Ask the rabbi

  • Halacha
  • Mysticism and Ayin Hara



Rabbi Yoel Lieberman

Nisan 13, 5774
Hi. Can you please give me a list of sources where I can find information on shedim? Thank you!
ב"ה Shalom I will not encompass all sources, but I will try to give you enough to get started on the subject on "shedim". In Otzar Ha'agada , there are 68 references from Talmudic sources under the entry Shed, also seira' mazikim, Ashmedai. You can find the subject a bit categorized in Pachad Yitzcak, written by Rav Yitzchal Lamferonti zt"l (1679-1756) under the entries of "shed", "Shida" and "Shedim". You can also find some kabbalic sources in sefer Habrit (first printed in 1797) of Rav Pinchas Eliyau of Vilna zt"l . In an encyclopedia from the previous century, Otzar Yisrael By Eisentein, (N.Y. 1942) under the entry "Shedim". RavA. I Kook zt"l in Orot Hakodesh Vol. I . page 321 defines a "shed" and their negative demeanor. .So as not to make my answer just of references, I should add the comments Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook zt"l made on the issue of shedim. He said that one cannot deny their existence since they are mentioned in our Talmudic literature. The scholars in the Talmud lived at a level at which they conversed with angels, and therefore dealing with shedim did not come as a surprise in contrast to our spiritual level today. Furthermore, Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook adds that one must understand that science has not yet created the tools for measuring the spiritual forces in the world and therefore should not belittle their mention in the Talmud.He also points out that although the Rambam does not mention the existence of Shedim in all of his books even in places with there are halachic issues related, nowhere does the Rambam negate their existence. Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook explains that the Rambam omitted mystical things since he was an educator of klal Yisrael and he did not see it as the correct thing to deal with deep spiritual things which for the general public they are vague.(See Sichot Harav Tzvi Yehuda on Parshat Vayishlach, series II.) Chag same'ach.
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