- Dear Mesora,
- I read some of your content on the net. I understand your worthy
intentions. You should also be careful and sensitive at the same time.
I agree that nowadays people are commercializing everything and we
should down play and even remove supermarket Kabbalah. Americans want
everything in an instant and that's just not the way it works.
- Meanwhile, you should not put other Yidden who are Yire Shamayim in
the category of Baalei Avodah Zorah, Chas V' Shalom! The red string is
accepted by Rov Klal Yisrael as a segulah against Ayin Harah. Kameyas
were in use before the time of the Mishna. Rav Yaakov Emden, Zt"l
was all for such things when used in the proper context.
- Physical things can help bring about spiritual change. The Rambam
would deny that Moishe Rabbeinu was 10 Amos tall, but the Vilna Gaon
lambasted him for that. The Rambam was not the Rishon to choose when
discussing these matters. The Rambam had to be very careful about what
he said. His Seforim were being put in Chairem and later burnt by
decree of the Gadol HaDor, Rebbeinu Yonah....who later wrote Shaarei
Tshuvah, out of regret for what he did.
- Nonetheless, many others, including, the Ramban Hakodesh, the Ari
Z"l, the Sefer Hatemunah, the Raivid, the Maharal, the Noda
B'Yehuda, and the Vilna Gaon (to name a few) disagreed with the Rambam
on such matters.
- We don't like what some people, cults, etc...are doing with our Holy
Torah; but we should be careful not to cast aside good Yidden who are
doing no wrong when they wear red strings from Kever Rachel (and old
Yerushalmi custom) or from wherever, or if they wear a Kameah written
by a Chacham, or renown Tzadik. Many Yishiva Leit and Chasidim conduct
themselves accordingly; and so be it. Dayin Fisher, ZT"L of the
Badatz-Aida Chereidas was very much involved in segulahs that were
accepted over the millennia.
- It is patently wrong of you to assume why the Rambam wrote what he
did, other than for the purest reason: To teach what he felt was
correct according to the Torah. He did not restrain his views for fear
of unpopular opinion or future book burnings. He says himself in the
Moreh that he could not have written what he did without Ruach
Hakodesh. Additionally, making such an assumption for why Rambam acted
violates "Miharhare achar harav", "Second guessing a
Rabbi". One cannot place himself in Rambam's stead and venture to
guess why he wrote what he did. Especially when Rambam himself says it
was through Ruach Hakodesh.
- I never saw throughout T'Nach, where Hashem condoned the concept of
red bendels, good luck charms or the like. If there was any reality to
physical things having any effect on reality, Hashem would have
informed man of this power. The fact that it arose later on is proof
that these primitive practices stem from man's psyche, not from G-d's
- Reality is, there is only One Power in the universe - Hashem, G-d.
- Why is Avoda Zarah the epitome of what opposes Torah? Because it
assumes powers other than Hashem. This is the basic concept of
- When the gemora allows kmiyas and charms, it is just that...an
allowance. Not a suggestion. It is a Matir, not a Chyuv.
- Meaning, it is not violating the Torah if one does things in pairs,
or one feels psychologically at ease when holding a pendant. The
Gemora never says the object has powers. G-d forbid! It only says that
one is allowed to have it. The Gemora knew people are feeble minded,
and that certain tensions would be put at ease if they had a certain
"security blanket". These security blankets do not violate
idolatry, and therefore could not be made prohibited.
- It is documented that in very primitive cultures, when a witch
doctor places a spell on someone to die, he dies. Does this mean that
a primitive human has control over the forces of life and death?
Nothing could be further from the truth! It means simply that when a
member of such a culture places his sense of reality on his witch
doctor, he believes that this witch doctor does in fact have power. We
know he doesn't, but this clan member believes it to the point that
when a spell is placed on him, his mental stress actually kills him.
It's not the doctor which kills, rather, it's his own beliefs.
- The same applies to these gemoras. The Tanaim knew that people would
not be able to extricate themselves, and that undue stress could be
removed, so they allowed these security blankets. Had these objects
been believed to actually contain powers, the rabbis would have openly
prohibited them, as G-d in the Torah prohibited fortune tellers,
enchanters, Baalie Ove, Yidoni, Machshefa, and all those who feign
control or knowledge over the physical. Hashem clearly defines the
investment of powers in physical objects as Avoda Zarah. Nowhere in
all of the Torah will you find Hashem reinforcing any such practice.
- It is quite the contrary.
- G-d uses the strongest language when commanding us not to follow
idolatry - the term abomination is used.
- No rational person would say that a thread, just because it is died
the color red, now contains powers.
- What happened when it was still white? Can you give a rational
explanation as how this power only inheres in red threads, and not
blue or green ones? Also, one should not care how many people follow a
practice such as a red bendel. Numbers has never been a proof of what
is correct. Should we follow Jews for Jesus if they gain numbers as
well? No. One must follow what is accurately consistent with the
- We do not get impressed with numbers, ..even if they are Jews. Had
we joined Korach, or the revolutionists at Maase Meriva, we would be
killed with them - regardless of the fact that there were numbers of
Jews doing this. You must remove this idea from your mind that numbers
is a proof to what is right.
- Tosefta in Chapter 7 of Sabbath clearly states the wearing of red
threads on fingers is considered "ways of the Emorites". Not
acceptable in Judaism.
- All of these cases of kmiyas, good luck charms and the like, are
much more rationally explained according to what I have written. We
should always look for the simplest explanation, and try not to assume
new powers which G-d didn't create.
- Hashem has elevated us above the animals by blessing only man with a
- Let us not lower ourselves by ignoring the use of it.
- Moshe Ben-Chaim