Jewish Astrology Is It Real? Is It Permitted? Download

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Jewish Astrology
Is It Real? Is It Permitted?
A text based review of the attitude
of the rabbis to astrology
Laurence V Harrould
Jewish Astrology
Is It Real?
Bereshit
Shabbat 156
• Samuel & Ablat
• R’ Akiva
• R’ Nahman b. Isaac
• R’ Joshua b. Levi vs R’ Hanina
Ramchal
Vilna Gaon – Sefer Yetsira
Jewish Astrology
Is It Real?
Bereshit/Genesis 1:14
Jewish Astrology
Bereshit/Genesis 1:14
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G-d said, "Let there be luminaries in the firmament of the heaven to separate between the
day and the night; and they shall serve as signs, and for festivals, and for days and years;
Rashi
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When there is an eclipse of the luminaries it is a bad sign for the world, as it is said: "Do not
fear the signs from the heavens, etc." I.e., when you do the will of G-d, you need not worry
about retribution.
Jewish Astrology
Is It Real?
Talmud: Shabbat 156
Samuel & Ablat
R’ Akiva
R’ Nahman b. Isaac
Jewish Astrology
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From Samuel too [we learn that] Israel is immune from planetary influence.
For Samuel and Ablat were sitting, while certain people were going to a
lake.5 Said Ablat6 to Samuel: 'That man is going but will not return, [for] a
snake will bite him and he will die.' 'If he is an Israelite,' replied Samuel. 'he
will go and return.'7 While they were sitting he went and returned.
[Thereupon] Ablat arose and threw off his [the man's] knapsack, [and] found
a snake therein cut up and lying in two pieces — Said Samuel to him, 'What
did you do?'8 'Every day we pooled our bread and ate it; but to-day one of
us had no bread, and he was ashamed. Said I to them, "I will go and collect
[the bread]".9 When I came to him, I pretended to take [bread] from him, so
that he should not be ashamed.' 'You have done a good deed,' said he to
him. Then Samuel went out and lectured: But charity10 delivereth from
death;11 and [this does not mean] from an unnatural death, but from death
itself.
Jewish Astrology
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From R. Akiba too [we learn that] Israel is free from planetary influence. For
R. Akiba had a daughter. Now, astrologers12 told him, On the day she
enters the bridal chamber a snake will bite her and she will die. He was very
worried about this. On that day [of her marriage] she took a brooch [and]
stuck it into the wall and by chance it penetrated [sank] into the eye of a
serpent. The following morning, when she took it out, the snake came
trailing after it. 'What did you do?' her father asked her. 'A poor man came to
our door in the evening.' she replied, 'and everybody was busy at the
banquet, and there was none to attend to him. So I took the portion which
was given to me and gave it to him. 'You have done a good deed,' said he
to her. Thereupon R. Akiba went out and lectured: 'But charity delivereth
from death': and not [merely] from an unnatural death, but from death itself.
Jewish Astrology
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From R. Nahman b. Isaac too [we learn that] Israel is free from planetary
influence. For R. Nahman b. Isaac's mother was told by astrologers, Your
son will be a thief. [So] she did not let him [be] bareheaded, saying to him,
'Cover your head so that the fear of heaven may be upon you, and pray [for
mercy]'. Now, he did not know why she spoke that to him. One day he was
sitting and studying under a palm tree; temptation13 overcame him, he
climbed up and bit off a cluster [of dates] with his teeth.
Jewish Astrology
Is It Real?
Talmud: Shabbat 156
R’ Joshua b. Levi vs R’ Hanina
Jewish Astrology
Talmud: Shabbat 156
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It was recorded in R. Joshua b. Levi's notebook: He who [is born] on the first day of the
week [Sunday] shall be a man without one [thing] in him — What does 'without one [thing]
in him' mean? Shall we say, without one virtue?1 Surely R. Ashi said: I was born on the first
day of the week! Hence it must surely mean, one vice. But Surely R. Ashi said: I and Dimi
b. Kakuzta were born on the first day of the week: I am a king2 and he is the captain of
thieves!3 — Rather it means either completely virtuous or completely wicked.4 [What is the
reason? Because light and darkness were created on that day.]5 He who is born on the
second day of the week will be bad-tempered — What is the reason? Because the waters
were divided thereon.6 He who is born on the third day of the week will be wealthy and
unchaste. What is the reason? Because herbs were created thereon.7 He who is born on
the fourth day of the week will be wise and of a retentive memory.8 What is the reason?
Because the luminaries were suspended [thereon] — He who is born on the fifth day of the
week will practise benevolence. What is the reason? Because the fishes and birds were
created thereon.9 He who is born on the eve of the Sabbath will be a seeker. R. Nahman b.
Isaac commented: A seeker after good deeds.10 He who is born on the Sabbath will die on
the Sabbath, because the great day of the Sabbath was desecrated on his account. Raba
son of R. Shila observed: And he shall be called a great and holy man.11
Jewish Astrology
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R. Hanina said to then, [his disciples]: Go out and tell the son of Levi, Not the
constellation of the day but that of the hour is the determining influence. He who
is born under the constellation of the sun12 will be a distinguished13 man: he will
eat and drink of his own and his secrets will lie uncovered; if a thief, he will have
no success. He who is born under Venus will be wealthy and unchaste
[immoral]. What is the reason? Because fire was created therein.14 He who is
born under Mercury will be of a retentive memory and wise. What is the reason?
Because it [Mercury] is the sun's scribe. He who is born under the Moon will be a
man to suffer evil, building and demolishing, demolishing and building. eating
and drinking that which is not his and his secrets will remain hidden: if a thief, he
will be successful.15 He who is born under Saturn will be a man whose plans will
be frustrated.16 Others say: All [nefarious] designs against him will be frustrated.
He who is born under Zedek [Jupiter] will be a right-doing man [zadkan] R.
Nahman b. Isaac observed: Right-doing in good deeds.17 He who is born under
Mars will be a shedder of blood. R. Ashi observed: Either a surgeon, a thief, a
slaughterer, or a circumciser. Rabbah said: I was born under Mars.18 Abaye
retorted: You too inflict punishment and kill.19 It was stated. R. Hanina said: The
planetary influence gives wisdom, the planetary influence gives wealth, and
Israel stands under planetary influence.
Jewish Astrology
Jewish Astrology
Is It Real?
Ramchal: Derech Hashem/The Way of God
Part 2 Chapter 7 - Influence of the Stars
Jewish Astrology
Ramchal: Derech Hashem – The Way of God
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[1] In the first section (1:5.2), we discussed how every physical phenomenon has its roots among the transcendental Forces. 1 When these
phenomena are thus rooted in all necessary ways, they then must be reflected and transmitted to a physical thing in the required form.
It was for this purpose that the stars and their planets were created. Through their cycles, all phenomena rooted in the spiritual realm are
transmitted and reflected to their physical counterparts.2 They can then exist in the terrestrial world in an appropriate form.
The number of stars, as well as the levels of their various divisions, were all designated as deemed necessary and most appropriate by the
Highest Wisdom for this process of transmission.
The ability of all terrestrial things to exist is influenced by their respective stars. Through these stars, their essence is reflected from their
aspect on high among the Roots to that here on earth.
[2] There is another function that God allotted to the stars. Every process that occurs among physical things, as well as all that happens to
them, is initiated on high, and then transmitted by the stars to the terrestrial world in its necessary form. Thus, for example, life, wealth.
wisdom. children, and similar matter are all initiated on high among the Roots. They are then reflected to the terrestrial world among
branches of these Roots in the appropriate form through a particular star. This is the result of particular divisions and combinations of the
stars, following their specific cycles.3
Every event that takes place in the terrestrial world is allocated to a particular star, depending on its specific category. All terrestrial things
are bound under their authority. Through their systems, all things happen as a result of the influence emanating from the stellar array through its
connection with each individual thing.
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[3] Every human being is also subjugated to this system, and whatever happens to him is a result of this astrological influence.
It is also possible, however, that this stellar influence be overridden by a higher power. [This is normally true in the case of the Jews, and
accordingly] our sages teach us, "There is no constellation (Mazal) for Israel"4 The power of God's decrees and influence is stronger than
that of the stars, and what results is therefore dependent on the higher influence rather than on the astrological.
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[4] This stellar influence is also circumscribed [by laws and limitations], as deemed best by the Highest Wisdom. Some of these phenomena are
known by observation, and this constitutes the science of astrology.
The complete nature of this system, however, cannot be ascertained by observation. It is for this reason that astrologers can predict only a
relatively small percentage of future events accurately. Their ability to predict is further reduced by the fact that astrological influences can be
overridden by God's providence completely.
This is the meaning of [what the prophet said (Isaiah 47:13), "Now let the astrologers, stargazers and fortunetellers stand up and tell you]
something [about what will come upon you]." Our sages tell us that this means [that they can predict] something, but certainly not everything.5
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Jewish Astrology
Is It Permitted?
• Shabbat 75
• Rambam vs Ramban
- see Vayeshev HaYam (R’ Yaacov Moshe Hillel)
- Tamim Tichyeh
Jewish Astrology
Is It Permitted?
Talmud: Shabbat 75
R’ Zutra b. Tobiah in Rab's name
R’ Samuel b. Nahmani in R’ Johanan's name
Jewish Astrology
Talmud: Shabbat 75
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R. Zutra b. Tobiah said in Rab's name: He who pulls the thread of a seam1 on the
Sabbath is liable to a sin-offering; and he who learns a single thing from a Magian2 is
worthy of death;3 and he who is able to calculate the cycles4 and planetary courses but
does not, one may hold no conversation with him.5 As to magianism, Rab and Samuel
[differ thereon]: one maintains that it is sorcery; the other, blasphemy. It may be proved
that it is Rab who maintains that it is blasphemy. For R. Zutra b. Tobiah said in Rab's
name: He who learns a single thing from a magian is worthy of death. Now should you
think that it is a sorcerer, surely it is written, thou shalt not learn to do [after the
abomination of those nations],6 [implying], but you may learn in order to understand and
instruct! This proves it.
Jewish Astrology
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R. Simeon b. Pazzi said in the name of R. Joshua b. Levi on the authority of Bar Kappara:
He who knows how to calculate the cycles and planetary courses, but does not, of him
Scripture saith, but they regard not the work of the Lord, neither have they considered the
operation of his hands.7 R. Samuel b. Nahmani said in R. Johanan's name: How do we
know that it is one's duty to calculate the cycles and planetary courses? Because it is
written, for this is your wisdom and understanding in the sight of the peoples:8 what
wisdom and understanding is in the sight of the peoples?9 Say, that it is the science of
cycles and planets.
Jewish Astrology
Is It Permitted?
Vayeshev HaYam
Rambam vs Ramban
Tamim Tichyeh
Jewish Astrology
For more information, personal readings, consultations & courses:
Laurence V Harrould
612 8282 5295
0412 613 613
[email protected]
www.aviel.com.au