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tarot fear

To: alt.tarot
From: "J. Karlin" 
Subject: Re: tarot fear
Date: Sat, 03 May 1997 08:30:17 +0000 wrote:
>         So, what about Balaam who receives payment for divination yet
> speaks with God in Num. 22? 

You need to read it again.

Balaam is a professional sorceror the Moabites hire
to curse the Israelites. God uses him, as he often
does with 'evil-doers' to exact his will for the
people of Israel.

> Or the diviners of  1 Sam. 6 who speak God's
> will to the Philistenes? 

Do you know who the Philistines are?? 
I don't think you understand the Bible.

> Why would Isaiah 3 list the diviner and enchanter among
> the honorable men of Israel? 

It does not. The warning here refers to the Lord's
threat to bring down anarchy upon Israel. One way
of doing this is to remove from Israel all those who
might offer direction and guidance (even forbidden

Again, you are not reading carefully.

> Why does Proverbs 16:10 instruct the people to
> listen to the divinations of the king?

That's NOT what it says. Your performance here is just
one more reminder of why it's dangerous to allow just
anyone to read the Bible.

The quote is---

"The king's mouth is an oracle,
he cannot err when he passes sentence."

---and is merely a literary convention to express
the fact that the king is the final arbiter and
appeal for all legal matters. It certainly
does NOT mean that the king should be engaged
in divination.

>         Perhaps it would be more correct to assert that the Bible does indeed
> condemn divination, but that upon closer examination.

---people know as little about the Bible as they do tarot.

>         St. Peter drew lots to select Judas' successor- after praying devoutly,
> of course. :)

OK, one more time---because we obviously have new readers
who've not been given this sermon before---here are the
scriptural arguements (from both Torah and Talmud) that
proscribe divination.


These following is from a series of posts made on the
question of whether or not the Bible prohibits
divination and includes some notes on the difference
between divination and prophecy.

The real difference between the two comes in
looking at the intentionality of the operator.

Basically, if one intends to determine the divine
will, that is a sin. Only the High Priest of Israel
was allowed to do this. Revelation and prophecy, however,
are something else altogether, and are acceptable
because they are 'gifts' from God.

Please note that none of this stuff represents my
opinion about the value of divination or tarot.
It does however represent my reason for thinking
that any Christian or Jew who reads tarot cards
has obviously not read his Bible.

Now, the Bible includes MANY scriptures which, on
their surface, appear to clearly prohibit magic
and divination. The question was then raised about what
the Talmudic commentaries had to say about these
sciptures. And this is what is being discussed here---

On the question of 'intentionality' as it relates to 
the sin of divination, please refer to the following---

From the Babylonian Talmud, Soncino edition

Hullin Tractate

In a discussion of what constitutes a lawful omen versus
an unlawful one (that is, divination) we read---

"An omen which is not after the form pronounced by Eliezar, 
Abrahams's servant, or by Jonathan, the son of Saul, is not 
considered a divination!"

Eliezar in Gen 24:14 commands of Yahweh to show him a sign 
(whose form is established by Eliezar) so that he may know the 
Will of God for his master, Abraham.

Jonathan in 1 Samuel 14:9-14 also intentionally establishes 
the conditions by which he shall know the Will of God.

In both cases therefore, the conditions and forms by
which the omen shall be received and interpreted are 
established by the receptor and interpreter BEFORE 
the sign is received with the intention of receiving 
the information.

In other words they establish, before any sign comes to them, 
that if such and such a sign should appear it will mean this 
and if this other sign should appear it will mean that---
precisely the same thing one does when reading 
tarot cards which have pre-established meanings and 
conditions of interpretation associated with them.

Therefore, tarot IS divination as described here and it is to 
be proscribed under the Law.

On the question of Ślot-casting1---

Please note that when people are told by God to cast lots THAT 
can not be divination (which, by definition, is performed in 
accordance with the wishes of the operator, not God) and 
furthermore, in the case of the New Testament, that single 
episode was performed in the midst of a great crisis and certainly 
represented no more of a behavioral exhortation to emulate or 
repeat it than did Peter's cutting off the ear of the officer
sent to arrest Jesus---it was a unique, understandable
but unacceptable behavior. After all, why should Christians
want to emulate the behavior of the Roman soldiers who also
'cast lots' to divide the clothing of the dead savior?

On the meaning of Exodus 22:17 (18)---

~From: Berakoth, chapter 3

On a question dealing with deriving meaning from the 
juxtaposition of texts it says:

"Ben 'Azzai says: 'Thall shalt not suffer a sorceress to live' 
and it says immediately afterwards---'whosoever lieth with a 
beast shall surely be put to death. The two statements were 
put together to tell you that just as one that lieth with a 
beast is put to death by stoning, so a sorceress also is put 
to death by stoning."

"Because the two statements are juxtaposed, are we to take 
this one out to be stoned?" (in other words, is the proximity 
of the verses the ONLY reason to kill the witch?)

"Rather, we learn it as follows-they that divine by a ghost 
or a familiar spirit come under the heading of sorceress. 
Why then were they mentioned separately? To serve as a basis 
for comparison: just as they that divine by a ghost or familiar 
spirit are to be stoned, so a sorceress is to be stoned."

and later, this same discussion of 'semukim' (verse 
interpretations based on proximity of the texts) occurs in

Yebamoth, chapter 1

"In truth, the penalty of the sorceress is derived from the 
following: the necromancer and the charmer were included among 
the sorcerer; why were they mentioned separately? In order that 
others may be compared to them, and to tell you that as the 
necromancer and the charmer are subject to the death penalty 
of stoning (Levi: 20, 27) so is a sorceress also subject 
to the penalty of stoning."

In the Yerushalmi Talmud the discussion is enhanced in the
Sanhedrin in 7:13

In a discussion of what constitutes forbidden magic---

"He who does a deed is liable---NOT merely one who creates an 

(thus David Copperfield does not violate the Torah 
with his magic acts---but those claiming to do 'real' 
magic certainly do.)

further on R. Akiva says---

"You shall not permit a sorceress to live. All the same are a 
sorcerer and a sorceress, that is, both are to put to death. 
But, in referring to a sorceress, the Torah has taught you 
how things really are, for the vast majority who practice 
sorcery are women."

and R. Eleazar says---

"A sorcerer is subject to the death penalty through stoning!"

Then in the Shabbat, Chapter 7

(in a discussion on separate culpability)

"For R. Bun bar Hiyyas said : 'In the view of R. Ishmael, two 
matters which have been treated explicitly, separate from the 
general rule covering them, may be subject to separate counts 
of culpability.

For R. Ishmael taught as follows:

'Now---are not divination and witchcraft subject to the same 
general prohibition of magic? They have been treated as distinct 
and requiring specification so as to make a distinction 
therein---thus indicating that one is culpable on each count."

(and thus, presumably, may be doubly stoned to death)

Please NOTE---there is a GENERAL prohibition against
magic and the specifications of that prohibition include---

1. Sorcery
2. Witchcraft
3. Divination
4. Necromancy

and while some of these things overlap in meaning it is 
clear that the word 'mchasheifah' MUST have meant 'one
who practices magic' (a female one in this case) because

In Deuteronomy 18:10 the word is used (in the masculine)
in the general prohibition against the 'abominable
practices' of the Canaanites which include divination
and sorcery as well as child-sacrifice AND, in Exodus
7:11 the word is used in plural (mchashfim) to refer to the 
magicians of Pharoah.

Therefore, the meaning of the word is VERY clear and the
only reason one might discuss the limited usage of 'poisoner'
is in reference to the apparent confusion that may have
been created when the Greek word 'pharmakous' was used in 
the Septuagint.

Also, it is interesting to look at the phrasing of this
verse because it uses 'not let live' instead
of the usual 'shall be put to death' and this, according
to the JPS Torah Commentary, indicates that this offense was
seen as particularly vile and warranting a more severe
and certain punishment than other death penalty offenses.

So, there is no doubt that we've got to kill all the
witches, but probably all the poisoners too.

on the question of idolatry or idol-worship---

The Sanhedrin says-

"He who engages in idol-worship is executed-it is all the 
same whether he serves it, sacrifices to it, offers incense 
to it, makes libations upon it, prostrates himself 
before it, accepts it as a god, or says to it-'thou art my god'."

Thus, there is a distinction made here between using 
the power or deity (as in divination or magic) and actually
accepting it as a god (worshipping it). Both are prohibited.
Included in negative precept violations (those not punishable 
by death) includes asking anything in its name 
(including divinatory insights).

And, in reference to your contention that most if not all
prohibitions are meant purely as an ethnocentric
prejudice against alien peoples and their deities---that
misses again the theological premise operative here---that
one can identify the power and goodness (and more
importantly, the omniscience) of Yahweh both by what he
allows and what he finds abominable and he must
find magic and divination abominable because both
practices seek to diminish the role of the omniscient
and omnipotent God to decide the fate of the universe.

What you or I may perceive as exceptions to his vast 
array of prohibitions misses this point---that the 
spirit of the Law MUST fundamentally be formulated in 
acknowledgment of Gods unique and privileged divinity---
privileged in that he and he alone is allowed to 
arbitrate the affairs of man and the universe.

So, any behavior that contradicts this spirit MUST be deemed
unlawful and sinful. That's also largely the point intended
(and generally missed by 'believers') in Jesus' mission
to fulfill the Law.


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