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Judaism: Question about Left-Hand Path Forum

Discussion in 'Same Faith Debates' started by Avi1001, Sep 28, 2013.

  1. Avi1001

    Avi1001 reform Jew humanist liberal feminist entrepreneur

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    I am new here, but I notice there is a forum called the Left-Hand Path. They have sub-forums, called Satanism and Luciferianism.

    I am curious,what do the Jewish posters in this forum think of these sub-forums ? Do any of you read the posts in these sub-forums ? If so, what do you think about the content ? What are your thoughts about Satanism and Luciferianism ? Are these legitamite religions or are people that practice them misguided ?

    Didn't we learn, in Judaism, that Satan was the adversary or accuser ? Was this in Job and Chronicles ? Does this mean Satan was bad, I do not think so ? Did Lucifer have any meaning in Judaism, maybe in Isaiah ?

    Does Judaism have any view of people that follow these practices ? In this sort of forum it would be very easy to engage with these people. Should Jews engage in discussion with them, perhaps to discuss ethical and moral practices ? Could it be considered part of Tikkum Olam ?
     
    #1 Avi1001, Sep 28, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 4, 2013
  2. Tarheeler

    Tarheeler Argumentative Curmudgeon
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    We have DIR sections for many different belief systems.

    I think the same thing about those forums as I do about the Christian, Islam, Hindu, and others: They're different ways people understand God, religion, and the world around them.

    If the title or subject of a thread sounds interesting, then I'll read it.

    As for their legitimacy, my opinion is simple: So long as the people who follow those systems find value in them, then they have legitimacy.

    Why should our understanding of satan have any bearing on theirs, and why should their moral and ethical practices matter to us any more than anyone elses?
    We are a non-proselytizing religion; it is not our place to try to persuade people to follow our laws or our practices. They are free to follow what they feel is right, and as long as they aren't hurting others it isn't any of our business.
     
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  3. Avi1001

    Avi1001 reform Jew humanist liberal feminist entrepreneur

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    Hi Tarheeler, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    One observation that I have at this point is that these LHP folks think outside the box.

    Another thought that I have is that there is also a Jewish notion of the evil inclination. Do you think this relates to the LHP forum people ?

    Has any Jewish poster ever posted in the LHP forum ? Any thoughts on the outcome that could result ? Would it be like Eve with the apple ?
     
    #3 Avi1001, Sep 29, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2013
  4. Tarheeler

    Tarheeler Argumentative Curmudgeon
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    Not really. What I get from LHP is that their focus is on the self, not being evil.

    I'm sure there have been some, but you could read through the threads in that section to find out.

    But keep in mind that their section of the forum is a DIR, just as this one is. People who do not identify as members of that belief system are restricted on how they can post in there:

    Rule 10. Discuss Individual Religions Forums/Same Faith Debates/"Only Sections"
    The DIR subforums are for the express use for discussion by that specific group. They are not to be used for debate by anyone. People of other groups or faiths may post respectful questions to increase their understanding. Questions of a rhetorical or argumentative nature or that counter the beliefs of that DIR are not permitted. DIR areas are not to be used as cover to bash others outside the faith. The DIR forums are strictly moderated and posts are subject to editing or removal.

    -For any DIR or discussion sub-forum that is colored blue, non-members of that area are limited only to respectful questions, and are not allowed to make any non-question posts.

    -For any DIR or discussion sub-forum that is colored green, non-members of that area may make respectful posts that comply with the tenets and spirit of that area. This includes questions, as well as knowledgeable comments.
     
    #4 Tarheeler, Sep 29, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2013
  5. Avi1001

    Avi1001 reform Jew humanist liberal feminist entrepreneur

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    Good point. For the purpose of this thread, we can expand the discussion. Is there a relation between, "focus on the self", and the evil inclination ?

    Here is a wiki on the Jewish notion of the evil inclination, or Yetzer Hara:

    Yetzer hara - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    One of the interesting things about this description is that it connects very normal and natural activities, like eating and sexual activity to abusive activities, like gluttony and sexual abuse.

    Does the LHP straddle this line ?


    From my preliminary review of posts in the LHP forum, I could find no posts from any Jewish posters. We learn from an early age to stay away from evil and not to even interact with it. Is that why there have been no posts placed there? It is almost taboo. It is interesting that in a forum structured like this it would be so easy to have discussion, yet it does not occur. Is that a good thing ?
     
    #5 Avi1001, Sep 29, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2013
  6. Tarheeler

    Tarheeler Argumentative Curmudgeon
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    This is possibly a topic you should bring up in the LHP DIR since it seems you are looking for insight in how they perceive things.

    No body is prevented from asking questions in the DIRs, provided it is done in the proper manner. It could be as simple that many of the Jews here aren't interested in or don't see the connect between Judaism and the LHP you seem to do.
     
  7. Infinitum

    Infinitum Possessed Bookworm
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    Hello. I'm sorry we're kind of in the wrong DIR, but there happened to be a question asked that I know the answer to. Please have this post removed if you feel I'm overstepping the boundaries.

    We have people who are ethnically Jewish posting in the LHP DIR sometimes. Mostly I think Jews don't have much reason to ask questions from us, since we borrow more from them than they ever from us. ;)
     
  8. CMike

    CMike Well-Known Member

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    The mission of jews is to get closer to G-D.

    You get closer to G-D by resisting temptation and doing what is right.

    The temptation comes from the evil inclination which is considered to be "Satan".

    However, without this evil inclination, there would be not temptation, and no opportunity to get closer to G-D.

    We would be robots like angels.

    Satan is also considered the prosecuting attorney in the heavenly court during the Day of Attonement period.
     
  9. Avi1001

    Avi1001 reform Jew humanist liberal feminist entrepreneur

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    Interesting perspective, thanks !
     
  10. Avi1001

    Avi1001 reform Jew humanist liberal feminist entrepreneur

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    CMike, I agree with everything you posted, especially this part.

    But my question is a little different, so let me re-phrase it.

    This is an interfaith forum. In my view, we are here to have dialogue with folks of other faiths, with the goals of deepening our understanding and perhaps developing good will.

    Do you ever communicate with posters of different faiths, i.e., Christians, Muslims, etc. ?

    Further, do you consider the LHP to be another faith ? And would you enter into dialogue with people that consider it their faith ?
     
    #10 Avi1001, Sep 29, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2013
  11. CMike

    CMike Well-Known Member

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    I don't know what it is.
     
  12. Levite

    Levite Higher and Higher

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    Jewish magic and mysticism is my primary professional area of expertise, and in the study thereof, I have also had the opportunity to study some of the mystical magical traditions of other religions and systems, so I am passingly familiar with LHP.

    To the best of my understanding, LHP is a blanket term for a vast spectrum of varying magical-philosophical and magical-religious beliefs (the majority of which, as far as I can tell, are not Satanistic), both those sourced from numerous different specific traditions and far more representing a dizzying array of syncretic innovations. It's a little hard to say precisely what the attitude of practicing Jews ought to be to LHP because LHP is so hard to define.

    I should note that first off, nearly all LHP seems to involve either worship of other gods or magical rituals of a questionable nature (halachically speaking), and therefore I would presume that LHP practice is avodah zarah, and cannot be considered permissible for Jews to practice.

    However, as to the degree it should be tolerated within non-Jews...that is a more difficult question.

    The mere practice of magic in general doesn't necessarily indicate something forbidden (even for us, much less for non-Jews). It depends on what kind of magic, what sort of rituals, for what purposes. Even comparatively selfish "gray" magic has a tenuous position in what some might call "Low Kabbalah," so it must not be universally and unilaterally unethical for non-Jews to practice.

    However, IMO, the common threads of LHP practice seem to be philosophies that are aggressively self-oriented and anarchic, and they seem to range from chaotic at best to deliberately malign at worst. Obviously there must be exceptions to this rule, and I would be surprised if some of the RF members participating in that forum don't qualify as such.

    But those worldviews are not particularly compatible with the Jewish worldview. Monotheism aside, we are still left with many issues: our aggressively communitarian social ethic, our tradition's passion for both order in society/world and empathy amongst all human beings, all seem to put LHP at odds philosophically with Judaism.

    While I still maintain that we should be, practically speaking, tolerant of everyone save those actively being intolerant of us, I cannot say I feel much inclination to reach out to LHP in interfaith dialogue. Other aspects of magical traditions, maybe. Other kinds of religious and mystical traditions, sure, though I suppose those religious traditions that embrace the same kind of negativity and egotism would hold the same problems.
     
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  13. Avi1001

    Avi1001 reform Jew humanist liberal feminist entrepreneur

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    I did not realize those were your areas of expertise, that is intriguing.


    This is a very tolerant position with respect to magic, an area that I know little about. I will be interested to learn more about this, even though I consider myself pretty much a rationalist.

    So your main concerns are: negativity, egotism and anarchy. All legitimate concerns. Thanks for the well articulated description of problems with the LHP.
     
    #13 Avi1001, Sep 29, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2013
  14. CMike

    CMike Well-Known Member

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    Magic/sorcery is prohibited in judaism.

    Chapter Eleven - Texts & Writings

    Halacha 15
    A sorcerer must be condemned to execution by stoning. This applies when he commits a deed of sorcery. If, however, he merely deludes those who observe him into thinking that he is performing an act although he actually does not, he is given stripes for rebelliousness.

    [The reason is] that the prohibition against sorcery is stated in the prohibition [Deuteronomy 18:10-11]: "There shall not be found among you one who... [practices sorcery]." It is, however, a prohibition which is punishable by execution by the court, as [Exodus 22:17] states: "Do not allow a witch to live." [Therefore,] lashes are not administered for its violation.

    Below is a discussion about it.


    YUTorah Online - The Prohibition against Sorcery (Rabbi Josh Flug)
     
  15. Levite

    Levite Higher and Higher

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    I am not interested in debating the history of magic in Judaism with someone whose approach to tradition, text, and history is entirely ahistorical, inflexibly dogmatic, and monolithically un-nuanced.

    "Judaism" is not clear on anything about magic. "Mainstream Ashkenazi Orthodoxy in the modern era" prohibits magic altogether. However, historically, that is not what is reflected in the various conflicting opinions of authorities, the differing interpretations of the relevant verses in the Torah, as far back as the Gemara, or the archaeological record of amulets, talismans, spell texts, and other magical paraphernalia from all the lands of our habitation for at least 1700-odd years. There have always been authorities and communities that were more stringent and those more lenient.
     
  16. CMike

    CMike Well-Known Member

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    I am not debating it, I am stating jewish law regarding magic/sorcery.

    The Torah (the five books of Moses) explicitly prohibits "sorcery"/magic and fortune telling. I provided the passages to back it up.

    Now you can try and create your own jewish law, but it's not part of the actual jewish law.
     
  17. Levite

    Levite Higher and Higher

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    You cited verses of Torah. Verses of Torah are subject to interpretation. The relevant discussions of some of these verses in the Gemara make it clear that even the Rabbanim weren't sure what all those words meant exactly, meaning they are even more open to interpretation. There are varying opinions about different kind of magic expressed in different sugiyot in the Gemara. There are varying opinions in teshuvot from the Gaonic period. There are varying opinions among the Rishonim. And there are varying opinions amongst the Acharonim, especially in Mizrachi communities.

    Your understanding of Jewish Law is your understanding of the psak halachah you follow in your community, and probably is similar to what many of the Orthodox communities around you follow. But magic is one of several areas that Orthodoxy today examines ahistorically, and disregards, denies, or deliberately misinterprets text and tradition to suit its current halachic mores.

    You may not like the existence of Jewish books of magic, Jewish magical spell texts, amulets, and talismans, but they exist. And it seems quite clear that the people who used them, and many more in their generations and communities, did not at all believe what they were doing violated the mitzvot in the Torah, or the mitzvot of our Rabbis.
     
  18. Avi1001

    Avi1001 reform Jew humanist liberal feminist entrepreneur

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  19. CMike

    CMike Well-Known Member

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    I am referring to magic that doesn't have anything to do with Kaballah.

    That is prohibited according to jewish law.I believe that was what the original question was about.

    Sorcery and fortune telling are explicitly stated in the Torah as being against jewish law.
     
    #19 CMike, Oct 1, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2013
  20. Caladan

    Caladan Agnostic Pantheist

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    Practically all religions or philosophies are legitimate except those which promote extreme abuse, and to be honest these can be found in virtually all religions and subcultures. My interest in the 'LHP' (which goes beyond the scope of 'Satanism') includes historical philosophical agendas and practices that sought to break the paradigms and taboos of Christendom and its political sway over people (you can easily insert other religions here and not just Christianity), in addition I am also interested in unorthodox forms of worship, rituals, and magical systems. Truthfully much of modern LHP is pretty underdeveloped in my humble opinion, and most practitioners are not that well versed in my chief interests which include 'the Occult', historical and ancient magic, 'dark' religious philosophies and practices from history and the ancient world, 'forbidden knowledge' in grimoires, or even what we like to call Magick (with a K) today. But still, there are several interesting individuals who do give an interesting and informative conversation, and more than several who have a philosophical passion which also makes for a good discussion.

    I don't ever recall being taught about Satan the way Christians are. That he is some kind of evil cosmic figure in our faith or theology. Satan simply doesn't have that role. All the important roles are already taken by the Biblical protagonists of our nation, people who are flesh and blood. And also by quite a few antagonists, who are also mortal men and women of flesh and blood.

    I wouldn't go as far as to create a 'project' of Tikkun Olam from it or have a seminar about morality and ethics, but that is just me. My interest in talking with LHP members, or other members of different DIR, is that we have plenty of overlapping interests and passions, things which transcend religious labels (or forum DIRs) and which may be a mutual field of interest for us regardless of which DIR we most frequent, or which culture or subculture we technically or supposedly belong to.
    I believe that Judaism should judge other people based on their own merits and qualities, and not over misconceptions. Besides, no education of religion in the modern world can be complete without looking into the life and works of some of the figures who were instrumental in shaping modern LHP (and other streams), such as Aleister Crowley for example. I believe I have found talent in practically every group, or something worth looking into. I wouldn't be on a forum dedicated to so many streams of religious worldviews if I was only interested in what can be called 'orthodox' forms of religions.

    During my work in the field I encounter plenty of fascinating artifacts which can de facto be claimed to be black magic. Such as curses that Roman legionnaires placed against the enemies they were about to meet in battle, or Egyptians who did the same before them. So in my understanding, the 'LHP' as a generic term is a reality, a magical thought, and a way of expression which always existed and has passed through the regions, cultures, and religions of the world since time immemorial. And I'm pretty gamed to explore its manifestations today and discuss it in civil manner.
     
    #20 Caladan, Oct 3, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2013
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