Being Lead by Lead…
Someone sent this comment through and I thought that I would make a blog post out of it:
A certain woman(edited by me to remove any embarrassment or lashon Harah). proposes “removing the evil eye” through lead casting (lead is melted and cast into a bucket of water over the person’s head, if there are no air bubbles, the evil eye was removed).
I know lead casting (blei giessen) as an ancient (pagan) custom of new year’s eve, in order to predict the future.
So I had supposed that this practice is not kosher.
Are you aware of any source about this practice within judaism?
I am quite aware of practice, and I am aware that it has made its way into Judaism. Rav Yaakov Hillel lists it as one of several forbidden practices in his book Faith and Folly. Judaism as a whole is the oldest living religion in the world(a fact, look it up). Like most religions on a certain popular level it also suffers a bit of popular illiteracy and thus has acquired over time its fair share of borrowed superstitions. Not that the Rabbanim give these things any credit, again we are speaking at a popular level.
Now there is something called the Ayin Hara, and there are various Rabbinically approved remedies for it. One is recite Tehillim, there are a few formulas for which Tehillim to read and so forth, including one given by Rav Kaduri, that I will get around to posting at some point. There is the prayer of Rabbi Yishmael the Kohen HaGadol, which is time tested defense against the ayin hara. However, I guess people think that with the wars, the Arab Spring, the Obama administration, and the Mayan Calendar that HaShem has His hands(not that he actually has hands) too full trying to keep the world from suffering some sort of horrifying apocalyptic end to be overly concerned with personal prayers right now. However, don’t worry there are a couple of Rabbincally approved remedies that don’t require prayer, such as carrying a piece of Aruda. However, I guess that people are also concerned that the plants are too busy trying to save their own skin, what with global warming, an impending ice age, and those pesky Mayans, that their protective powers are not what they could be.
So what is a yid to do? Simple, turn to a bit of smoke and mirrors. I mean, after all, prayers typically lack and plants rarely have the razzle dazzle that a good stage magician can produce. So we resort to lead casting. Never mind that this will further inhibit the protective powers of plants, as now they have to worry about heavy metal contamination of the water supply(personally that is far more of concern to me as well than is any ayin hara). However, this seems to be an added bonus to being one of the lead ladies. Anyway back to lead casting, its a parlor trick. The lead is pre-treated with certain additives(they differ depending on what the lead is supposed to do, if you are afflicted). Depending on how gullible you seem, the lady may need to do this a number of times(read she uses a number of pre-treated pieces of lead) in or to clear your ayin hara(or more likely your wallet). When either your supply of gullibility or cash(or perhaps both) is finally exhausted(or she has enough to buy her groceries and her children and husband will be home soon) she uses a different piece of lead(quite possibly also treated with different chemicals, again depending on the effect she is going for) and pronounces your life once again safe to live(aside from the amazing amount of heavy metal contamination your gullibility has now helped add to the water supply, but don’t worry, its effects on your children’s mental capacity will ensure that her children have clients as well).
Now in all seriousness, there is a very real danger here. Well actually there is two. Heavy metal contamination of the water supply is a real threat, and you don’t honestly think that these kollel wives trying to make a quick buck on your(or someone else’s) gullibility are actually paying for proper HasMat treatment do you? But aside from the very real physical threat to your family’s continued health. There is also a spiritual threat. I don’t want to sound like my own brand of kook so I am going to put this in the most rationalistic terms that I can. When you seek magical solutions like these, essentially it is a sign that your basic lack of emunah(faith) in HaShem is quite severe. In a sense, you are saying(in your heart if not with your lips) that you don’t trust HaShem to take care of even your most basic spiritual needs(hence you are not resorting to prayer), but that you do trust the old crone with a pot of water and a handful of lead. Rabbi Yaakov Hillel writes that partaking in such things can inadvertently open a person up to negative spiritual forces. I’m going to go a step further, I believe with complete and perfect faith, that going to a lead lady is an absolute avoda zarah(unless you just want to see the show, at which time it is a marit ayin), and that you are actively and willfully transgressing a d’oraitta command(biblical mandate) to stay away from witchcraft and sorcery.