[Avodah] 13 Middos

Zev Sero via Avodah avodah at lists.aishdas.org
Mon Sep 7 17:42:30 PDT 2015

On 09/07/2015 07:32 PM, Micha Berger wrote:
> On Sun, Sep 06, 2015 at 10:18:07PM -0400, Zev Sero via Avodah wrote:
> : Yes, that is exactly what it is: magic.  Theurgy, as R Micha calls it.
> : Hashem promised that when we say these 13 words He will listen, so we
> : say them and invoke that promise.
> : Another indisputable example of theurgy in Judaism: burning ketores
> : to stop a plague.  This is explicitly not about the kavana, but a
> : magical power that the holy ketores has..
> Where is this made explicit?

It's described as a secret that the Malach Hamaves gave Moshe, that
ketores stops plagues.  Moshe didn't tell Aharon what kavanos to
have, just take some ketores and go there.  And when Aharon got there
the Malach Hamaves protested, and wanted to continue his work, so
obviously it was the ketores that was stopping him, not anything else.
How is that not an explicit statement that it works like a magic spell?

Also, the gemara deduces that this is where Moshe must have got it,
because how else could he possibly have known about it?  Now if it
was about the kavanos or the zechus of the mitzvah stopping plagues,
then why couldn't Moshe Rabbenu have worked it out from first principles?
This shows that it isn't anything that could be worked out, there's
no reason why it should be so, it just is.  In other words, magic.

> On Sun, Sep 06, 2015 at 10:27:39PM -0400, Zev Sero via Avodah wrote:
> :> Hashem doesn't ask us to say the pesuqim, He asks us to do them.
> : That's not what Rashi says there.  "She'im yazkirum".
> Who said that remembering something in tefillah, unlike lekhishah, talks
> about the words themselves without internalization? What's the verb for
> tefillah, anyway?

"Lehazkir" doesn't mean to remember, it means to mention, to
pronounce words.   For that matter, the word "yaasu" that you're
basing yourself on refers not to the midos themselves but to the
"seder tefillah", i.e. the ritual of naming the midos.

> Hashem is not only just, He's not a Vatran. The notion of magic words
> that gain even a measure of mechilah without necessitating teshuvah
> would be very problematic.

But that is what the gemara seems to say.

Zev Sero               I have a right to stand on my own defence, if you
zev at sero.name          intend to commit felony...if a robber meets me in
                        the street and commands me to surrender my purse,
                        I have a right to kill him without asking questions
                                               -- John Adams

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