truth makes no performance at all, even he is included among observers of time, and his punishment is stripes.

10 י

אֵיזֶהוּ חוֹבֵר זֶה שֶׁמְּדַבֵּר בִּדְבָרִים שֶׁאֵינָן לְשׁוֹן עַם וְאֵין לָהֶן עִנְיָן וּמַעֲלֶה עַל דַּעְתּוֹ בְּסִכְלוּתוֹ שֶׁאוֹתָן הַדְּבָרִים מוֹעִילִין. עַד שֶׁהֵן אוֹמְרִים שֶׁהָאוֹמֵר כָּךְ וְכָךְ עַל הַנָּחָשׁ אוֹ עַל הָעַקְרָב אֵינוֹ מַזִּיק וְהָאוֹמֵר כָּךְ וְכָךְ עַל הָאִישׁ אֵינוֹ נִזּוֹק. וּמֵהֶן אוֹחֵז בְּיָדוֹ בְּעֵת שֶׁמְּדַבֵּר מַפְתֵּחַ אוֹ סֶלַע וְכַיּוֹצֵא בַּדְּבָרִים הָאֵלּוּ הַכּל אָסוּר. וְהַחוֹבֵר עַצְמוֹ שֶׁאָחַז בְּיָדוֹ כְּלוּם אוֹ שֶׁעָשָׂה מַעֲשֶׂה עִם דִּבּוּרוֹ אֲפִלּוּ הֶרְאָה בְּאֶצְבָּעוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה לוֹקֶה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יח י) "לֹא יִמָּצֵא בְךָ" וְגוֹ' (דברים יח יא) "וְחֹבֵר חָבֶר". אֲבָל אִם אָמַר דְּבָרִים בִּלְבַד וְלֹא הֵנִיד לֹא אֶצְבַּע וְלֹא רֹאשׁ וְלֹא הָיָה בְּיָדוֹ כְּלוּם. וְכֵן אָדָם שֶׁאָמַר עָלָיו הֶחָבֵר אוֹתָן הַקּוֹלוֹת וְהוּא יוֹשֵׁב לְפָנָיו וּמְדַמֶּה שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ בָּזֶה הֲנָאָה מַכִּין אוֹתוֹ מַכַּת מַרְדּוּת מִפְּנֵי שֶׁנִּשְׁתַּתֵּף בְּסִכְלוּת הַחֹבֵר. וְכָל אוֹתָן הַקּוֹלוֹת וְהַשֵּׁמוֹת הַמְשֻׁנִּים הַמְכֹעָרִים לֹא יָרֵעוּ וְגַם הֵיטֵב אֵין אוֹתָם:

Who is a charmer? He who utters words which are not of the vernacular of the people, and which have no significance but supposes in his credulous mind that those words are of help, until others are led to say; "If he pronounces thus and such against a serpent or against a scorpion it will not harm; and if he says such and thus against fire it will do no damage". Among them there is such who, while talking holds in his hand a key, or a rock; such and other similar artifice the whole of it is forbidden. As for the charmer himself, either if he held aught in his hand, or if he committed any act along with his utterance, even if he merely pointed with his finger, is striped, as it is said: "There shall not be found among thee.… Or a charmer (Deut. 18.10–11). But if he merely uttered his prattle, and moved neither hand nor head, holding nothing in his hand; and so the individual, over whom he delivered himself of those noises, who sits before him and appears to derive joy of the performance, should be punished as a rebel because he became a party to the silliness of the charmer. All such chatter and ridiculously obscene nomenclature are harmless but without the least good about them.

11 יא

מִי שֶׁנְּשָׁכוֹ עַקְרָב אוֹ נָחָשׁ מֻתָּר לִלְחשׁ עַל מְקוֹם הַנְּשִׁיכָה וַאֲפִלּוּ בְּשַׁבָּת כְּדֵי לְיַשֵּׁב דַּעְתּוֹ וּלְחַזֵּק לִבּוֹ. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין הַדָּבָר מוֹעִיל כְּלוּם הוֹאִיל וּמְסֻכָּן הוּא הִתִּירוּ לוֹ כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא תִּטָּרֵף דַּעְתּוֹ עָלָיו:

For one who was bitten by a scorpion or snake it is permitted to charm cunningly upon the injured spot, even on the Sabbath, so as to compose the mind of the patient and strengthen his heart, although the thing is of no help yet because the patient is in a dangerous condition it is permitted for his sake to prevent his mind from being disconcerted.13Sanhedrin, 101a. C.

12 יב

הַלּוֹחֵשׁ עַל הַמַּכָּה וְקוֹרֵא פָּסוּק מִן הַתּוֹרָה. וְכֵן הַקּוֹרֵא עַל הַתִּינוֹק שֶׁלֹּא יִבָּעֵת וְהַמַּנִּיחַ סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה אוֹ תְּפִלִּין עַל הַקָּטָן בִּשְׁבִיל שֶׁיִּישַׁן. לֹא דַּי לָהֶם שֶׁהֵם בִּכְלַל מְנַחֲשִׁים וְחוֹבְרִים אֶלָּא שֶׁהֵן בִּכְלַל הַכּוֹפְרִים בַּתּוֹרָה שֶׁהֵן עוֹשִׂין דִּבְרֵי תּוֹרָה רְפוּאַת גּוּף וְאֵינָן אֶלָּא רְפוּאַת נְפָשׁוֹת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (משלי ג כב) "וְיִהְיוּ חַיִּים לְנַפְשֶׁךָ". אֲבָל הַבָּרִיא שֶׁקָּרָא פְּסוּקִין וּמִזְמוֹר מִתְּהִלִּים כְּדֵי שֶׁתָּגֵן עָלָיו זְכוּת קְרִיאָתָן וְיִנָּצֵל מִצָּרוֹת וּמִנְּזָקִים הֲרֵי זֶה מֻתָּר:

He who delivers a prayer of charm upon a wound and reads also a verse of the Torah thereon, likewise one who reads a Verse so that a babe shall suffer no fear, or who puts a Sepher Torah or phylacteries upon a child so that he might fall asleep, such are not alone included among the enchanters and charmers but are even included among those who deny the Torah, for they are employing the words of the Torah as a cure for the body, whereas they are not so but only remedies for the soul14New sects, claiming remedial elements for physical ailments in Judaism, calling it “science”, evidently disagree with Maimonides and the Talmud. Yet, let Israel study this text. For physical ailment we have medical science. G. even as it is said: "And they will (shall) be life for thy soul" (Pro. 3.22). But a normally healthy person who reads Verses of the Torah or chapters of the Psalms, so that the righteousness of reading it shield him to escape suffering and accidents, lo, this is permitted.15Ibid. 90a: 101a; Shubu’ot, 16b; Tosefta, Sanhedrin, Chapter, 12; Shabbat, 121b. C. G.

13 יג

אֵיזֶהוּ דּוֹרֵשׁ אֶל הַמֵּתִים זֶה הַמַּרְעִיב אֶת עַצְמוֹ וְהוֹלֵךְ וְלָן בְּבֵית הַקְּבָרוֹת כְּדֵי שֶׁיָּבוֹא מֵת בַּחֲלוֹם וְיוֹדִיעוֹ מַה שֶּׁשָּׁאַל עָלָיו. וְיֵשׁ אֲחֵרִים שֶׁהֵם לוֹבְשִׁים מַלְבּוּשִׁים יְדוּעִים וְאוֹמְרִים דְּבָרִים וּמַקְטִירִין קְטֹרֶת יְדוּעָה וִישֵׁנִים לְבַדָּן כְּדֵי שֶׁיָּבוֹא מֵת פְּלוֹנִי וִיסַפֵּר עִמּוֹ בַּחֲלוֹם. כְּלָלוֹ שֶׁל דָּבָר כָּל הָעוֹשֶׂה כְּדֵי שֶׁיָּבוֹא הַמֵּת וְיוֹדִיעוֹ לוֹקֶה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יח י) "לֹא יִמָּצֵא בְךָ מַעֲבִיר" וְגוֹ' (דברים יח יא) "וְדֹרֵשׁ אֶל הַמֵּתִים":

Who is a necromancer? He who starves himself and then proceeds to lodge on the cemetery so as to bring the dead up in his dream and make known to him what he would ask him for. And there are others who clothe themselves with certain garments, utter certain words, and burn certain incense, and sleep alone so that a certain deceased person come to converse with him in his dream. As a general rule in this matter: Whosoever commits an overt act in order to have the dead come and give him information is striped, for it is said: "There shall not be found among you…. or a necromancer" (Deut. 18.10–11).16Sanhedrin, 65b; Sifre, Deut. 18. C. G.

14 יד

אָסוּר לִשְׁאל בַּעַל אוֹב אוֹ בַּעַל יִדְּעֹנִי שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יח י) "לֹא יִמָּצֵא בְךָ מַעֲבִיר" וְגוֹ' (דברים יח יא) "וְשֹׁאֵל אוֹב וְיִדְּעֹנִי". נִמְצֵאתָ לָמֵד שֶׁבַּעַל אוֹב וְיִדְּעֹנִי עַצְמָן בִּסְקִילָה וְהַנִּשְׁאָל בָּהֶן בְּאַזְהָרָה וּמַכִּין אוֹתוֹ מַכַּת מַרְדּוּת. וְאִם כִּוֵּן מַעֲשָׂיו וְעָשָׂה כְּפִי מֵאֲמָרָן לוֹקֶה:

It is forbidden to consult a solicitor of ghosts or a solicitor of familiar spirits, for it is said: "There shall not be found among you…. or one that consulteth a ghost or a familiar spirit" (Ibid.). Find thyself instructed that a solicitor of ghosts or a solicitor of familiar spirits, themselves suffer the punishment of stoning, but their communicant violates an admonition who is punished after the manner of a rebel, unless he appointed his actions and did according to their charge, when he is striped17Ibid. G.

15 טו

הַמְכַשֵּׁף חַיָּב סְקִילָה וְהוּא שֶׁעָשָׂה מַעֲשֵׂה כְּשָׁפִים. אֲבָל הָאוֹחֵז אֶת הָעֵינַיִם וְהוּא שֶׁיֵּרָאֶה שֶׁעָשָׂה וְהוּא לֹא עָשָׂה לוֹקֶה מַכַּת מַרְדּוּת. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁלָּאו זֶה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בִּמְכַשֵּׁף בִּכְלַל (דברים יח י) "לֹא יִמָּצֵא בְךָ" הוּא וְלָאו שֶׁנִּתַּן לְאַזְהָרַת מִיתַת בֵּית דִּין הוּא וְאֵין לוֹקִין עָלָיו שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כב יז) "מְכַשֵּׁפָה לֹא תְחַיֶּה":

A sorcerer is guilty of an offense punishable by stoning, provided he committed an overt act of witchery but if he merely deludes the eyes by make-believe action which in reality is but juggling he is punished after the manner of a rebel, seeing that the prohibitive commandment against sorcery is included in the charge of, "There shall not be found among you etc." (Ibid.), which is a prohibitive devoted to admonish those who are put to death by a tribunal for the violation of which no stripes is inflicted, and that the punishment for an overt act is death is deducted from what it is said: "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" (Ex. 22.17)18Ibid. 53a and 67a. C.

16 טז

וּדְבָרִים הָאֵלּוּ כֻּלָּן דִּבְרֵי שֶׁקֶר וְכָזָב הֵן וְהֵם שֶׁהִטְעוּ בָּהֶן עוֹבְדֵי כּוֹכָבִים הַקַּדְמוֹנִים לְגוֹיֵי הָאֲרָצוֹת כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּנְהֲגוּ אַחֲרֵיהֶן. וְאֵין רָאוּי לְיִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁהֵם חֲכָמִים מְחֻכָּמִים לְהִמָּשֵׁךְ בַּהֲבָלִים אֵלּוּ וְלֹא לְהַעֲלוֹת עַל לֵב שֶׁיֵּשׁ תּוֹעֶלֶת בָּהֶן. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר כג כג) "כִּי לֹא נַחַשׁ בְּיַעֲקֹב וְלֹא קֶסֶם בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל". וְנֶאֱמַר (דברים יח יד) "כִּי הַגּוֹיִם הָאֵלֶּה אֲשֶׁר אַתָּה יוֹרֵשׁ אוֹתָם אֶל מְעֹנְנִים וְאֶל קֹסְמִים יִשְׁמָעוּ וְאַתָּה לֹא כֵן" וְגוֹ'. כָּל הַמַּאֲמִין בִּדְבָרִים הָאֵלּוּ וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן וּמְחַשֵּׁב בְּלִבּוֹ שֶׁהֵן אֱמֶת וּדְבַר חָכְמָה אֲבָל הַתּוֹרָה אֲסָרָתַן אֵינָן אֶלָּא מִן הַסְּכָלִים וּמְחֻסְּרֵי הַדַּעַת וּבִכְלַל הַנָּשִׁים וְהַקְּטַנִּים שֶׁאֵין דַּעְתָּן שְׁלֵמָה. אֲבָל בַּעֲלֵי הַחָכְמָה וּתְמִימֵי הַדַּעַת יֵדְעוּ בִּרְאָיוֹת בְּרוּרוֹת שֶׁכָּל אֵלּוּ הַדְּבָרִים שֶׁאָסְרָה תּוֹרָה אֵינָם דִּבְרֵי חָכְמָה אֶלָּא תֹּהוּ וְהֶבֶל שֶׁנִּמְשְׁכוּ בָּהֶן חַסְרֵי הַדַּעַת וְנָטְשׁוּ כָּל דַּרְכֵי הָאֱמֶת בִּגְלָלָן. וּמִפְּנֵי זֶה אָמְרָה תּוֹרָה כְּשֶׁהִזְהִירָה עַל כָּל אֵלּוּ הַהֲבָלִים (דברים יח יג) "תָּמִים תִּהְיֶה עִם ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ":

All of these things are false and spurious, and it was with such that the ancient idolaters misled the peoples of many lands so that they be following them. And it is unbecoming to Israel who are exceedingly wise to be attracted by these absurdities, nor to even imagine that they are of any consequence, even as it is said: "For there is no enchantment with Jacob, neither is there any divination with Israel" (Num. 23.23); and it is again said: "For these nations that thou art to dispossess, hearken unto soothsayers and unto diviners, but as for thee the Lord thy God hath not suffered thee so to do" (Deut. 18.14). Whosoever believes in these matters, and their like, and suppose that there is wisdom and truth in in them, save that the Torah disallowed them, such are none other save from among the foolish and ignorant and are to be included among women and children whose mind is not sound. But wise and sound-minded people know that all these matters which the Torah disallowed are not matters of wisdom but formless nonsense followed by senseless people for the sake of which they abandoned every path of truth. Even because thereof the Torah, in admonishing against all these vanities, commanded, saying: "Perfect shalt thou be with the Lord thy God" (Ibid. 18.13).19Shabbat, 67. G.