Project Genesis

Demons, Ghosts, and Evil Spirits

Question: Do Jews believe in ghosts, demons, evil spirits, etc ? My friends tell me that Judaism does not believe in the Devil. Rather, Hashem made us with the good inclination and the bad inclination. Thus, all good and evil in the world is a manifestation of one of these drives. However, in real life cases, we do find evidence of individuals who do seem to be possessed by demons, ghosts, evil spirits. Also, such individuals do benefit from exorcisms.

Answer: First and foremost it is important to know that absolutely everything in our universe was created by Gd, both what appears to us to be good and what appears to be evil.

Our concept of Satan is an angel created by Gd whose job it is to tempt us. As explained in the Book of Job, Satan cannot operate without Gd’s permission and directive.

There is room in our philosophy for a belief in demons and other malevolent forces but, again, they are creations of Gd and exist as tools to steer us in the right direction and to avoid pitfalls.

I recommend that you read The Way of Gd by Aryeh Kaplan which explains a lot of this..

All the Best,
Rabbi Azriel Schreiber

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