Demons and Mazikin

Demons and Mazikin:

The existence of Demons is mentioned through scripture[1]  and the Talmud[2] and Poskim.[3] Some even say that the concept of Ruach Ra’ah in Chazal refers demons.[4] Some Rishonim[5], however, held that the entire concept of demons is fiction. However, the Poskim[6] negate this opinion. It is hence imperative for a G-d fearing Jew who believes in the Torah and in the word of the Sages to believe in their existence.[7]

Do demons and their dangers exist even today? Some Poskim[8] rule that one no longer needs to beware of dangers that are due to Ruach Ra’ah, and seemingly the same would apply likewise to demons.[9] Practically, however, the Poskim[10] negate this opinion and so is the custom. [As for those sources which negate the concept of Ruach Ra’ah today, most can be explained to refer to specific types of Ruach Ra’ah, while other types exist even today. Accordingly, some Talmudic warnings due to Ruach Ra’ah are indeed omitted from the Poskim and no longer need to be followed, while others exist even today and must be guarded, as stated in the Poskim.[11]]


[1] The verse states, “Velo Yizbechu Od El Haseirim” and Yizbechu Lasheidim”

[2] See Miseches Gittin in length regarding the Maaseh with Ashmadaiy and Beniyahu Ben Yehoyada

[3] See Michaber Y.D. 179:16; Admur 307:32; Sefer Nishmas Chaim Mamar Shelishis 12-13; Taamei Haminhagim  Likkutim 74; Otzer Yad Hachaim 868-899; Pardes Yosef Vayikra 17:7

[4] See Rashi Taanis ibid; See Hisorerus Teshuvah 1:120

[5] See Meiri Sanhedrin 96 that the entire concept of demons is Divrei Havaiy

[6] Shut Radbaz 3:407

[7] Radbaz 3/405

[8] Magen Avraham Orach Chaim 173:1 regarding meat and fish that “it is possible that today there is no longer much danger involved in the above as we see that are a number of matters mentioned in the Talmud which were forbidden due to danger of the “evil spirit” and other matters and today they cause no damage.”; Hagahos Mordechai Miseches Shabbos Perek Hamotzi that the Talmudic danger of eating peeled garlic, onions, and eggs, no longer applies today; Rashal in Yam Shel Shlomo Chulin 88 that the Ruchos which the Talmudic sages warned about are no longer around today; Elya Raba 1:4 in name of Rashal; Machatzis Hashekel 4:1 in name of Rashal; Mahram Chaviv Yuma 44ba; Lechem Mishnah in his explanation of Rambam Hilchos Shevisas Asor 3:2; Tevuos Shur 6:14 that for this reason the Rambam omitted all of the Talmudic dangers of Ruach Ra’ah; Malbim in Artzos Hachaim 4:4 in great length that Rambam holds there is no Ruach Ra’ah today; Makor Chaim 4:3 that today people don’t get damaged by the Ruach Ra’ah being that together with the Yeridas Hadoros of Kedusha is also Yeridas Hadoros of Kelipa; See Admur 328:41 and Rama 328:35 that Ruach Ra’ah is not a danger or great pain; See Tosafus Chulin 107b; Yuma 77b that Shibsa is no longer around today; Abayey in Pesachim 112b that he banished all the Mazikin; Rav Poalim 2 Kuntrus Yesharim 9

[9] The reason: Some Poskim rule that today there is no more Ruach Raah and hence one is not required to wash his hands three times in the morning. [Poskim ibid]

[10] Setimas Kol Haposkim and Shulchan Aruch Michaber and Admur who bring many laws of Ruach Ra’ah dangers; Shvus Yaakov 3:70; Chasam Sofer Y.D. 101; Maharam Shick Y.D. 244; See Admur Shemiras Guf Vinefesh Kuntrus Achron 1 that possibly Abayey’s banishing was counterproductive and now we need to be even more careful.

[11] See Kaf Hachaim Y.D. 116:44

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