(כז) וְאִ֣ישׁ אֽוֹ־אִשָּׁ֗ה כִּֽי־יִהְיֶ֨ה בָהֶ֥ם א֛וֹב א֥וֹ יִדְּעֹנִ֖י מ֣וֹת יוּמָ֑תוּ בָּאֶ֛בֶן יִרְגְּמ֥וּ אֹתָ֖ם דְּמֵיהֶ֥ם בָּֽם׃ (פ)
(27) A man also or a woman that divineth by a ghost or a familiar spirit, shall surely be put to death; they shall stone them with stones; their blood shall be upon them.
(ט) כִּ֤י אַתָּה֙ בָּ֣א אֶל־הָאָ֔רֶץ אֲשֶׁר־יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ נֹתֵ֣ן לָ֑ךְ לֹֽא־תִלְמַ֣ד לַעֲשׂ֔וֹת כְּתוֹעֲבֹ֖ת הַגּוֹיִ֥ם הָהֵֽם׃ (י) לֹֽא־יִמָּצֵ֣א בְךָ֔ מַעֲבִ֥יר בְּנֽוֹ־וּבִתּ֖וֹ בָּאֵ֑שׁ קֹסֵ֣ם קְסָמִ֔ים מְעוֹנֵ֥ן וּמְנַחֵ֖שׁ וּמְכַשֵּֽׁף׃ (יא) וְחֹבֵ֖ר חָ֑בֶר וְשֹׁאֵ֥ל אוֹב֙ וְיִדְּעֹנִ֔י וְדֹרֵ֖שׁ אֶל־הַמֵּתִֽים׃ (יב) כִּֽי־תוֹעֲבַ֥ת יְהוָ֖ה כָּל־עֹ֣שֵׂה אֵ֑לֶּה וּבִגְלַל֙ הַתּוֹעֵבֹ֣ת הָאֵ֔לֶּה יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ מוֹרִ֥ישׁ אוֹתָ֖ם מִפָּנֶֽיךָ׃ (יג) תָּמִ֣ים תִּֽהְיֶ֔ה עִ֖ם יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶֽיךָ׃ (ס)
(9) When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. (10) There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, one that useth divination, a soothsayer, or an enchanter, or a sorcerer, (11) or a charmer, or one that consulteth a ghost or a familiar spirit, or a necromancer. (12) For whosoever doeth these things is an abomination unto the LORD; and because of these abominations the LORD thy God is driving them out from before thee. (13) Thou shalt be whole-hearted with the LORD thy God.
(ח) וַיֹּ֣אמֶר יְהוָ֔ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֥ה וְאֶֽל־אַהֲרֹ֖ן לֵאמֹֽר׃ (ט) כִּי֩ יְדַבֵּ֨ר אֲלֵכֶ֤ם פַּרְעֹה֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר תְּנ֥וּ לָכֶ֖ם מוֹפֵ֑ת וְאָמַרְתָּ֣ אֶֽל־אַהֲרֹ֗ן קַ֧ח אֶֽת־מַטְּךָ֛ וְהַשְׁלֵ֥ךְ לִפְנֵֽי־פַרְעֹ֖ה יְהִ֥י לְתַנִּֽין׃ (י) וַיָּבֹ֨א מֹשֶׁ֤ה וְאַהֲרֹן֙ אֶל־פַּרְעֹ֔ה וַיַּ֣עַשׂוּ כֵ֔ן כַּאֲשֶׁ֖ר צִוָּ֣ה יְהוָ֑ה וַיַּשְׁלֵ֨ךְ אַהֲרֹ֜ן אֶת־מַטֵּ֗הוּ לִפְנֵ֥י פַרְעֹ֛ה וְלִפְנֵ֥י עֲבָדָ֖יו וַיְהִ֥י לְתַנִּֽין׃ (יא) וַיִּקְרָא֙ גַּם־פַּרְעֹ֔ה לַֽחֲכָמִ֖ים וְלַֽמְכַשְּׁפִ֑ים וַיַּֽעֲשׂ֨וּ גַם־הֵ֜ם חַרְטֻמֵּ֥י מִצְרַ֛יִם בְּלַהֲטֵיהֶ֖ם כֵּֽן׃ (יב) וַיַּשְׁלִ֙יכוּ֙ אִ֣ישׁ מַטֵּ֔הוּ וַיִּהְי֖וּ לְתַנִּינִ֑ם וַיִּבְלַ֥ע מַטֵּֽה־אַהֲרֹ֖ן אֶת־מַטֹּתָֽם׃
(8) And the LORD spoke unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying: (9) ’When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying: Show a wonder for you; then thou shalt say unto Aaron: Take thy rod, and cast it down before Pharaoh, that it become a serpent.’ (10) And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so, as the LORD had commanded; and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a serpent. (11) Then Pharaoh also called for the wise men and the sorcerers; and they also, the magicians of Egypt, did in like manner with their secret arts. (12) For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents; but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.
(ג) וּשְׁמוּאֵ֣ל מֵ֔ת וַיִּסְפְּדוּ־לוֹ֙ כָּל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וַיִּקְבְּרֻ֥הוּ בָרָמָ֖ה וּבְעִיר֑וֹ וְשָׁא֗וּל הֵסִ֛יר הָאֹב֥וֹת וְאֶת־הַיִּדְּעֹנִ֖ים מֵהָאָֽרֶץ׃ (ד) וַיִּקָּבְצ֣וּ פְלִשְׁתִּ֔ים וַיָּבֹ֖אוּ וַיַּחֲנ֣וּ בְשׁוּנֵ֑ם וַיִּקְבֹּ֤ץ שָׁאוּל֙ אֶת־כָּל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וַֽיַּחֲנ֖וּ בַּגִּלְבֹּֽעַ׃ (ה) וַיַּ֥רְא שָׁא֖וּל אֶת־מַחֲנֵ֣ה פְלִשְׁתִּ֑ים וַיִּרָ֕א וַיֶּחֱרַ֥ד לִבּ֖וֹ מְאֹֽד׃ (ו) וַיִּשְׁאַ֤ל שָׁאוּל֙ בַּֽיהוָ֔ה וְלֹ֥א עָנָ֖הוּ יְהוָ֑ה גַּ֧ם בַּחֲלֹמ֛וֹת גַּ֥ם בָּאוּרִ֖ים גַּ֥ם בַּנְּבִיאִֽם׃ (ז) וַיֹּ֨אמֶר שָׁא֜וּל לַעֲבָדָ֗יו בַּקְּשׁוּ־לִי֙ אֵ֣שֶׁת בַּעֲלַת־א֔וֹב וְאֵלְכָ֥ה אֵלֶ֖יהָ וְאֶדְרְשָׁה־בָּ֑הּ וַיֹּאמְר֤וּ עֲבָדָיו֙ אֵלָ֔יו הִנֵּ֛ה אֵ֥שֶׁת בַּֽעֲלַת־א֖וֹב בְּעֵ֥ין דּֽוֹר׃ (ח) וַיִּתְחַפֵּ֣שׂ שָׁא֗וּל וַיִּלְבַּשׁ֙ בְּגָדִ֣ים אֲחֵרִ֔ים וַיֵּ֣לֶךְ ה֗וּא וּשְׁנֵ֤י אֲנָשִׁים֙ עִמּ֔וֹ וַיָּבֹ֥אוּ אֶל־הָאִשָּׁ֖ה לָ֑יְלָה וַיֹּ֗אמֶר קסומי־[קָֽסֳמִי־] נָ֥א לִי֙ בָּא֔וֹב וְהַ֣עֲלִי לִ֔י אֵ֥ת אֲשֶׁר־אֹמַ֖ר אֵלָֽיִךְ׃ (ט) וַתֹּ֨אמֶר הָֽאִשָּׁ֜ה אֵלָ֗יו הִנֵּ֨ה אַתָּ֤ה יָדַ֙עְתָּ֙ אֵ֣ת אֲשֶׁר־עָשָׂ֣ה שָׁא֔וּל אֲשֶׁ֥ר הִכְרִ֛ית אֶת־הָאֹב֥וֹת וְאֶת־הַיִּדְּעֹנִ֖י מִן־הָאָ֑רֶץ וְלָמָ֥ה אַתָּ֛ה מִתְנַקֵּ֥שׁ בְּנַפְשִׁ֖י לַהֲמִיתֵֽנִי׃ (י) וַיִּשָּׁ֤בַֽע לָהּ֙ שָׁא֔וּל בַּֽיהוָ֖ה לֵאמֹ֑ר חַי־יְהוָ֕ה אִֽם־יִקְּרֵ֥ךְ עָוֺ֖ן בַּדָּבָ֥ר הַזֶּֽה׃ (יא) וַתֹּ֙אמֶר֙ הָֽאִשָּׁ֔ה אֶת־מִ֖י אַֽעֲלֶה־לָּ֑ךְ וַיֹּ֕אמֶר אֶת־שְׁמוּאֵ֖ל הַֽעֲלִי־לִֽי׃ (יב) וַתֵּ֤רֶא הָֽאִשָּׁה֙ אֶת־שְׁמוּאֵ֔ל וַתִּזְעַ֖ק בְּק֣וֹל גָּד֑וֹל וַתֹּאמֶר֩ הָאִשָּׁ֨ה אֶל־שָׁא֧וּל לֵאמֹ֛ר לָ֥מָּה רִמִּיתָ֖נִי וְאַתָּ֥ה שָׁאֽוּל׃ (יג) וַיֹּ֨אמֶר לָ֥הּ הַמֶּ֛לֶךְ אַל־תִּֽירְאִ֖י כִּ֣י מָ֣ה רָאִ֑ית וַתֹּ֤אמֶר הָֽאִשָּׁה֙ אֶל־שָׁא֔וּל אֱלֹהִ֥ים רָאִ֖יתִי עֹלִ֥ים מִן־הָאָֽרֶץ׃ (יד) וַיֹּ֤אמֶר לָהּ֙ מַֽה־תָּאֳר֔וֹ וַתֹּ֗אמֶר אִ֤ישׁ זָקֵן֙ עֹלֶ֔ה וְה֥וּא עֹטֶ֖ה מְעִ֑יל וַיֵּ֤דַע שָׁאוּל֙ כִּֽי־שְׁמוּאֵ֣ל ה֔וּא וַיִּקֹּ֥ד אַפַּ֛יִם אַ֖רְצָה וַיִּשְׁתָּֽחוּ׃ (ס) (טו) וַיֹּ֤אמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל֙ אֶל־שָׁא֔וּל לָ֥מָּה הִרְגַּזְתַּ֖נִי לְהַעֲל֣וֹת אֹתִ֑י וַיֹּ֣אמֶר שָׁ֠אוּל צַר־לִ֨י מְאֹ֜ד וּפְלִשְׁתִּ֣ים ׀ נִלְחָמִ֣ים בִּ֗י וֵֽאלֹהִ֞ים סָ֤ר מֵֽעָלַי֙ וְלֹֽא־עָנָ֣נִי ע֗וֹד גַּ֤ם בְּיַֽד־הַנְּבִיאִם֙ גַּם־בַּ֣חֲלֹמ֔וֹת וָאֶקְרָאֶ֣ה לְךָ֔ לְהוֹדִיעֵ֖נִי מָ֥ה אֶעֱשֶֽׂה׃ (ס) (טז) וַיֹּ֣אמֶר שְׁמוּאֵ֔ל וְלָ֖מָּה תִּשְׁאָלֵ֑נִי וַיהוָ֛ה סָ֥ר מֵעָלֶ֖יךָ וַיְהִ֥י עָרֶֽךָ׃ (יז) וַיַּ֤עַשׂ יְהוָה֙ ל֔וֹ כַּאֲשֶׁ֖ר דִּבֶּ֣ר בְּיָדִ֑י וַיִּקְרַ֨ע יְהוָ֤ה אֶת־הַמַּמְלָכָה֙ מִיָּדֶ֔ךָ וַֽיִּתְּנָ֖הּ לְרֵעֲךָ֥ לְדָוִֽד׃ (יח) כַּאֲשֶׁ֤ר לֹֽא־שָׁמַ֙עְתָּ֙ בְּק֣וֹל יְהוָ֔ה וְלֹֽא־עָשִׂ֥יתָ חֲרוֹן־אַפּ֖וֹ בַּעֲמָלֵ֑ק עַל־כֵּן֙ הַדָּבָ֣ר הַזֶּ֔ה עָשָֽׂה־לְךָ֥ יְהוָ֖ה הַיּ֥וֹם הַזֶּֽה׃ (יט) וְיִתֵּ֣ן יְ֠הוָה גַּ֣ם אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֤ל עִמְּךָ֙ בְּיַד־פְּלִשְׁתִּ֔ים וּמָחָ֕ר אַתָּ֥ה וּבָנֶ֖יךָ עִמִּ֑י גַּ֚ם אֶת־מַחֲנֵ֣ה יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל יִתֵּ֥ן יְהוָ֖ה בְּיַד־פְּלִשְׁתִּֽים׃ (כ) וַיְמַהֵ֣ר שָׁא֗וּל וַיִּפֹּ֤ל מְלֹא־קֽוֹמָתוֹ֙ אַ֔רְצָה וַיִּרָ֥א מְאֹ֖ד מִדִּבְרֵ֣י שְׁמוּאֵ֑ל גַּם־כֹּ֙חַ֙ לֹא־הָ֣יָה ב֔וֹ כִּ֣י לֹ֤א אָכַל֙ לֶ֔חֶם כָּל־הַיּ֖וֹם וְכָל־הַלָּֽיְלָה׃ (כא) וַתָּב֤וֹא הָֽאִשָּׁה֙ אֶל־שָׁא֔וּל וַתֵּ֖רֶא כִּי־נִבְהַ֣ל מְאֹ֑ד וַתֹּ֣אמֶר אֵלָ֗יו הִנֵּ֨ה שָׁמְעָ֤ה שִׁפְחָֽתְךָ֙ בְּקוֹלֶ֔ךָ וָאָשִׂ֤ים נַפְשִׁי֙ בְּכַפִּ֔י וָֽאֶשְׁמַע֙ אֶת־דְּבָרֶ֔יךָ אֲשֶׁ֥ר דִּבַּ֖רְתָּ אֵלָֽי׃ (כב) וְעַתָּ֗ה שְׁמַֽע־נָ֤א גַם־אַתָּה֙ בְּק֣וֹל שִׁפְחָתֶ֔ךָ וְאָשִׂ֧מָה לְפָנֶ֛יךָ פַּת־לֶ֖חֶם וֶאֱכ֑וֹל וִיהִ֤י בְךָ֙ כֹּ֔חַ כִּ֥י תֵלֵ֖ךְ בַּדָּֽרֶךְ׃ (כג) וַיְמָאֵ֗ן וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ לֹ֣א אֹכַ֔ל וַיִּפְרְצוּ־ב֤וֹ עֲבָדָיו֙ וְגַם־הָ֣אִשָּׁ֔ה וַיִּשְׁמַ֖ע לְקֹלָ֑ם וַיָּ֙קָם֙ מֵֽהָאָ֔רֶץ וַיֵּ֖שֶׁב אֶל־הַמִּטָּֽה׃ (כד) וְלָאִשָּׁ֤ה עֵֽגֶל־מַרְבֵּק֙ בַּבַּ֔יִת וַתְּמַהֵ֖ר וַתִּזְבָּחֵ֑הוּ וַתִּקַּח־קֶ֣מַח וַתָּ֔לָשׁ וַתֹּפֵ֖הוּ מַצּֽוֹת׃ (כה) וַתַּגֵּ֧שׁ לִפְנֵֽי־שָׁא֛וּל וְלִפְנֵ֥י עֲבָדָ֖יו וַיֹּאכֵ֑לוּ וַיָּקֻ֥מוּ וַיֵּלְכ֖וּ בַּלַּ֥יְלָה הַהֽוּא׃ (פ)
(3) Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him, and buried him in Ramah, even in his own city. And Saul had put away those that divined by a ghost or a familiar spirit out of the land. (4) And the Philistines gathered themselves together, and came and pitched in Shunem; and Saul gathered all Israel together, and they pitched in Gilboa. (5) And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly. (6) And when Saul inquired of the LORD, the LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets. (7) Then said Saul unto his servants: ‘Seek me a woman that divineth by a ghost, that I may go to her, and inquire of her.’ And his servants said to him: ‘Behold, there is a woman that divineth by a ghost at En-dor.’ (8) And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and went, he and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night; and he said: ‘Divine unto me, I pray thee, by a ghost, and bring me up whomsoever I shall name unto thee.’ (9) And the woman said unto him: ‘Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that divine by a ghost or a familiar spirit out of the land; wherefore then layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die?’ (10) And Saul swore to her by the LORD, saying: ‘As the LORD liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing.’ (11) Then said the woman: ‘Whom shall I bring up unto thee?’ And he said: ‘Bring me up Samuel.’ (12) And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice; and the woman spoke to Saul, saying: ‘Why hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul.’ (13) And the king said unto her: ‘Be not afraid; for what seest thou?’ And the woman said unto Saul: ‘I see a godlike being coming up out of the earth.’ (14) And he said unto her: ‘What form is he of?’ And she said: ‘An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a robe.’ And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he bowed with his face to the ground, and prostrated himself. (15) And Samuel said to Saul: ‘Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up?’ And Saul answered: ‘I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams; therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do.’ (16) And Samuel said: ‘Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the LORD is departed from thee, and is become thine adversary? (17) And the LORD hath wrought for Himself; as He spoke by me; and the LORD hath rent the kingdom out of thy hand, and given it to thy neighbour, even to David. (18) Because thou didst not hearken to the voice of the LORD, and didst not execute His fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the LORD done this thing unto thee this day. (19) Moreover the LORD will deliver Israel also with thee into the hand of the Philistines; and to-morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me; the LORD will deliver the host of Israel also into the hand of the Philistines.’ (20) Then Saul fell straightway his full length upon the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel; and there was no strength in him; for he had eaten no bread all the day, nor all the night. (21) And the woman came unto Saul, and saw that he was sore affrighted, and said unto him: ‘Behold, thy handmaid hath hearkened unto thy voice, and I have put my life in my hand, and have hearkened unto thy words which thou spokest unto me. (22) Now therefore, I pray thee, hearken thou also unto the voice of thy handmaid, and let me set a morsel of bread before thee; and eat, that thou mayest have strength, when thou goest on thy way.’ (23) But he refused, and said: ‘I will not eat.’ But his servants, together with the woman, urged him; and he hearkened unto their voice. So he arose from the earth, and sat upon the bed. (24) And the woman had a fatted calf in the house; and she made haste, and killed it; and she took flour, and kneaded it, and did bake unleavened bread thereof; (25) and she brought it before Saul, and before his servants; and they did eat. Then they rose up, and went away that night.
(א) בֶּן־שְׁתֵּ֨ים עֶשְׂרֵ֤ה שָׁנָה֙ מְנַשֶּׁ֣ה בְמָלְכ֔וֹ וַחֲמִשִּׁ֤ים וְחָמֵשׁ֙ שָׁנָ֔ה מָלַ֖ךְ בִּירוּשָׁלִָ֑ם וְשֵׁ֥ם אִמּ֖וֹ חֶפְצִי־בָֽהּ׃ (ב) וַיַּ֥עַשׂ הָרַ֖ע בְּעֵינֵ֣י יְהוָ֑ה כְּתֽוֹעֲבֹת֙ הַגּוֹיִ֔ם אֲשֶׁר֙ הוֹרִ֣ישׁ יְהוָ֔ה מִפְּנֵ֖י בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ (ג) וַיָּ֗שָׁב וַיִּ֙בֶן֙ אֶת־הַבָּמ֔וֹת אֲשֶׁ֥ר אִבַּ֖ד חִזְקִיָּ֣הוּ אָבִ֑יו וַיָּ֨קֶם מִזְבְּחֹ֜ת לַבַּ֗עַל וַיַּ֤עַשׂ אֲשֵׁרָה֙ כַּאֲשֶׁ֣ר עָשָׂ֗ה אַחְאָב֙ מֶ֣לֶךְ יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וַיִּשְׁתַּ֙חוּ֙ לְכָל־צְבָ֣א הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם וַֽיַּעֲבֹ֖ד אֹתָֽם׃ (ד) וּבָנָ֥ה מִזְבְּחֹ֖ת בְּבֵ֣ית יְהוָ֑ה אֲשֶׁר֙ אָמַ֣ר יְהוָ֔ה בִּירוּשָׁלִַ֖ם אָשִׂ֥ים אֶת־שְׁמִֽי׃ (ה) וַיִּ֥בֶן מִזְבְּח֖וֹת לְכָל־צְבָ֣א הַשָּׁמָ֑יִם בִּשְׁתֵּ֖י חַצְר֥וֹת בֵּית־יְהוָֽה׃ (ו) וְהֶעֱבִ֤יר אֶת־בְּנוֹ֙ בָּאֵ֔שׁ וְעוֹנֵ֣ן וְנִחֵ֔שׁ וְעָ֥שָׂה א֖וֹב וְיִדְּעֹנִ֑ים הִרְבָּ֗ה לַעֲשׂ֥וֹת הָרַ֛ע בְּעֵינֵ֥י יְהוָ֖ה לְהַכְעִֽיס׃
(1) Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign; and he reigned five and fifty years in Jerusalem; and his mother’s name was Hephzi-bah. (2) And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, after the abominations of the nations, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel. (3) For he built again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he reared up altars for Baal, and made an Asherah, as did Ahab king of Israel, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them. (4) And he built altars in the house of the LORD, whereof the LORD said: ‘In Jerusalem will I put My name.’ (5) And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. (6) And he made his son to pass through the fire, and practised soothsaying, and used enchantments, and appointed them that divined by a ghost or a familiar spirit: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him.
MISHNA / TALMUD SOURCES
R. Simeon ben Shetah (the nasi, head of the Sanhedrin) hanged eighty witches in Ashkelon, these being women who had lived in a single cave and who had "harmed the world".
(Talmud Yerushalmi Hagigah 2:2 77d)
None were allowed to sit in the Sanhedrin unless they had knowledge of magic.
Rab said to R. Hiyya: 'I myself saw an Arabian traveler take a sword and cut up a camel; then he rang a bell, at which the camelarose.' He replied, 'After that, was there any blood or dung? But that was merely an illusion.'... Ze'iri happened to go to Alexandria in Egypt and bought an ass. When he was about to water it, it dissolved, and there stood before him a landing board...
Jannai came to an inn. He said to them, ‘Give me a drink of water,' and they offered him shattitha. Seeing the lips of the woman [who brought him this] moving, he [covertly] spilled a little thereof, which turned to snakes. Then he said, 'As I have drunk of yours, now do you come and drink of mine.' So he gave her to drink, and she was turned into an ass.
Abaye said: The laws of sorcerers are like those of the Sabbath: certain actions are punished by stoning, some are exempt from punishment, yet forbidden, whilst others are entirely permitted. Thus: if one actually performs magic, he is stoned; if he merely creates an illusion, he is exempt, yet it is forbidden; whilst what is entirely permitted? — Such as was performed by R. Hanina and R. Oshaia, who spent every Sabbath eve in studying the Laws of Creation, by means of which they created a third-grown calf and ate it...
(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 the above matters are falsehood and lies with which the original idolaters deceived the gentile nations in order to lead them after them. It is not fitting for the Jews who are wise sages to be drawn into such emptiness, nor to consider that they have any value as [implied by Numbers 23:23]: "No black magic can be found among Jacob, or occult arts within Israel." Similarly, [Deuteronomy 18:14] states: "These nations which you are driving out listen to astrologers and diviners. This is not [what God... has granted] you."
Whoever believes in [occult arts] of this nature and, in his heart, thinks that they are true and words of wisdom, but are forbidden by the Torah, is foolish and feebleminded. He is considered like women and children who have underdeveloped intellects.
The masters of wisdom and those of perfect knowledge know with clear proof that all these crafts which the Torah forbade are not reflections of wisdom, but rather, emptiness and vanity which attracted the feebleminded and caused them to abandon all the paths of truth. For these reasons, when the Torah warned against all these empty matters, it advised [Deuteronomy 18:13]: "Be of perfect faith with God, your Lord."
(Rambam, Hilchot Avoda Zara 11:16)
"The act of necromancy is nonsense, lies, and ridiculous…the story of Samuel and Saul never, G-d forbid, was real, and Samuel never rose from his grave. The woman did it all through trickery…" This is the commentary of the gaon Rav Shmuel the son of Chofni (d. 1013), and he said this even though it can be implied from the words of the sages OBM in the Gemara that the woman truly did revive Samuel. He did not accept what was written there, for there are those who use reason to deny it.”
(Rabbi David Kimchi [Radak] on Shmuel I, 28:24)
And I say that in His Divine mercy, from the start of Creation He invented for His world things to help His creations. For if something should happen, like illnesses and the like...there should be that which could return them to their former state or heal them. And these forces are actually available in nature, like drugs which are known to scholars of medicine, or natural remedies [amulets, incantations, sorcery…] which logic cannot explain.
(Responsa of the Rashba, part one, section 413)
All those who came after him disagreed with [Maimonides], for there are many incantations mentioned in the Talmud. But he was drawn to philosophy, and that is why he wrote that sorcery and holy names and incantations and demons and amulets are all false. But he had already been hit over the head about this, for we have seen many incidents in the Gemara using holy names and sorcery. Philosophy has influenced him [Maimonides], by the magnitude of its teachings, to interpret the Gemara as analogy and take it out of its plain meaning, G-d forbid. I do not believe in them [philosophers] or their great numbers. Everything is as its plain meaning, but it contains an inner element -- not the inner element of philosophy, which is truly external, but that of the masters of truth.
(The Gaon of Vilna's commentary on Yoreh Deah 179:13)
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT…
One who burns incense for the demons to draw them close and to gather them or to force them to do his will, is as one who consults ghosts and he is liable to death by stoning…but one who burns incense for the demons to keep them from him is, it seems, acting in a permissible way.
(Responsa of the Ridbaz, part three 405, by Rabbi David the son of Shlomo Ibn Zimra, b. 1479, Spain, d. 1573, Tzfat)