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Exorcism by Rabbis
Exorcism by Rabbis
Talmud Sages and Their Magic
Meir Bar-Ilan Introduction Until now little historical research has been done on Jewish magic in ancient times, for various reasons, some of them self-understood. The first book to deal with this problem, published almost a century ago, is almost the last.1 The discovery in the Geniza of the Sefer ha-Razim (Book of Secrets), a magic book of a Palestinian Jew of the Talmudic period, a discovery that should have encouraged scholars to deal with this forgotten field, nevertheless did not advance the investigation of Jewish magic, but steps are now being taken in this direction.2 Christian magic is unlike Jewish magic: the investigation of magic among the early Christians, that is, magic believed in by the (mostly) Jewish Palestinians, has received considerable attention.3 The prophets and leaders of Israel in the Biblical period already performed miracles, including some that appear like miracles in all respects.4 Indeed, focusing exclusively on exorcism, in line with the following discussion, brings out that in Jewish literature over the generations an exorcism incident (albeit outside Palestine) is described for the first time in the Book of Tobias.5 Hundreds of years later Josephus reports on a Jew named Elazar who performed exorcisms a number of times in the presence of Vespasian and the Roman military commanders (Jewish Antiquities 8, 2, 5, 45-48).6 Similarly, the Qumran library contains poems intended to drive out evil spirits, and presumably the residents used these prayers 'to frighten and scare all the spirits of the angels of destruction'.7 As is known, acts of exorcism were also told about Jesus (Matthew l2, 22-24; Mark 5, 2-20; 6, 13; Luke 8, 2; 8, 26-33) and his disciples (ibid, 7, 22; Acts of the Apostles, 19, 13). Scholars have shown that Jesus was a Jewish magician.8 Thus, exorcism was an accepted folk practice. In spite of the ancient Jewish factionalism recognized in various fields, unanimity regarding exorcism was recognized in various circles in the Jewish people in the first century of the Common Era (and apparently, in the periods before and after it). Similarly in Hellenistic culture 'holy' men, among others, dealt with miracles, read: exorcism. The sages of Israel were bound to conclude from two great civilizations that these deeds - including exorcism, that is, curing people were an accepted social and religious phenomenon.9 A. Deeds of the Sages More than once we read in Talmudic literature that the sages of the Mishnah and Talmud dealt with magic.10 It can be generalized that in ancient times no distinction was made between religious life and magic - in accord with the thinking of modern ideas - but magic was an then integral part of religion.11 Indeed, among the various matters of magic mentioned in the Talmudic literature, three incidents of exorcism by rabbis are noted explicitly,12 though presumably many more incidents of this type occurred among Jews in ancient times.13 In any case, before our discussion of the stories of exorcism by sages, it must be mentioned that exorcism - in spite of its magic character for modern eyes - was in actually a therapeutic operation. The ancient world believed that sickness is caused by spirits that entered the body, hence removal of the spirits will effect his a cure.14 Thus, medicine and
. The fact that the Jerusalem Talmud. First it has to be noted that the fact that the cited text is known only from medieval times does not necessarily show that it is fabricated. It is told of Rabbi Hanina that he cured the sick with his prayer. including among others the son of Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakai. it probably ended with Rabbi Hanina ordering the spirit to leave the poor woman. known from a later source. he denied that he faculty.is also known from other examples.html 2/14 . The answer is that in this matter there is considerable correspondence between this 'external' tradition about Rabbi Hanina and the other Talmudic traditions dealing with this personality. notwithstanding that previously the spirit (and its family) had done him a favor.. angels appeared to him in the form of humans.biu.. The question arises: is this a rabbinic text from the Talmudic period that for some reason.4/6/2011 Exorcism by Rabbis ancient folk wisdom recognized exorcism not necessarily as a magic operation but as a matter of therapy (similar to the war against microbes that invade the body of modern man). intentional or not. It is possible that it was intentionally censored from a Talmudic text because of its blunt magic character.till I came with my brothers and my father's household and removed the rock. lately it has been pointed out that the words of Rabbi Hanina to the spirit 'Why do you cause grief to the daughter of Abraham ?' are similar in content to the words of Jesus who cured a woman on the Sabbath (Luke 13. Is this how you pay me for the favor I did you ? He answered her: I decree. even if we claim that the text is from a Talmudic source. Kuthim (Samaritans) came and placed a large rock over the mouth of the cave.18 However. Indeed. have not been preserved intact shows that it is definitely possible that this text is authentic and was originally written in the Talmudic period. revealing the power of Rabbi Hanina. Subsequently. Indeed the spirit fled and the woman was cured. is unknown from Talmudic literature or a pseudoepigraphic text (invented centuries after the period to which it is attributed and intended to glorify the Talmudicsages). The spirits came and removed it. . he lived for a week on a measure of carobs and a heavenly voice announced this and also that the world is sustained because of his merit. His students said to him: Rabbi. This phenomenon .. 'till I came') and the end is missing.16 Indeed the text itself shows signs of abridgement by the copier ('and so on'.15 In spite of the abbridged nature of the story. It is to be noted that this story is not known from Talmudic literature itself but from the writing of a twelfth-century Ashkenazi wise sage. 16).ac. an evil spirit haunted a poor woman in Rabbi Hanina's neighborhood. we have to clarify whether its source is an authentic tradition and whether Rabbi Hanina indeed accomplished what is attributed to him: exorcism.an ancient original text preserved only in the manuscript from a later corpus . Rabbi Hanina ben Dosa The following is told about Rabbi Hanina ben Dosa who lived in the first century: Once Rabbi Hanina ben Dosa went to immerse himself in [the water of] a cave.il/~barilm/exorcism. and so on. Rabbi Hanina addressed the spirit: Why do you cause grief to the daughter of Abraham ? The spirit responded: Are you not the one who went down to dip in the cave. 1.17 This parallelism strengthens the conjecture that this text. and also various midrashic (sermonic) texts. is authentic. such as the preservation of Sifri Zuta in Yalkut Shimoni and remnants of sermons of the Tannaim (Mishnaic rabbis) in the Great Midrash. as both incidents refer to 'daughter of Abraham'. see how this poor woman suffers grief from the evil spirit.
an equivalent decree.21 Here are the two versions: Meila l7a-b Once the kingdom issued a decree not to observe the Sabbath. They said: Who will go to abrogate the decrees? Let Rabbi Simon go since he is learned in miracles. and so did various other miracles happened to him. Originally they were present all the time. and to have relations with menstruating women. This story is known from two principal versions: one from the Talmud. Not only does everything said to this point match the 'external' tradition. not to circumsize the sons. He said to her: What are you here for? She said: I came to perform a miracle for you. She said: If they had not announced about you in Heaven 'Be careful with Hanina and his learning' I would endanger you ! He said: If I have status in Heaven. p. At that time Rabbi Simon sighted the mast of the ship and saw a spirit sitting on it. cites an additional story more similar to the story considered here: We have learned: One should not go out alone at night either the nights of the fourth year or the seventh because (the spirit) Agrath daughter of Mahlath.4/6/2011 Exorcism by Rabbis was a prophet. The sages set their eyes on Rabbi Simon. Here is the dialogue between Rabbi Hanina and the 'queen of the spirits'. she and 180. 2.20 and the main thing: Rabbi Hanina disposed of her with the words 'I decree that you shall not pass through populated areas forever !'. tractate Meila 17a-b.il/~barilm/exorcism. as long as a miracle is performed 3/14 . a miracle occurred to his wife and her oven filled wlith bread.. a snake that bit him died. Immediately Rabbi Simon said: Ruler of the Universe.html Bet-Hamidrash The Rabbis learned: The evil kingdom issued three decrees on Israel in the days of Rabbi Simon. Thus is the authenticity strengthened for this post-Talmudic story. leave me a little opening.. similar in nature to additional Talmudic stories about exorcism.ac. He was greeted by faculty.. Once she encountered Rabbi Hanina. and the other from the collection of midrashim (sermons) 'Beth Midrash' published by A. a miracle happened to him and vinegar burned as if it were oil.biu.. He left her the nights of the seventh and fourth years. if there is a Talmudic wise man to whom a story (belated. 2.000 angels of destruction go forth and each has permission to destroy on his own. Jellinek.. for Hagar the Egyptian you arranged five angels.. I decree that you shall not pass through populated areas forever! She said: With your permission. very similar to the words in shortened version of chasing away: 'I decree (that you should leave this woman !)'. but the Gemara in Pesahim 112. Rabbi Hanina was a personality suitable for it. divine. that is. and for me a spirit? She said: tell me. what do you care. as a consequence of his prayer the rain stopped and after a second prayer it began raining again. as it might be) of exorcism from a woman can be attributed. If there is among you a person learned in miracles... One can then say. let him come and abrogate the documents.. Rabbi Simon ben Yochai One of the most famous stories of exorcism in the Talmudic literature is a story attributed to Rabbi Simon ben Yochai who lived in the second century of the Common Era.19 It is indeed clear that his piety and righteousness exceeded his learning and his principal power was in being a miracle man recognized by all for his supernatural power.
he raised bones of the dead from the land of Tiberias to purify it. He said: go do as angel come three times and I you said. let the miracle come Simon. what do you do to her ? He said: I whisper in her ears and she is cured. and so it happened. who was sent to the royal court on a political mission and succeeded in his function because of his expertise in magic deeds. the primary assumption that the Talmudic stroy is more reliable than the Midrashic one (presumably written later) is unproven and in practice does anot affect whether there ever was an 'original version. by any means. a carob tree and spring were created for him in the cave where he hid with his son. gives the name of the spirit Ben Tamalyon.ac. while in the cave he was nourished only by carobs.27 and additional wonder stories were told about him. he left. It is difficult to know what was the 'original version' of this story. took it and documents and wrote later documents. and as a result he caused abrogation of the decrees against the Jews of Palestine. the Talmud speaks of a male spirit versus a female spirit in the Midrash. and also the consequence accompanying the exorcism: the breaking of the glass vessels.il/~barilm/exorcism. The first one he They came and found him and led him to the king. He he said: Ben Tamalyon leave !.biu. and she was screaming: bring me Rabbi not once. They went to Palestine and the decrees were abrogated. She went and entered her.25 In any case the common feature of the stories is that Rabbi Simon exorcised a spirit that had entered the royal palace. the principal intent is the same: a wonderful story about Rabbi Simon. She said: he is before you in the ship. immediately added: At that time all the glass vessels in your palace will Ben Tamalyon leave ! And as break. He said: you are Rabbi came to was the daughter of the Simon? He said: Yes. he stared at one man and killed him (with the 'evil eye').They sent for him in Palestine. And you will cure my daughger? He said: Yes. he was learned in miracles: he commanded a valley to fill with dinars. At that time Rabbi Simon whispered in her ears and she was cured. in his days the rainbow was not seen (for the world was sustained by his merit. spread through the entire Talmud.24 whereas in the Midrash the name is not known (in the category of 'it is a mystery'). the examination of additional Talmudic traditions about Rabbi Simon supports the correctness of this tradition. In spite of the differences in the different traditions. You will come and whisper in her ears and that the maidservant of Father I will leave her. He found the document. And emperor. The king immediately ordered cancellation of the first take whatever you want.26 And so.html 4/14 .23 the Talmud. He was and the spirit went out and broke all the glass vessels in the palace. we don't have to learn faculty. Go to the sorehouse and abrogate the decrees against the Jews. and what do you want? He said: What miracle are you performing me to come with you? Rabbi for me? She said: I will enter the stomach of the king's daughter and she will Simon wept and said: How is it scream 'bring me Rabbi Simon' . out of the ordinary. He said: what sign will I have when you leave her? She said: Abraham's household had an At that time all the glass vessels in the palace will break. and the mark of the covenant was not necessary).28 It can be said that this tradition told about Rabbi Simon is authentic although. Whoever brings them to Palestine shall be killed. and in another connection it was said about him that his teeth blackened because of his fasts. He said to him: What do you want me to give you? He said: I ask only that you told: request whatever you want.4/6/2011 Exorcism by Rabbis Ben Tamalyon: Do you want for you. and it is doubtful if there ever was a single original story. he was called. Similarly the Midrash is more detailed and contains a long dialogue between the Tanna and the spirit. When he came there. tore it up. In any case. It is told about Rabbi Simon that beside his greatness in Torah study.' Hence the problem now is: Did Rabbi Simon carry out what told about him: exorcism (and the consequent achievement of political benefit). a rabbi learned in miracles.22 The principal differences between the versions are: the one in the Talmud is shorter. of course.
Let them observe the water and when they see stirring of the water they should beat the iron (implements) and say: ours triumphed. One is known almost exclusively for his miraculous deeds but not his learning while the other is known for his learning no less than for his miracles. ours triumphed ! Do not leave 5/14 . He said: What shall we do ? She said: Take your sticks and scythes and go attack him at noon and shout ours triumphs. ours triumphed! And they should not leave the place until they see a blob of blood on the surface of the water. It can be said that as a consequence of the the exorcism the wise man was rewarded by the abrogation of the decrees against the Jews. A pious man named Rabbi Yossi Man of Zeitur was there. as he exorcised a spirit from the body of lthe daughter of the emperor. It can be said that whereas in the first instance the exorcism was performed by a pious man and miracle master at the periphery of the world of scholars if not actually outside it. They did not move from there until they saw a blob of blood floating on the water. the incident discussed here deals with a man at the creative center of the sages of the Mishna and Talmud. dawn and noon unharmed.il/~barilm/exorcism. a personalty representing great knowledge in Halacha. 3. as Rabbi Simon is one of the central pillars of the Mishna. in Aramaic and Hebrew.html Vayikra Rabba Rabbi Berachya ben Rabbi Simon: an incident in our town with Abba Yossi son of Yochanan man of Zeitur who was sitting studying at the opening of a spring. that appear in six different books:30 Tanhuma Buber Rabbi Berachya said: an incident in our town involved a (female) spirit settled on the spring. ours triumphs ! and he will flee. The spirit revealed herself to him and said: Rabbi.ac. and bound up with it. They said. Observe the water and when you see stirring of the water beat the iron and say: ours triumphed.4/6/2011 Exorcism by Rabbis from it about the existence of spirits or the political history of that period. And now you should know that an evil spirit dwells here and he harms people. What is special about the the story under discussion is its reflection of the great power of this wise man in magic. we should pay attention to the fact that in contrast to other incidents of exorcism in which the exorciser does not gain anything other than recognition of his holy status as one who inflluences the worlds above. I have been here many years and I have never harmed anybody at noon or at night (nor in the day). Rabbi (Abba) Yossi Man of Zeitur The following story shows how an evil spirit was exorcised in Palestine in the fourth century. When the sages faculty.biu. you. They did this and chased him away from there. It is also worth noting that from the aspect of knowledge of Torah and status in Halacha. not from an ordinary woman. and now this spirit comes and seeks to remove me and harm the people. of course). Clearly if this wise man had not had considerable experience in such matters. your wives and children in the evening. Not only this. in this case Rabbi Simon was recognized as also influencing the worlds below.This story is known in two principal versions. there is no comparison bewtween Rabbi Hanina and Rabbi Simon. in this way the burden of Roman rule could be lightened. Along came a (male) spirit to mate with her and sought to remove her from there.29 It can be said that the Talmudic narrator thought that the Jewish people need a leader with capability not only in Torah (study) but also in magic. he would not have dared cure the emperor's daughter (since he might then have worsened the status of the Jews). He went and warned the residents of the town telling them: gather your various agricultural implements and go there at dawn tomorrow. Thus his unique image and political capability was recognized both by Jews and by the Emperor (according to the Jewish tradition. miraculous deeds anad exorcism. He said: what should we do ? He said: go warn the ppeople of the town and tell them to gather their various agricultural implements here tomorrow at dawn. The spirit dwelling there revealed itself to him and said: do you know how many years I am dwelling here and you go about.
" until you see a blob of blood on the surface of the water. led them in their battle (his battle) against the evil spirit and finally succeeded in exorcising the evil by means of agricultural implements. And if he drinks. the Amoraim provided the explanation of concern about 'evil spirit' (as explained previously in the Gemara) or in other words spirits called faculty. If so the story is as follows. It is reasonable that even this 'peripheral' detail reflects the authentic version: the exorcism was performed not by a man called 'Rabbi' in his day. Another difference pertains to the title of the exorcist: in the 'original. a title appearing additional times as the title for miracle men. As if to say. they said: And if a thing (being) that was not created to need assistance now needs assistance. but with respect to the trust of the public in the acitivity of that 'abba': his ability to exorcise a spirit from a spring. this Abba Yossi succeeded at first in bringing the residents of his city to the spring. for knowing to converse with good spirits. if spirits who were not created to need assistance now need assistance. a good spirit that appeared to him and informed him that an evil spirit wanted to chase him from the water. a title reflecting the world of the sages of the Talmud.' Aramaic version he is called 'abba (father)' while in the later reworked version he is called pious man and also 'Rabbi' (and even the spirit addresses him by this title). one as follows: The Rabbis learned: One should not drink water from rivers or lakes at night. In spite of the equivalent content the Aramaic story is longer and more detailed. if not with respect to the existence of spirits. But apparently ithe story cited above is true.il/~barilm/exorcism. he risks his life because of the hazard.biu.33 But proper examination of this matter shows that indeed thre is nothing strange about a spirit dwelling in a spring. 1 two baraitot are cited. his ability to exorcise an evil spirit. It is clear that as a resullt not only was the spirit exorcised but his righteous exorciser earned an honored status in his community. Proof is brought here from various sources. The most important difference is that the right column is in Aramaic and the left in Hebrew. This matter seems entirely exceptional since most of the historical information describing exorcism reports on spirits that chose to dwell in a human body and not in water. in six books and a greater number of manuscripts) reveals various differences between the stories. Cursory study of the two versions (representing a single incident. And so. but a man called 'abba'.It follows that that holy man continued to study near the spring and the surrounding residents henceforth knew the source of the holiness of that spring.html 6/14 . The Aramaic story explains exorcism exactly while the Hebrew version gives a partial and vague description. let us proceed to clarify the nature of the magic discussed here: exorcism from a spring. Evidence for this is found in the second difference: the length of the stories. and even more important.32 This was believed by the simple townspeople who went to battle the spirit but also by wellknown sages like Rabbi Berachya.4/6/2011 Exorcism by Rabbis heard about it.ac. how much more so human beings. though the Tannaim did not explain the nature of the prohibition. For this reason David said (in Psalms) 'He sends help from the holy place. Abba Yossi man of Zeitur (apparently a place in Galilee) informed the residents of the city of the pressence of a spirit in their water spring. We proclaim 'He sends help from the holy place'.31 Indeed about this pious man there is no other informantion except for that discussed here. And so we learn a fortiori. What hazard ? The hazard of demons. Now that we have clarified the version of the incident. how much more so we who were created to need assistance. Apparently the Aramaic version is the 'original' and the Hebrew version is translated from the Aramaic (perhaps by the 'editor' of Midrash Tanhuma). In Pesachim 112 p.
the residents of the land . That is to say. At the Ein Sultan spring near Jericho is a field that once a year has a menstrual cycle and then blood can be seen on the water(but only at night).Moslems and Christians . more than these matters help in the recognition of magic in ancient times. Indeed the researcher himself tended to see in the text various 'precedents' for spirits in the springs of the land. they are a chapter in the history of Jewish society in Palestine. It can be generalized that there is hardly a source of water in the land of Israel without a spirit (one or more).ac. those folk doctors who cured the sick through supernatural powers. even when they passed from religion to religion. Most of the water spirits are female but not a few springs have a guardian spirit with the form of an animal.35 Indeed the research deals with folklore. The nature of these people reveals the various kins of leadership needed by Jewish society in ancient times. The Social Significance The study of exorcism is only a small chapter in the history of magic in ancient times. that is.41 But.34 However if this baraita (and its parallel there) is insufficient (if someone points out that the source of these matters is in Babylonia) then it is possible to bring additional examples of spirits in water and their exorcism in Palestine. since exorcism is not carried out in secret. neither with respect to magic bound to water nor with magic tied to the sages of the Mishna and Talmud.43 faculty. the folk religion of the residents of Palestine at the beginning of the twentieth century. some good some bad. it should be stored during the day to avoid exposure (to the sun).il/~barilm/exorcism. Some springs have a complete family of sppirits living in each.biu. It makes sense to examine these 'modern' traditions using the background of knowledge from the Talmudic literature. It appears that the detailed knowledge about that from the 'modern' era reflects well ancient beliefs of the period of the Mishna and Talmud if not earlier.38 The local people believe that water with therapeutic qualities has to be drawn after sunset and if it is brought from a distancel. if swallowed with the water.40 Hence the exorcism of a bad spirit from a spring by Rabbi Yossi man of Zeitur.39 There are springs that can be approached only with the help of incense and prayer. the stories of exorcism teach us about the society in which this act was carried out. reflects folk beliefs of his contemporaries and is definitely not an exception. B.42 However. it is understood that hot springs. which. About seventy years ago a Palestinian Arab researcher published a large interesting research on the spirits dwelling in water according to the beliefs of the land's residents. are heated by spirits (acting on the basis of the commands of King Solomom).4/6/2011 Exorcism by Rabbis or classified as demons dwelling in the water.html 7/14 . are likely to jeopardize (read: kill) the drinker. It expresses society's need for magicians. these people were not only 'magicians ' and folk doctors but also society leaders. although an exception at first glance. this phenomenon is the result of the struggle between the good and bad spirits found in the spring. For example.believed (and certainly still believe) in tens of spirits (male and female) dwelling in the springs of Israel. this time from evidence of an entirely different type. but this subject is not explained in the text and is outside the scope of this study. as in Tiberias. But it is not unlikely that the residents of the land preserved various folk traditions.36 In fact. The local people have many othere customs derived from the presence of spirits in the waters.37 In some of the springs of this type wars and victories occur in a regular manner between the good and bad spirits. such as the custom that women do not approach the springs while menstruating. It has to be granted that it does not add much to the investigation of magic in general because of the multiplicity of information on this subject of exorcism from humans. in the case of a spring whose flow is cyclical.
as nothing is more 'folk' than exorcism and nothing is more 'establishment' than a sage called 'Rabbi' and involved in political dealings with the conquering power. the discussion here focused. Rabbi Simon ben Yochai reflects another type of leader.4/6/2011 Exorcism by Rabbis It is hard to know to what extent each of the people mentioned above indeed represents the types of leadership in ancient times. Abba Yossi man of Zeitur is known only from the story cited above. He is not only a miracle worker but on the contrary he is known to the public for two things concurrently: greatness in Torah and Halacha and greatness as a miracle worker. the residents of the city (who may have been his disciples). just as he would deny that he is a prophet).50 However.45 His power in society is recognized in that he did not fight the spirit alone. even foreign rulers (in any case his admirers thought so) by means of speech and dramatic talent. including exorcism and the killing of snakes (in a wondrous way).biu.il/~barilm/exorcism. humans. the onlooker would see no small similarity between his personality and that of the prophet in the period of the Scriptures. together with this. from a certain perspective he can be seen as a mystic (though he himself would deny it. The religious leader was not necessarily a leader crowned by the establishment but an ascetic personality (by virtue of poverty) with ties to the other world. but one need not therefore refrain from discussing the functioning of these people. integrating qualifications that appear contradictory to modern man.48 These examples of leadership. Set against these two who were occupied with Torah but derived their fame primarily from their wondrous deeds. Rabbi Simon reflects in his life leadership that has both establishment and folk aspects. In other words.47 In contrast to the leadership of the people of Israel in the period of the Judges.html 8/14 . Worthy of special note is the important fact that Rabbi Simon translated his talent in the field of magic to the political level. It is thus recognized that in ancient times there was no distinction between religion and magic (as understood by modern man) and key people in the history of Mishna and Talmud dealt with Torah as well as faculty. Rabbi Simon was not only great in Torah and learned in miracles but he also walked with emperors and succeeded in abrogating their decrees against the people of Israel. In other words Rabbi Simon's image reflects both the charismatic leader and the authoritative leader. In other words Rabbi Hanina ben Dosa is an example of charismatic shamanic leadership. spirits. that is the warriors.ac. the power of the charismatic leader in the Talmudic period was in his speech.46 Here is integration of authoritative Halachic leadership with magic and political leadership. conflict with the division of culture into establishment and folk. hence his image laacks 'depth'. The leader influenced God. according to tradition.49 Summary Apparently. a penetrating look into the acts of the sages of the Mishna and Talmud in this field reveals more than a little about the type of leadership in ancient times: a leadership that included charismatic authoratative (knowledge of Halacha) Shamanistic (miraculous deeds) and political components. but led the war. on male and female spirits and the ways of exorcising them from women and springs. a time when a charismatic leader led his people on the field of battle. pious and holy. Nevertheless it appears that his leadership completely resembles the leadership of Rabbi Hanina ben Dosa: a charismatic personality occupied with Torah. The charismatic leader in the Talmudic period labored for the community without asking for anything for himself. Even though Hanina ben Dosa bears the title 'Rabbi' and certainly knew Torah. but intertwined with deeds of magic. This was also recognized by the sages of the Mishna and Talmud representling Halachic authority in the social sphere. his power and fame derived from the fact that Jews in his time needed him to bring down rain or to cure their children.44 leadership in the category that the other leadership recognizes for its power and legitimacy. he acquired the reputation of a master of miracles.
either by the successors of those sages or by those who study their world.4/6/2011 Exorcism by Rabbis miraculous deeds.51 Even if there are those who wish to deny this. it is reasonable that the role of magic in the spiritual world of the Jews of Palestine was greater than accepted nowadays.52 .
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