Why did you believe in ghost demons?

The Talmud contains several stories that tell of demons, ghosts and sorcery. However, those who explain the Talmud to us do not think much of it. For example, Maimonides, the Rambam (1135–1204), wrote in his Hilchot Avoda Zara: "But it is not fitting for the Israelites, who are wise and reasonable, to deal with such stupid stuff, or even to think that there is something useful in all of this." In other words: The Rambam rejects the thought of the supernatural . But that is exactly what we are turning to now.

In the Talmud (Chullin 105b), Rabbi Abaje says that he used to believe that one was not sitting under a rain gutter because that was where the water ran off. However, his master, Marbar Raw Aschi, explained to him that one does not sit there because there are demons under the rain gutters.

And then Abaje recounts: “Once certain porters who carried a barrel of wine and wanted to rest put the barrel under a rain gutter - and then it burst. They came to Mar Rav Aschi, who took a shofar and banished him. "

Mar Rav Aschi took a shofar and banished the demon.

So there was a demon under the rain gutter who had burst the barrel.

Substitute Mar Raw Aschi asked him, "Why did you do that?" He replied, "What should I have done? They put it on my ear! ”Mar Raw Aschi said:“ What are you doing in a place where there are many people? ”He should disappear and pay compensation for the barrel. The demon replied that Mar Raw Aschi should set him a deadline and then he would make a replacement. Mar Rav Aschi did - but after the deadline the demon did not come.

In another story, the Talmud (Pessachim 112b) tells of a demon named Agrat, who liked to be mischievous. One should therefore “not go out alone at night”. It is taught that on Wednesday and Shabbat nights you don't go out of the house alone because Agrat, the daughter of Machalat, roams around with 180,000 "angels". Anyone can destroy.

Danger The Talmud goes on to say: “She used to roam around every day. Once she met Rabbi Chanina ben Dosa and said to him: 'If they had not been told in heaven about you to be careful with Chanina and his Torah, I would have put you in danger.' Then he said to her: 'If I had am so respected in heaven, I command you never to travel to inhabited places again. 'Then she pleaded with him:' I ask you to give me a little space. ' Wednesday and Shabbat. "

Something similar is told in the same place by Rabbi Abaje. When he met the demoness, she also said to him: 'If someone in heaven had not said about you to be careful with Nachmani (that probably meant Abaje) and his Torah, I would have put you in danger.' There he said to her: 'If I am so respected in heaven, I command you never again to travel to inhabited places.'

It was evidently assumed that demons walked on predetermined paths and had their "own place".

And the rambam? He rejects the idea that "demons" are something supernatural.

Today we interpret these figures with the means of rationality. The Talmud gives a good example of this in Eruwin 18b. He describes that when Adam was banished, he made ghosts, demons and demons - for it is said: "When Adam was 130 years old, he begat in likeness and in the image."

The Rambam writes in his Leader of the undecided (1,7) that it refers to human beings who do not use the mind. That helps us today to perhaps approach these texts a little more rationally.