Do not inquire of spirits

The Literal Commandment

Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God. (Leviticus 19:31)

 

The literal commandment is that we should not seek out spirits (through mediums or spiritists).

 

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

Messiah always sought and performed the will of the Father. Through His death and resurrection we have access in One Spirit to the Father (Ephesians 2:18).

If we inquire after spirits then we are seeking after something other than G-d which is tantamount to idolatry.

This commandment pictures the perfect connection we have with the Father through the Messiah.

 

How Messiah Fulfilled

Messiah fulfilled this commandment by not inquiring of spirits.

 

Traditional Observance

This commandment is traditionally observed by not seeking after spirits.

A highly regarded source of Jewish understanding of the commandments, Sefer HaChinnuch offers this insight:

At the root of this precent lies the reason we wrote about the prohibition on practicing augury. For all these forms of vapid nonsense cause a man to leave the essential, true religion and belief in the Eternal Lord, and he will thus turn to follow the nonsense, and he will believe that all that happens to him comes upon him by way of chance, and it lies in his power to better his fortune and remove every harm from himself by those questions [to the medium] and those tricks that he will do. Yet all this will avail him nothing, since everything is decreed by the Lord and Master of the world, and according to the worthy or sinful activity that a man will do, new events, good or bad, will occur for him, as it is written, For according to the work of a man will he requite him (Job 34:11).1

 

Other Notes

We are able to fulfill this commandment today and we should not inquire of spirits through mediums or spiritists.

 

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Footnotes

1. Charles Wengrove, trans., Sefer HaChinuch (Jerusalem:Feldheim Publishers, 1984), vol 3, p139 [back]

Commandment Details

  • Mishneh Torah # 47
  • Mishneh Torah Book # 1
  • Mishneh Torah Book Knowledge
  • Mishneh Torah Category 4- Idolatry and Gentile Customs
  • Reference Leviticus 19:31
  • Scripture Book Leviticus
  • Chapter 19
  • Verse 31
  • English Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God.
  • Hebrew לא אַל-תִּפְנוּ אֶל-הָאֹבֹת וְאֶל-הַיִּדְּעֹנִים, אַל-תְּבַקְשׁוּ לְטָמְאָה בָהֶם: אֲנִי, יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם.
  • Greek 31 οὐκ ἐπακολουθήσετε ἐγγαστριμύθοις καὶ τοῖς ἐπαοιδοῖς οὐ προσκολληθήσεσθε ἐκμιανθῆναι ἐν αὐτοῖς· ἐγώ εἰμι κύριος ὁ θεὸς ὑμῶν.
  • Parashah 30- Kedoshim
  • Positive/Negative Negative
  • Sefer Hachinuch # 255
  • Sef. Hach. Command The prohibition against acting as an 'ov- a medium
  • Category Idolatry
  • We can fullfill today Yes

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