More Discussions for this daf
1. The existence of Shedim 2. The size of eggs 3. Shedim, in the Rambam's opinion
4. Seah 5. Tzelach about Zugos 6. Size of Revi'is for a Mitzvah d'Oraisa
7. k'Beitzah 8. המקווה של השולחן
DAF DISCUSSIONS - PESACHIM 109

Yehuda Wiesen asked:

Rabbi Kornfeld,

More directly, is there a Jewish tradition which says that these things never existed (demons, shedim, sorcery, etc. such as on pages 110-112 of Pesachim)? If not, why not? If so, how does it deal with the serious discussion of these in the Talmud?

The Kollel replies:

The RAMBAM writes in a number of places that Shedim do not exist and never existed, and the same for Kishuf (sorcery). Only the "feebleminded" believe in those things (Hilchos Avodah Zarah 11:16 and other places, cited by the Shulchan Aruch in 179:6 as well). According to the Rambam, all of the discussions about these things in the Gemara are metaphorical and are not to be understood literally, as he writes in Perush ha'Mishnah at the beginning of Perek Chelek in Sanhedrin.

However, others differ and maintain that the Gemara is to be understood literally, and that Shedim and sorcery are (or at least were ) real forces in the world. They write that the Rambam was mistaken in his assertion that they never existed (see Derashas ha'Ramban in "Toras Hash-m Temimah" and Bi'urei ha'Gra, Yoreh De'ah 179:13). They explain that there are many forces, spiritual ones, that Hash-m put into the world, which are generally hidden from the eyes and the perception of man (there are a number of reported incidents of such forces in recent generations, such as the incident witnessed by Rav Elchanan Wasserman, zt'l, H'y'd, which he related to his students on numerous occasions, and many others witnessed by trustworthy individuals).

I heard from Rav Moshe Shapiro, shlit'a, that the Rambam also agrees to the existence of such forces. When he writes that it is all falsehood, he means that all of these forces belong in the "world of falsehood" -- that is, things which exist in the world but which lead a man to folly and distract him from the proper direction and purpose in life. The topic is certainly one of great interest and touches on many unknown aspects of the world.

-Mordecai

Yehuda Wiesen asked:

Rabbi Kornfeld,

More directly, is there a Jewish tradition which says that these things never existed (demons, shedim, sorcery, etc. such as on pages 110-112 of Pesachim)? If not, why not? If so, how does it deal with the serious discussion of these in the Talmud?

The Kollel replies:

The RAMBAM writes in a number of places that Shedim do not exist and never existed, and the same for Kishuf (sorcery). Only the "feebleminded" believe in those things (Hilchos Avodah Zarah 11:16 and other places, cited by the Shulchan Aruch in 179:6 as well). According to the Rambam, all of the discussions about these things in the Gemara are metaphorical and are not to be understood literally, as he writes in Perush ha'Mishnah at the beginning of Perek Chelek in Sanhedrin.

However, others differ and maintain that the Gemara is to be understood literally, and that Shedim and sorcery are (or at least were) real forces in the world. They write that the Rambam was mistaken in his assertion that they never existed (see Derashas ha'Ramban in "Toras Hash-m Temimah" and Bi'urei ha'Gra, Yoreh De'ah 179:13). They explain that there are many forces, spiritual ones, that Hash-m put into the world, which are generally hidden from the eyes and the perception of man (there are a number of reported incidents of such forces in recent generations, such as the incident witnessed by Rav Elchanan Wasserman, zt'l, H'y'd, which he related to his students on numerous occasions, and many others witnessed by trustworthy individuals).

I heard from Rav Moshe Shapiro, shlit'a, that the Rambam also agrees to the existence of such forces. When he writes that it is all falsehood, he means that all of these forces belong in the "world of falsehood" -- that is, things which exist in the world but which lead a man to folly and distract him from the proper direction and purpose in life. The topic is certainly one of great interest and touches on many unknown aspects of the world.

-Mordecai