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The Jewish-American Perspective On Witchcraft

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This week we read the Torah portion called “Mishpatim,” or laws,” Exodus 21:1-24:18. Within the portion verse 22:17 tells us that witches and warlocks must be hunted down–here is the origin of the term “witch hunt”–and executed.

“מְכַשֵּׁפָ֖ה לֹ֥א תְחַיֶּֽה” – “You shall not allow a sorceress to live.”

Exodus 22:17

The authoritative commentator Rashi explains that capital punishment is carried out by the court, i.e. not vigilantes.

The prohibition is not applicable to contemporary America, which is not ruled by Biblical law, but we can discuss it nevertheless with a recognition that Old Testament belief in God is fundamental to the Constitution and American life.

Why is sorcery considered so evil? Because, obviously, the person who casts spells to get what they want is a living marketing tool for abandoning God, and worse, normalizing “get rich quick” magick as opposed to prayer, faith and good works.

Some people think that sorcery and satanism are one and the same. This is not necessarily correct.

The sorcerer uses casts spells instead of serving God. The satanist is interested only in getting what s/he wants. From their perspective, whatever works, works. In that sense, the true satanist is actually a scientist.

From the FAQs of the Satanic Temple:

the satanictemple dot com, pages, faq

To reiterate, Satanists are definitively against religion. Tara Isabella Burton:

“Satan is celebrated as the symbolic opposition to organized religion.”

Because of their opposition to religion in principle, Satanists should not be allowed to hide behind the First Amendment, which speaks only of protecting religion:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

The thing that makes a religion a religion, per Oxford, is the belief in “a god, gods, or similar superhuman power.”

Being anti-God makes Satanism the furthest thing from religion as Americans have always understood it, notes Gunnar Gundersen:

“Never in our history, tradition, or philosophy of government has Satanism ever been accorded such protection…..The freedom of religion found in the First Amendment is a freedom to worship God according to the dictates of one’s conscience – not the license to disparage or deride Him.

Gunnar Gundersen,

One might argue that the subcategory of witches known as Wiccans do practice religion, in the sense that they recognize their own versions of a god or gods.

“There is great diversity among individuals and groups that practice a Wiccan religion, but many are duotheistic, worshiping both a female goddess and a male god (sometimes referred to as a Mother Goddess and a Horned God). Other Wiccan practices are atheist, pantheist, polytheist or respectful of gods and goddesses as archetypal symbols rather than as actual or supernatural beings.”

However, whether they do or don’t worship, all witches perform rituals and/or cast spells, typically for self-advancement:

“The typical witch nowadays…examines her dreams for clues about her unconscious and fills her life with rituals. She probably attends new-moon gatherings or has an altar in her home. She might cast spells using crystals or herbs for manifestation of wealth and love. And she likely believes in polyamory, too. Most witches just dabble in the spell side of things, pulling a tarot card every morning and showing up for major pagan holidays….’And then there are people who are very serious practitioners, who train for years before initiation, and start their own covens,’ [Alex] Mar [author, “Witches of America”] says. ‘And that is a whole other level.’”

The preoccupation with spell-casting is spiritually destructive. It is the opposite of faith. It teaches people that they only need to come up with just the right “magic trick” to get their way.

The prototype for American witches is Hillary Clinton. In April 2018, the former Secretary of State (and former First Lady of the United States) was formally and publicly inducted into “The Wing,” a coven. (For more on her long association with occult practices, see The Occult Hillary Clinton, by James W. Harris.)

Certainly witchcraft has become more popular in recent years, even trendy. And for the longest time, American sorcerers have labored to portray their occultism as absolutely ordinary.

“On May 15, 2003 News Net 5 reported that “Mark and Elizabeth Sommerer, adoptive parents of four cats, are self-described ‘regular people…’ ‘We shop like everybody else does. We go to the Laundromat. We play with our kids. We pay taxes, work jobs,’ Elizabeth said… And Lee said they cast spells….

It is especially important to witches that they normalize perceptions of their activities when the news is filled with stories about Satanic rituals involving butchered dead animals (a reality that contravenes claims of agnosticism, science, and the non-worship of supernatural beings such as the Devil).

“‘Witchcraft, the way real witches practice it, doesn’t have anything to do with animal sacrifice. It doesn’t have anything to do with Satanism.’”

Clearly, Satanism does at times involve ritual activities aimed at invoking demonic energy for personal gain. See screenshot from a 1993 Department of Justice training manual, “Satanic Cult Awareness.”

Satanism and witchcraft, though not the same, share in common the belief that one is entitled to use all available sources of power at their disposal. (Recall the time that self-identified witches cast a “mass spell against Trump.”)

While there is always an attempt at a justification, and while the language of morality is always and inevitably invoked, such actions are never truly rooted in morality–which abnegates the ego–while spell-casting (and scientific excess) only stokes it.

This entire discussion–of witches and warlocks, sorcerers and sorceresses, magick spells and rituals, and satanism–is far more important to contemporary American culture than it may seem on the surface.

At issue is the need to recognize just how pervasive these beliefs and practices have become. One need only watch television, flip open a magazine, or listen to contemporary music for about five minutes before some sort of sick, disgusting symbol of satanism or witchcraft becomes apparent.

Right now Americans are just starting to wake up to these phenomena. But it is going to take a lot more time, effort and education to make clear to us the level of spiritual and physical danger they expose us to.

One need only look at the contemporary worship of science, and the desperate defense of medical experimentation and the pharmaceutical industry at all costs, to see the repercussions of an anti-God approach to American life.

We must wake up, and wake up now, before it is much too late.

By Dr. Dannielle (Dossy) Blumenthal. All opinions are the author’s own. Public domain.

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