Ask A Breslover: Are Demons For Real?

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

Author: breslov.org

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1 Comment

  1. 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!!

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