Sheva Brachot by Leil Hasder Muktzeh pot lid A Goy who leaves money on Sjabbat wrong name in a ketbuna

Asking astrologers and fortune tellers

Category: // By Rabbi: הרב ירון אשכנזי // Answer date: 08.01.2021

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on telegram
Share on whatsapp
Share on email
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on telegram
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

Question:

I am very curious to know how the Torah views seeking out astrologers and fortune tellers. I have heard of the Goral HaGr”a why is that different?

Answer:

The Rambam in Pirush Hamishanyot Avoda Zara 4:7 writes about fortune telling: From what you must know, true philosophers do to believe in Talismans etc., rather they mock them and those who think they have any power. To explain this will be lengthy, but I will tell you that most or even all people are fooled by these things and others like them, and think they are true, which is not true. This is too an extreme that even those pious Jews think they are true just the Torah forbids them. They do not realize the Torah forbids them even though they are false and meaningless just like the Torah tells you not to lie. These things have had much fame by the Goyim. The start of it was at the time of Avraham Avinu and he fought against them, from the wisdom Hashem gave him. They would attribute to theses things powers they do not have. They started astrology, witchcraft, spells, contacting spirits , starspeak, demons, magic, divining, necromancy, and such that the true Torah forbids these things and commanded to uproot then and these are source of Avoda Zara…These things were made for the needs of the people. In past times the nations got together and tricked the regular people and told them that this images will protect the land … they would believe these are true things and they would tell the people this represents this star or this constellation and they would follow them and believe in them like prophets. The pesukim calls these ‘priests ‘the prophets of Ba’al and Asherah. These who were weak of mind found their books and though the were true without realizing they were made up…
The Rambam understood the reason going to fortune tellers us forbidden is because it is false and we re not supposed to act dumb. The Ramban though argues that astrology and witchcraft actually do work and Hashem decreed from the time of Beraishit that the world will run according to the stars and how they move. However, it is not the hands of Hashem to change what He wants when He wants.
We rule that we do not ask sorcerers as the passuk says: Tamim Tiheyeh Im Hashem Elokecha (You should be complete with Hashem.) “ The Rishonim understood the sorcerers are astrologers. Still the Torah says it is permitted to listen to them and believe what he says and believing them is not divining. The Gemara in Shabbat 156a says R’ Chanina holds Klal Yisrael has Mazel and even Tefilla and Tzedaka may not change it. We rule we have not mazel to ask astrologers is not divining. However sometimes Hashem does a miracle for those who fear him to nullify the Mazalot. Therefore one should go in Temimut and not ask about these things , however if you hear something of import you should pray hard and if you hear that today is a bad day according the astrologers don’t work that day.
The Shulchan Aruch rules though Yoreh Deah 179:1 : We do ask astrologers or those who cast lots. Therefore, we rule like the Rambam who forbid these things.
HaRav Shternbuch explains why doing a Goral, casting lots is not forbidden. It would be forbidden to cast a lot to see fi someone will live or die. However, if one has big decision to make and Even HaEzer want to now which way to decide he may cast a lot and pray to Hashem to find the correct way. One is not relying on the Goral rather he is relying on Hashem that He will push him in the correct direction, it is not to know the future at all.
The Goral HaGr”a was used by many gedolim to make decision of what to do or where to go and there was no problem.

Skip to content