Do not attempt to contact the dead

The Literal Commandment

There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. (Deuteronomy 18:10-11)

 

The literal commandment is that we should not "call up" the dead.

 

Messiah Says

Messiah implicitly affirmed this commandment when He spoke about the Law:

"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-19)

 

Pictures of Messiah

The person who contacts the dead seeks after knowledge or power that is not their own nor is it given to them by the Most High.

This commandment pictures Messiah in that perfect relationship with the Father that precludes the need to seek out anything beyond what was given to Him.

We find this in the writings of the prophet Isaiah:

Behold, I and the children whom the LORD has given me are for signs and wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion. When they say to you, "Consult the mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter," should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living?

To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn. They will pass through the land hard-pressed and famished, and it will turn out that when they are hungry, they will be enraged and curse their king and their God as they face upward. Then they will look to the earth, and behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish; and they will be driven away into darkness. (Isaiah 8:18-22)

 

How Messiah Fulfilled

Messiah fulfilled this commandment by not attempting to contact the dead.

 

Traditional Observance

This commandment is traditionally observed in a very literal manner: by not attempting to contact the dead. Attempting to contact the dead indicates that a person doing such does not trust G-d and instead they are seeking out knowledge or power from other sources.

Although Jews honor their dead in prayer and petition to G-d, they do not pray to the dead person themselves.

 

Other Notes

We are able to fulfill this commandment today and should not attempt to contact the dead.

 

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Commandment Details

  • Mishneh Torah # 64
  • Mishneh Torah Book # 1
  • Mishneh Torah Book Knowledge
  • Mishneh Torah Category 4- Idolatry and Gentile Customs
  • Reference Deuteronomy 18:11
  • Scripture Book Deuteronomy
  • Chapter 18
  • Verse 11
  • English or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.
  • Hebrew יא וְחֹבֵר, חָבֶר; וְשֹׁאֵל אוֹב וְיִדְּעֹנִי, וְדֹרֵשׁ אֶל-הַמֵּתִים.
  • Greek 11 ἐπαείδων ἐπαοιδήν, ἐγγαστρίμυθος καὶ τερατοσκόπος, ἐπερωτῶν τοὺς νεκρούς.
  • Parashah 48- Shoftim
  • Positive/Negative Negative
  • Sefer Hachinuch # 515
  • Sef. Hach. Command The prohibition against making any enquiry of the dead
  • Category Idolatry
  • We can fullfill today Yes

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