The daughters of Israel burn incense for (purposes of) sorcery.
Berachoth, fol. 53, col. 1.
Ben Azai (son of impudence), says, ". . . he who seats himself and then feels . . . (which must not be explained), the effects of witchcraft, even when practiced in Spain, will come upon him. What is the remedy when one
forgets and first sits down and then feels? When he rises let him say, 'Not these and not of these not the witchcraft of sorcerers and not the sorcery of witches.'"
Berachoth, fol. 62, col. 1.
The daughters of Israel in later generations lapsed into the practice of witchcraft.
Eiruvin, fol. 64, col. 2.
Ameimar says, "The superior of the witches told me that when a person meets any of them he should mutter thus, 'May a potsherd of boiling dung be stuffed into your mouths, you ugly witches! May the hair with which you perform your sorcery be torn from your heads, so that ye become bald. May the wind scatter the crumbs wherewith ye do your divinations. May your spices be scattered and may the wind blow away the saffron you hold in your hands for the practicing of sorcery.'"
P'sachim, fol. 110, cols. 1, 2.
Yohanna, the daughter of Ratibi, was a widow, who bewitched women in their confinement.
See Rashi on Soteh, fol. 22, col. 1.
Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel, in the name of Rabbi Yehoshua, says, "Since the destruction of the Temple a day has not passed without a curse; the dew does not come down with a blessing, and the fruits have lost their proper taste." Rabbi Yossi adds, "Also the lusciousness of the fruit is gone." Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar says, "With the decay of purity the taste and aroma (of the fruit) has disappeared, and with the tithes and richness of the corn." The sages say, "lewdness and witchcraft ruin everything."
Soteh, fol. 48, col. 1.
A certain magician used to strip the dead of their shrouds. Once when he came to the tomb of Rav Tovi bar Mathna he was seized and held fast by the beard, but Abaii having interceded on behalf of his friend, the grip was let go and he was set at liberty. Next year he came again on the same errand, and again he was seized by the beard. This time Abaii's intercession was of no avail, and he was not liberated until they brought a pair of scissors and cut off his beard.
Bava Bathra, fol. 58, col. 1
None were allowed to sit in the Sanhedrin unless they had a knowledge of magic.
Sanhedrin, fol. 17, col. 1.
Rabbi Shimon said, "An enchanter is one who passeth the exudation of seven different sorts of male creatures over the eye." The sages say he is one who practices and palms off optical illusions. Rabbi Akiva says, "He is one who calculates times and hours, and says To-day is good to start on a journey, To-morrow will be a lucky day for selling, The year before the Sabbatical year is generally good for growing wheat, The pulling up of pease will preserve them from being spoiled." According to the Rabbis, "An enchanter is he who augurs ill when his bread drops from his mouth, or if he drops the stick that supports him from his hand, or if his son calls after him, or a crow caws in his hearing, or a deer crosses his path, or he sees a serpent at his right hand or a fox on his left, or if he says Lo the tax-gatherer, 'Do not begin with me the first in the morning'; or, 'It is the first of the month; or, 'It is the exit of the Sabbath,' i. e., the commencement of a new week."
Ibid., fol. 65, col. 2.
"By the term witch," the Rabbis say, "we are to understand either male or female." "If so," it is asked, "why the term 'witch,' in Exod. xxii. 18, in the Hebrew verse 17, is in the feminine gender?" "Because," it is answered, "most women are witches."
Ibid., fol. 67, col. 1.
If the proud (in Israel) were to cease, the magicians would also cease; as it is written (Isa. i. 25), "I will purge away thy dross and take away all thy tin."
Ibid., fol. 98, col. 1.
Among those who have no portion in the world to come is he who read,, the books of the strangers, foreign books, books of outsiders. See also Sanhedrin, fol. 90, col. 1. Now Rav Yoseph says, 'It is unlawful to read the Book of the Son of Sirach, . . . because it is written therein (Ecclesiasticus xlii. 9, etc., as quoted, or rather misquoted, in the Talmud), 'A daughter is a false treasure to her father: because of anxiety for her he cannot sleep at night; when she is young, for fear she should be seduced; in her virginity lest she play the harlot; in her marriageable age,
lest she should not get married; and when married, lest she should be childless; and when grown old, lest she practice witchcraft.'"
Sanhedrin, fol. 100, col. 2.
He who multiplieth wives multiplieth witchcraft.
Avoth, chap. 2.
Most donkey-drivers are wicked, but most sailors are pious. The best physicians are destined for hell, the most upright butcher is a partner of Amalek. Bastards are mostly cunning, and servants mostly handsome. Those who are well-descended are bashful, and children mostly resemble their mother's brother. Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai bids us "kill the best of Gentiles" (modern editions qualify this by adding, in time of war), "and smash the head of the best of serpents." "The best among women," he says, "is a witch." Blessed is he who does the will of God!
Sophrim, chap. 15, hal. 10.
On the Sabbath one may carry a grasshopper's egg as a charm against earache, the tooth of a living fox to promote sleep, the tooth of a dead fox to prevent sleep, and the nail of one crucified (as a remedy) for inflammation or swelling. For cutaneous disorders he is to repeat Baz Baziah, Mass Massiah, Cass Cassiah, Sharlaii, and Amarlaii (names of angels), etc. . . . As the mules do not in crease and multiply, so may the skin disease not increase and spread upon the body of N., the son of the woman N., etc.
Shabbath, fol. 67, col. 1.
"For night-blindness, let a man take a hair-rope and bind one end of it to his own leg and the other to a dog's, then let children clatter a potsherd after him, and call out, 'Old man! dog! fool! cock!' Let him now collect seven pieces of meat from seven (different) houses; let him set them on the cross-bar of the threshold, then let him eat them on the town middens; and after that let him undo the hair-rope, then let him say thus: 'Blindness of So-and-so, son of Mrs. So-and-so, leave So-and-so, son of Mrs. So-and-so, and be brushed into the pupil of the eye of the dog.'" (Quoted from "The Fragment," by Rev. W. H. Lowe of Cambridge.)
Gittin, fol. 69, col. 1.
According to the Rabbis, a man should not drink water by night, for thus he exposes himself to the power of Shavriri, the demon of blindness. What then should he do if he is thirsty? If there be another man with him, let him rouse him up and say, 'I am thirsty;' but if he be alone, let him tap upon the lid of the jug (to make the demon fancy there's some one with him), and addressing himself by his own name and the name of his mother, let him say, 'Thy mother has bid thee beware of Shavriri, vriri, riri, iri, ri," in a white cup. Rashi says by this incantation the demon gradually contracts and vanishes as the sounds of the word Shavriri decrease.
Avodah Zarah, fol. 12, col. 2.
A python is a familiar spirit who speaks from his armpits; a wizard is one who speaks with the mouth. As the Rabbis have taught, a familiar spirit is one who speaks from his joints and his wrists; a wizard is one who, putting a certain bone into his mouth, causes it to speak.
Sanhedrin, fol. 65, cols. 1, 2.
He who says to a raven "Croak," and to a hen raven, "Droop thy tail and turn it this way as a lucky sign," is an imitator of the ways of the Amorites (Lev. xviii. 3).
Shabbath, fol. 67, col. 2.
Women going out on the Sabbath-day are allowed, as the Rabbis teach, to carry with them a certain stone believed to counteract abortion.
Abaii interrupts his exposition of this Halachah in order to enumerate certain antidotes to chronic fever which, he says, he had learned from his mother. Take a new zouz and then procure its weight in sea-salt; hang this round the neck, suspended by a papyrus fibre, so that it may rest just in the hollow in front. If this does not answer, go where two or more roads meet and watch for the first big ant that is going home loaded; lay hold of it and place it in a brass tube; stop up the end of the tube with lead, putting as many seals upon it as possible; then shake it, saying the while, "My load be upon thee, and thine upon me." To this Rav Acha, the son of Rav Hunna, objected to Rav Ashi, and asked, "Might not the ant have
been already laden with another man's fever?" "True," observed the other; "nevertheless let him say, 'My load be upon thee as well as thine own.'" If this be not effective, then take a new earthenware pot, and going to the nearest stream, say, "Stream, stream, lend me a pot full of water for one who is on a visit to me." Wave it seven times round thy head and then throw the water back again, saying, "Stream, stream, take back thy borrowed water for my guest came and went the same day."
Rav Hunna then adds a prescription for a tertian fever, and Rabbi Yochanan gives the following as effective against a burning fever:--Take an iron knife, and having fastened a papyrus fibre to the nearest bramble, cut off a piece and say, "And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire," etc., as in Exod. iii. 2. On the morrow cut off another piece and say, "The Lord saw that he (the fever) turned aside;" then upon the third day say, "Draw not hither," and stooping down, pray, "Bush, bush! the Holy One--blessed be He!--caused His Shechinah to lodge upon thee, not because thou art the loftiest, for thou art the lowest of all trees; and as when thou didst see the fire of Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, thou didst flee therefrom, so see the fire (fever) of this sufferer and flee from it."
Shabbath, fol. 66, col. 2, etc.
Rabba once created a man (out of dust) and sent him to Rabbi Zira, who having addressed the figure and received no answer, said, "Thou art (made) by witchcraft; return to thy native dust." Rav Chaneanah and Rav Oshayah sat together every Sabbath-eve studying the book Yetzirah (i. e., the book of Creation), until they were able to create for themselves a calf (as large as a) three-year old, and they did eat thereof.
Sanhedrin, fol. 65, col. 2.
Yannai once turned in to a certain inn, and asked for water to drink, when they gave him (Shethitha, i. e., water mixed with flour). He noticed that the lips of the woman who brought it moved (and so suspecting that something was wrong), he poured out a little of it and it became scorpions. He then said, 'I have drunk of thine, now thou shalt drink of mine." The woman drank and
was transformed into an ass, which he mounted and rode to the market-place. One of her companions having come up, broke the spell, and the ass he had ridden was on the spot transformed back again into a woman. In reference to the above, Rashi naively remarks that "we are not to suppose that Yannai was a Rabbi, for he was not held in esteem, because he practiced witchcraft." But Rashi is mistaken; see Sophrim, chap. 16, hal. 6.
Sanhedrin, fol. 67, col. 2.
Ten measures of witchcraft came into the world; Egypt received nine measures, and the rest of the world one.
Kiddushin, fol. 49, col. 2.
The Rabbis say that on the Sabbath serpents and scorpions may be tamed by charming; that a metal ring, such as may be carried on the Sabbath, may be applied as a remedy to a sore eye; but that demons may not be consulted on that day about lost property. Rabbi Yossi has said, "This ought not to be done even on week-days." Rav Hunna says, "The Halachah does not enjoin as Rabbi Yossi says, and even he prohibits it only because of the risk there is in consulting demons. For instance, Rav Yitzchak bar Yoseph was once desperately delivered from the attacks of a vicious demon by a cedar-tree opening of its own accord and enclosing him in its trunk."
Sanhedrin, fol. 101, col. 1.
Rabbi Yochanan ben Zachai acquired a knowledge of the language of angels and demons for purposes of incantation.
Bava Bathra, fol. 134, col. 1.
"Neither shall ye use enchantments' . . . (Lev. xix. 26). Such, for instance, as those practiced with cats, fowls, and fishes.
Sanhedrin, fol. 66, col. 1.
Rav Ketina happened once, in his travels, to hear the noise of an earthquake just as he came opposite to the abode of one who was wont to conjure with human bones. Happening to mutter aloud to himself as he passed, "Does the conjurer really know what that noise is?" a voice answered, "Ketina, Ketina, why shouldn't I know? When the Holy One--blessed be He!--thinks of His children who dwell in sorrowful circumstances among the nations of
the earth, He lets fall two tears into the great sea, and His voice is heard from one end of the world to the other, and that is the rumbling noise we hear." Upon which Rav Ketina protested, "The conjurer is a liar, his words are not true; they might have been true, had there been two rumbling noises." The fact was, two such noises were heard, but Rav Ketina would not acknowledge it, lest, by so doing, he should increase the popularity of the conjurer. Rav Ketina is of the opinion that the rumbling noise is caused by God clapping His hands together, as it is said (Ezek. xxi. 22; A. V., ver. 17), "I will also smite My hands together, and I will cause My fury to rest."
Berachoth, fol. 59, col. 1.