Do Jews believe in ghosts?

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Do Jews believe in ghosts?

Postby Belligerent Bob » Mon Nov 03, 2008 5:17 pm

Do Jews believe in ghosts? What is the torah/gemorah belief when it comes to ghosts?

It has come up in conversation, that more than 1 person at my workplace believes our work building is haunted...
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Re: Do Jews believe in ghosts?

Postby Doughnut » Wed Nov 05, 2008 10:45 am

Is this necessarily a "policy" question? Can an individual believe in ghosts (or vice versa) without it being a "Judaism" issue?

The gemara certainly speaks about demons and spirits.
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Re: Do Jews believe in ghosts?

Postby Belligerent Bob » Wed Nov 05, 2008 12:16 pm

Doughnut wrote:Is this necessarily a "policy" question? Can an individual believe in ghosts (or vice versa) without it being a "Judaism" issue?

The gemara certainly speaks about demons and spirits.


Well, a ghost is essentially a neshama, correct? At least that is what it always seems to be portrayed. So do neshamas ever get left or trapped here or come back here?

When the gemarah talks about spirits don't they mean more of a being from either above or below? Not of a human who is deceased?

I think it kind of is a policy question. If as a religion we don't believe in them, than how could an individual believe in them without it being some form of apikorsis?
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Re: Do Jews believe in ghosts?

Postby Red Hare » Sun Dec 07, 2008 9:00 pm

Good question !
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Re: Do Jews believe in ghosts?

Postby Gabbe » Wed Mar 23, 2011 12:51 pm

Belligerent Bob wrote:
Doughnut wrote:Is this necessarily a "policy" question? Can an individual believe in ghosts (or vice versa) without it being a "Judaism" issue?

The gemara certainly speaks about demons and spirits.


Well, a ghost is essentially a neshama, correct? At least that is what it always seems to be portrayed. So do neshamas ever get left or trapped here or come back here?

Well, there are certainly stories in the Gemara of spirits of dead people coming back from the dead to answer questions or give agricultural advice (no kidding). So they believed in them.
Last edited by Gabbe on Wed Mar 23, 2011 1:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Do Jews believe in ghosts?

Postby Belligerent Bob » Wed Mar 23, 2011 12:59 pm

Gabbe wrote:Well, there are certainly stories of spirits of dead people coming back from the dead to answer questions or give agricultural advice (no kidding). So they believed in them.


Weren't those typically in dreams? I don't think a dream visit would qualify as a ghost.
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Re: Do Jews believe in ghosts?

Postby Gabbe » Wed Mar 23, 2011 1:03 pm

Belligerent Bob wrote:
Gabbe wrote:Well, there are certainly stories of spirits of dead people coming back from the dead to answer questions or give agricultural advice (no kidding). So they believed in them.


Weren't those typically in dreams? I don't think a dream visit would qualify as a ghost.

OK, that's fair. There still is the story of the seance in shmuel aleph (perek 28).
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Re: Do Jews believe in ghosts?

Postby Doughnut » Wed Mar 23, 2011 1:22 pm

http://www.mykaddish.com/shiva.html

If you read #6 it mentions that the soul of the deceased maintains some presence in a shivah house. I have heard that before, though what it means (and whether believing it is true is necessary to maintain one's status as an Orthodox Jew) I do not know. But, it is an indication that there is a belief within Judaism that a remant of the soul (of some sort) can exist in this plane of existence. Is that a "ghost" in the traditional understanding? Call it what you will.

To speak to the original question, the demons and spirits mentioned in the gemara and other places are certainly capable of behaving in ways to lead one to the conclusion that a place is "haunted." Need not be inhabited by a traditional "ghost."
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Re: Do Jews believe in ghosts?

Postby Melech » Wed Mar 23, 2011 2:18 pm

There's a gemara of R. Yehudah Hanasi coming back every Friday night to make kiddush for his family.
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Re: Do Jews believe in ghosts?

Postby Belligerent Bob » Wed Mar 23, 2011 2:26 pm

Melech wrote:There's a gemara of R. Yehudah Hanasi coming back every Friday night to make kiddush for his family.


Very creepy. :huh:
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Re: Do Jews believe in ghosts?

Postby Melech » Wed Mar 23, 2011 2:27 pm

Yeah, it's creepy. And the question is how to interpret it. Lubavitchers use it as a piece of evidence regarding resurrection of holy people.

ETA:

see here http://moshiach.freeforums.org/tzaddiki ... -t107.html
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Re: Do Jews believe in ghosts?

Postby Melech » Wed Mar 23, 2011 2:33 pm

here's the gemara Ketuvot 103a


Our Rabbis taught: When Rabbi52 was about to depart [from this life] he said, ‘I require [the presence] of my sons’. When his sons entered into his presence he instructed them: ‘Take care that you shew due respect to your mother. The light53 shall continue to burn in its usual place, the table53 shall be laid in its usual place [and my] bed shall be spread in its usual place.54 Joseph of Haifa and Simeon of Efrath who attended on me in my lifetime shall attend on me when I am dead’.

‘Take care that you shew due respect to your mother’. Is [not this instruction] Pentateuchal, since it is written, Honour thy father and thy mother?55 — She was their stepmother.56 [Is not the commandment to honour] a stepmother56 also Pentateuchal, for it was taught: Honour thy father and thy mother,’55 ‘thy father’57 includes58 ‘thy stepmother’,’and thy mother’59 includes60 ‘thy Stepfather’,61 and the superfluous waw62 includes ‘thy elder brother’? — This exposition63 [was meant to apply] during [one's own parents’] lifetime but not after [their] death.

‘The light shall continue to burn in its usual place, the table shall be laid in its usual place [and my] bed shall be spread in its usual place’.64 What is the reason? — He used to come home again at twilight every Sabbath Eve. On a certain Sabbath Eve a neighbour came to the door speaking aloud, when his handmaid whispered, ‘Be quiet for Rabbi is sitting there’. As soon as he heard this he came no more,in order that no reflection might be cast65 on the earlier saints.66

(52) R. Judah I (135-220 C.E.) the Patriarch, compiler of the Mishnah.
(53) Which he used during his lifetime.
(54) ‘Bed shall. . . place’ is wanting in MS.M.
(55) Ex. XX, 12.
(56) Lit., ‘a father's wife’.
(57) lhct ,t emphasis on ,t the sign of the defined accusative, which is not absolutely essential in the context.
(58) Lit., ‘this’. Cf., however, Beth Joseph, Y.D. 240 ad fin. where the reading is ,ucrk’to include’.
(59) lnt ,tu cf. supra n. 7 mutatis mutandis.
(60) V. supra note 8.
(61) Lit. ‘thy mother's husband’.
(62) In lnt ,tu.
(63) Lit., ‘these words’, respect for step.parents.
(64) V. supra note 4.
(65) Lit., ‘to bring out’.
(66) ohehsm ‘righteous and pious men’ who were denied the privilege of revisiting their earthly homes.
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Re: Do Jews believe in ghosts?

Postby Red Hare » Wed Mar 23, 2011 5:14 pm

OK. Nice of you to write all that out, Melech. And such nice spacing, too.
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Re: Do Jews believe in ghosts?

Postby Melech » Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:54 am

Red Hare wrote:OK. Nice of you to write all that out, Melech. And such nice spacing, too.


I pride myself on my formatting.
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Re: Do Jews believe in ghosts?

Postby Red Hare » Thu Mar 24, 2011 11:36 am

You should. It's awesome.
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Re: Do Jews believe in ghosts?

Postby Belligerent Bob » Thu Mar 24, 2011 11:50 am

Red Hare wrote:You should. It's awesome.


Melech and Red Hare sitting in a tree R-E-A-D-I-N-G Melech's perfect formatting... :banana:
כישלון הוא תמיד אופציה
אני דוחה את המציאות שלך ולהחליף אותי
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Re: Do Jews believe in ghosts?

Postby Gabbe » Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:10 pm

Belligerent Bob wrote:
Red Hare wrote:You should. It's awesome.


Melech and Red Hare sitting in a tree R-E-A-D-I-N-G Melech's perfect formatting... :banana:

This website is becoming so lame.
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Re: Do Jews believe in ghosts?

Postby Belligerent Bob » Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:32 pm

Gabbe wrote:This website is becoming so lame.


Image
כישלון הוא תמיד אופציה
אני דוחה את המציאות שלך ולהחליף אותי
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Re: Do Jews believe in ghosts?

Postby Red Hare » Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:59 pm

Noted, Gabbe.
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Re: Do Jews believe in ghosts?

Postby Dan » Sun Apr 10, 2011 4:16 am

If you consider the Kav Hayashar a reliable source, then yes, we believe in ghosts (and haunted houses). There are a TON of creepy stories there.
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