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Do demons and ghosts exist?


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#1 Googliemooglie

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Posted 18 November 2011 - 03:32 PM

I've been watching slot of paranormal movies and tv shows and I'm really afraid of demons and anything paranormal. Like, I'm really freaked out. I know people say that there's no such thing as ghosts, but then there are these people who say that they've experienced it and they've got proof.... Also, there are those spooky moments I have when I think that there's someone watching me or there's something evil around... It's scaring me out of my wits. I can't sleep. I know that there have been shaidim and some people say that they no longer exist. But, people say they do and I've always had this feeling that there was something wrong with certain places..... Please just tell me if there are or aren't paranormal entities on earth. Thanks.

#2 Rabbi Shapiro

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Posted 20 November 2011 - 03:46 PM

Well technically anything that is שלא על פי דרך הטבע qualifies as a paranormal phenomenon, such a miracles like Krias Yam Suf, Kabbalas HaTorah and Techiyas HaMeisim so the answer is yes.

But if you're asking specifically about ghosts and Sheidim and other such sentient paranormal beings, the answer is as follows:

Sheidim exist (or, at the very least, they can do actual physical damage in the world even though they do not have actual physical essence), as do other kinds of apparitions, but you do not have to worry about them because they do not haunt houses or make the wind blow your curtains open or cause cups and saucers to shake. Forget what you see on TV and in the movies. That is all fiction. All of it. Johnny Blaze or KhLOG have about as much similarity to Sheidim as Philip Burg's teachings have, l'havdil elef havdolos, to - and it is painful even to mention them in the same sentence but I did say l'havdil elef havdolos - the Kisvei Arizal.

In other words, zero.

So don't be freaked out. Ghosts and demons portrayed on TV are all fairy tales, and you don't have to worry about real Sheidim because as a rule, if you do not bother them they do not bother you. And even if they wanted to come bother someone, they'd have no reason to pick on a random teenager. Or even a random adult. They don't work that way. They are a different concept entirely.

Believe me, having a television in your house is much more dangerous than having Sheidim in it. ;)

PS - To preempt the predictable questions about the Rambam's position on Sheidim: I was not unmindful of the Rambam. There are, however, ways to reconcile the Rambam and Chazal. What I have written above fits with the reconciliations.

#3 Chaim613

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 09:30 PM

The Magen Avraham, Orach Chaim 581 (1) describes the reason we say selichos when we do, is because G-d travels across 18000 worlds (based on GM in Avodah Zarah). Are these literal worlds, ie. planets? Extraterrestrials?

thanks

#4 Rabbi Shapiro

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 05:48 PM

The Magen Avraham, Orach Chaim 581 (1) describes the reason we say selichos when we do, is because G-d travels across 18000 worlds (based on GM in Avodah Zarah). Are these literal worlds, ie. planets? Extraterrestrials?

thanks

Those are hidden, spiritual worlds, not part of our physical reality. From the Chofetz Chaim:

ספר שמירת הלשון ח"א - שער התבונה - פרק י
וְכַאֲשֶׁר נִתְבּוֹנֵן הֵיטֵב נִרְאֶה בֶּאֱמֶת, כִּי הָעוֹלָם הַזֶּה הוּא אֵינֶנּוּ אֲפִלּוּ כְּגַרְגִּיר חַרְדָּל נֶגֶד הָעוֹלָמוֹת עֶלְיוֹנִים כֻּלָּם, (כִּי עוֹלָמוֹת הַרְבֵּה יֵשׁ לְמַעְלָה, כְּמוֹ שֶׁאָמְרוּ חֲזַ"ל בַּעֲבוֹדָה זָרָה בְּפֶרֶק קַמָּא, (ג' ע"ב) שֶׁהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא שָׁט בְּכָל יוֹם בִּשְׁמוֹנָה עָשָׂר אֶלֶף עוֹלָמוֹת שֶׁלּוֹ, וּבִפְרָט לְפִי הַמְבֹאָר בַּזֹּהַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בְּכַמָּה מְקוֹמוֹת).

And from the Chasam Sofer:

חתם סופר על דברים פרק כט פסוק כח
ואמרנו בניקוד על לנו ולבנינו ועל ע' שבעד עולם, והוה כאלו לא כתיב הניקוד וא"כ כתיב והנגלות ד' עולם פי' כי כ' מג"א ח"י אלף עולמות שט בהם הקב"ה עיי' ריש הלכות ר"ה והם נסתרות, והנגלות הם ד' עולמות המבוארים בברכת יוצר של שבת עה"ז ועה"ב וימות המשיח ותחיית המתים, והיינו והנגלות ד' עולמות, ומ"מ הרי עתיד הקב"ה להנחיל לכל צדיק ש"י עולמות וא"כ זה איננו נסתר כמו אינך ח"י אלף ולא נגלה כמו אלו ד' עולמות, על כן לנו ולבנינו ע' גמטרי' ש"י, נמצא הנסתרות הם ח"י אלף והנגלות מ"מ הם ד', והמרומז בניקוד הם ש"י עולמות והבן זה. [תקפ"ז]:

The idea of the 18,000 worlds is explained in the Zohar זו"ח מדרש הנעלם (מ"ט ע"א)י.