Mysterious Gemstones?

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  • #2002590
    rightwriter
    Participant

    What is the Jewish outlook regarding Gemstones and healing properties? Is this brought up anywhere? The Cohen Gadol had the 12 different stones on the choshen so there must have been some materialistic significance to it as well. Any thoughts and sources?

    #2002627
    Yserbius123
    Participant
    1. Pagan nonsense
    2. No
    3. Rav Hirsch on Tetzaveh
    4. See above
    #2002640
    rightwriter
    Participant

    From a website
    “The healing capabilities of gemstones are recorded in both the Talmud and Zohar, indicating that Avraham Avinu had a healing stone hung around his neck which he was able to heal people (Talmud Baba Batra 16b).

    Another reference to the hidden energies of gemstones, among many others, is the even tekumah, the ruby (some opinions point to it being carnelian). In Masechet Shabbat (10b) we learn that this gemstone holds within it the ability to safeguard pregnancy and assist women in all feminine areas of life.

    Like other forms of energy medicine, gemstone energy medicine uses the body’s inherent healing force to nourish and heal us in multiple ways. Each type of gemstone embodies a unique energy that can focus and amplify this healing force and produce specific therapeutic effects.

    Gemstone therapies work. Emotional maladies, mental complaints, and acute and chronic illnesses of all kinds have responded to gemstone energy medicine in unprecedented and exciting ways. Great wonder and wisdom will be found in the 12 Choshen stones for purifying surroundings, for wisdom and great wonder; (Zohar, Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai). ”

    Is any of this true?

    #2002639
    rightwriter
    Participant

    But what did the stones signify in a physical sense then?

    #2002731
    rational
    Participant

    “Gemstone therapies work. Emotional maladies, mental complaints, and acute and chronic illnesses of all kinds have responded to gemstone energy medicine in unprecedented and exciting ways.”

    The most effective gemstone for any malady is the placebo stone. But you have to believe in it for it to work.

    #2002722
    ipchamistabra
    Participant

    Rabeinu Bachya, parashas tetzaveh, citing book of gemstones by aristotle. However scholars attribute the work to ‘pseudo-aristotle’. The use of stones is mentioned in a few hebrew medieval medicinal texts, some of which were recently published. Their use was part and parcel of standard medical practice of the time. Claims of pagan origin or imitating non jews have a basis in ignorance of the facts and rationalist (ie haskalah) ideology.

    #2002750
    rightwriter
    Participant

    What about the sources in Talmud and other

    #2002784
    Yserbius123
    Participant

    @rightwriter

    The Gemara in Shabbos is in the context of folk remedies, like wearing a scary mask to scare away diseases or healing amulets. Most Rishonim agree that the remedies aren’t actual cures, but psychological calming devices that we allow on Shabbos because of the placebo effect.

    See the MAHARSHA on Baba Basra who says that the Gemara about Avrohom Avinu having a healing stone. The Gemara says that when he was niftar, Hashem put the power of the stone into the sun. The MAHARSHA explains that it’s a moshol. Avrohom Avinu had the knowledge of how to heal people and after he was niftar, Hashem gave the sun a certain koach that people will be healthy by spending time in the sunlight.

    #2002800
    OrechDin
    Participant

    Google “Simpsons Tiger Rock.” A fool and his money are soon parted.

    #2002868
    ipchamistabra
    Participant

    Ritva (AZ 28b) And with respect to stones that are known to have a natural segullah [to heal] it would appear that their use is permitted even by monks and minim [the subject under discussion is that a ‘min’ may not be permitted to heal people with incantations, lest they credit his healing to the AZ he promotes. Likewise all other healing modalities that people dont understand. Regular herbs and drugs are permitted. The Ritva rules here that ‘stones’ are in the latter category, being a staple like herbs.] This is the only direct reference to the use of herbs that I have seen in any Rishon.
    WRT placebo, again only one reference (Rambam Laws of AZ 11:11) If someone is bitten by a scorion or snake, it is permitted to recite an incantation [lachash] over the wound in order to calm the patient and fortify him, even though incantaions do not help, since the patient is critically ill, it is permitted in order to prevent him becoming insane. [Rambam is of the opinion – a solitary authority in this respect – that incantations are forbidden by Toirah Law. However, in an instance of life and death, they may be used. Many of his commentators mention the efficacy of placebo in this instance. The Shulchan Oruch quotes Rambam verbatim, even though he accepts the majority opinion that incantations are permitted, and places this instance in the context of being used in Shabbos – a rather unsatisfactory resolution (because he has given much simpler examples elsewhere).]
    At all events Ys’ explanation of the Gemara is in the best tadition of the haskalah, and his claims of sources in multiple Rishonim require hard evidence, rather than vague generalities. The hundreds of responsa right up to the first world war testify that all sorts of energy medicine were halachically accepted, and were used exactly like regular medicine (ie herbs, ointments, tinctures).
    In fact, just for the record, innoculations (as vaccines were called during the eighteenth-nineteenth century) is repeatedly described as a segullah (!) which, since it is of doubtful efficacy, and only preventative, may not be injected in Shabbos.

    #2002965
    commonsaychel
    Participant

    PT Barnum said it best, there is a gullible fool born every minute

    #2002973
    rightwriter
    Participant

    Interesting. But that still doesn’t answer regarding the 12 specifically selected stones that the Cohen gadol wore.

    #2002974
    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    The only gemstone proven to have “healing” properties is a diamond, preferably set in platinum or 18K gold and worn on the finger, wrist, or ears of the recipient. While not a “cure-all”, it has been shown in clinical studies to mitigate or eliminate some of the most serious side effects of acting like a jerk to your wife.

    #2002988
    rightwriter
    Participant

    “The most effective gemstone for any malady is the placebo stone. But you have to believe in it for it to work.”

    -well there is such a thing as therapy through our senses obviously such as therapy using scents/essential oils that produce a very calming effect and can reduce anxiety and boost mood. Someone here already mentioned that some gems and stones can have a therapeutic calming effect when viewing such as turquoise or others. So at minimum in a way they can help as therapy. The question is if the stones themselves have certain healing properties similar to natural herbs, obviously not by ingesting them : ) since of course Hashem created these natural gems and stones and most natural resources and food have strong properties infused in them whether for healing or good health in general.

    #2003048
    rational
    Participant

    “The question is if the stones themselves have certain healing properties similar to natural herbs, obviously not by ingesting them : )”

    “PT Barnum said it best, there is a gullible fool born every minute”

    It’s easier to quote others who have put it quite succinctly. Thank you.

    #2003128
    Yserbius123
    Participant

    @rightwriter Rav Hirsch ZT”L discusses the 12 stones of the Choshen. What makes you think they were selected because of healing properties?

    I did a bit of Googling. I was hard pressed (read: could not) to find a single website about gemstone therapy and crystal healing that was not all about Eastern avodah zara. The whole concept is riddled with things like “reiki” and “chakras”, often subtly hidden behind innocent sounding nonsense phrases like “body energy” and “flows of power”.

    #2003203
    philosopher
    Participant

    Gadolhadorah, lol. I agree that diamonds in gold and platinum settings have magical healing powers. The better the clarity and color, and the bigger they are, the better they work!

    #2003193
    rightwriter
    Participant

    Right but the stones weren’t just randomly selected so they must have had significance aside from just being pretty colors. Also yes the terms you’ve mentioned could be connected to A”Z but the question is if their is any Jewish origin to them as many terms in other religions take root In Judaism which is the kosher manner, such as unicorns, phoenix, black cats and so on. Also didn’t Avraham Avinu send Hagar away with “matanos”? Weren’t the matanos sourced in Judaism? There is also the topic in maseches Shabbos which discusses amulets such as fox tooth for sleep or for keeping awake and many other charms so to speak. Of course there were sages that weren’t fond of the idea but it doesn’t say that it was connected to Avoda Zara does it? And if others turned it into AZ that still doesn’t take away from the original Jewish form which was kosher. Although these things differ from medicinal herbs and such, the question is if someone has a supernatural ailment or something more spiritual, would they need to search for these alternative measures. Also the chakra you bring up isn’t that just the non Jewish version of energy points in the body? We have that in Judaism.

    I found a few sources that bring up Jewish sources such as Rabbeinu Bechaya and others. I’ll post the links.
    https://www.chabad .org/kabbalah/article_cdo/aid/3965005/jewish/Twelve-Precious-Jewels.htm

    https://www.oremunaenergy .com/blog/healing-with-gemstones-and-minerals-the-jewish-way

    https://www.kibitzspot .com/healing-power-of-crystals-and-gemstones/

    Not sure about all these sites authenticity but they do provide sources So just focus on the sources they bring not the nonsense if any applies.

    #2003311
    Yserbius123
    Participant

    @rightwriter I would suggest not believing everything you’ve read on the internet. That “Or Emunah” site is highly questionable and seems to be more based on Eastern mythology than Torah. The “Kibitz” link is just trying to sell chintzy chotchkes. The only good source seems to be this Rabbeinu Bechaye which the Chabad site that quoted it stresses that the true healing is the Torah and Tahara.

    I’m not sure what your agenda is, though it’s clear you have one. But other than one Rabbeinu Bechaye (who stresses that Torah is the ikkar and also seems based on the folk medicine of his time), there is no basis in Yiddishkeit that gemstones have some magical healing properties and can be used to supplement (or substitute) actual medical help.

    #2003390
    1a2b3c
    Participant

    This is so obvious that it should not need saying. But the fact that Hashem chose to command us to use certain gems does not tell us anything about their medicinal properties. Who are we to make any assumptions about why Hashem tells us to do anything?

    #2003392
    rightwriter
    Participant

    You still didn’t answer any of my questions including the significance of the selected 12 stones.

    #2003436
    rightwriter
    Participant

    “But the fact that Hashem chose to command us to use certain gems does not tell us anything about their medicinal properties. ”

    -but it does tell us something and thats what is interesting here. If Avraham Avinu kept a gem on him which had certain properties, and Talmud speaks about other such amulets then there obviously is something to these things. Of course Torah is everything, we live in a physical world where we depend on using physical things as well for our health. Whether physical or spiritual/emotional health.
    What about when Bnei Yisrael had to gaze at the bronze snake to get healed?

    I dont have any agenda smarty pants Yserbius, just interested to find out about this topic since we do see it come up in our seforim. Is the whole case of the fox tooth to sleep/wake up also Avoda Zara according to you?

    Im not saying these gems are a replacement for medical treatments. But maybe for certain spiritual ailments/ayin hara these gems have some properties which Hashem put in them as a certain segula to help heal or ward off negative energy/forces. Im sure there are plenty more sources in Judaism. Also noone answered regarding the matanos that Hagar was sent off with. Wasnt that mystical secrets? Wasnt the source Judaism or at least kosher roots? The fact that they use it for Avoda Zara doesnt change the root of it if the source is kosher.

    For instance you can say what power does a fox tooth have to help you sleep? So what poewer would a stone or gem have? Not exactly power but more property or segula. Thats the topic. Hashem created everything with a purpose.

    #2003443
    Yserbius123
    Participant

    @rightwriter The fox tooth is in the same sugya as the scary mask which I already commented on. Your questions about the significance of the Choshem stones was also answered, look it up in Rav Hirsch. There are multiple other Rishonim and Acharonim who discuss it, I’m sure you can find one or two in a Mikraos Gedolos.

    What about when Bnei Yisrael had to gaze at the bronze snake to get healed?

    Ayin Mishnayos mesachtos Rosh Hashonna (and the London School of Jewish Song song using those words).

    Im sure there are plenty more sources in Judaism.

    I’m sure there aren’t based merely on the fact that none of these gemstone salesmen mention them. The strongest source seems to be Rabbeinu Bechaye. All the other sources mentioned do not state that gemstones have healing properties, such as Avrohom Avinu which I mentioned in an earlier comment.

    #2003447
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    There are mesoros for segulah/spiritual remedies for things; women have a mesorah in blei gissen, for instance. Does anyone have a mesorah for holding or wearing gems as a segulah? If not, why do it?

    Energy healing is riddled with avodah zara, including hisgashmius haboreh – they believe that the “universal energy” is Hashem r”l, snd that it can be channelled, directed… it’s perforce not infinite.

    My rebbe Rav Belsky once told me about a certain respected posek who allowed “practitioners” to literally ask the “kochos” for help in healing their patients prior to doing whatever it is they do. Rav belsky summarily referred to him as a “crackpot”. Unfortunately, the Yeshiva world is not free of avodah zara. Boruch Hashem, we have gedolei yisroel who have warned us for decades to steer clear of energy healing; only recently have some misguided people fallen for it.

    I’m shocked at the matter-of-fact assertion that the refuos in chazal are based on folk wisdom; who besides maskilim has ever said that?…tosfos says that we don’t use them because nishtanu hateva; that’s the majority opinion of the rishonim if i remember correctly. Chazal had a mesorah for scientific knowledge.

    #2003468
    philosopher
    Participant

    AviraDeArah, many people have a mesorah that women wearing rubies prevent miscarriages. I don’t know what the source of this mesorah it is certainly not a mesorah from Eastern cultures, this originates from the times in di alteh heim, from Europe. I’m not sure if Sefardishe or Mizrachi have this mesorah as well, but many Ashkenazim do.

    #2003505
    Yserbius123
    Participant

    @AviraDeArah I didn’t say that Chazal’s refuos were based on folk remedies, I said that a Rishon did. Which is absolutely not problematic to say in any context. For that matter, the Gemara discusses many many strange sounding refuos, especially in Mesechtas Gittin. But I don’t recall any of them mentioning gemstones in particular. So it sounds to me, that when Rabbeinu Bechaye discussed the healing properties of the gems in the Choshen, he was basing it off of common knowledge.

    #2003627
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    Philosopher – thanks; I’ve never heard of that before…there is a gemara about wearing an “even tekuma” for that purpose, though I don’t know how or if it’s applied nowadays

    #2003663
    Yserbius123
    Participant

    @rightwriter And the reason I said that you had an agenda is because you asked very specific questions which you already had answers to that you only mentioned once people responded in a way contrary to the answers you had in mind.

    #2003794
    rightwriter
    Participant

    But you still never answered the questions…

    #2004005
    Yserbius123
    Participant

    @rightwriter I answered all of your questions in the second comment on this thread. Your additional questions about Avrohom Avinu and the Nachas Nechoshes I also answered. What did I miss?

    #2004052
    rightwriter
    Participant

    Significance of the 12 selected stones

    #2004128
    Yserbius123
    Participant

    @rightwriter Rav Hirsch speaks about the specific stones, as do several other meforshim. I don’t have any seforim in front of me, so I suggest you look it up. I’ve never heard of the stones significance being for healing before reading the Rabbeinu Bechaye quoted in a link above.

    #2004152

    You guys inspired me, I’m starting a website selling kamiyot strictly upon Rambam’s mesorah. Some old ones signed by Rambam himself with the kavanot he developed in his later years.

    #2004203
    commonsaychel
    Participant

    I too have been inspired by this thead, I am starting a website selling stones with the haskama of Pinchas Taylor Barnum

    #2004310
    rightwriter
    Participant

    Good to see everyone inspired! It’s so inspiring!

    #2004804
    TRUEBT
    Participant

    Hi rightwriter! Perhaps a few true stories will give you the proper perspective on this.
    1) When I was in Ohr Sameach, they warned us not to learn Kabbalah. They said it is silly to work on Nistar before you finish Nigle. (Nigle means all of Shas both Bavli and Yerushalmi along with all 4 chalakim of Shulchan Orech and understanding all of the main poskim = Shach, Taz, etc.) Of course, some individuals decided to ignore that Psak. The results were disaster. Some of them went to Breslov and got involved with the whole mess that occurred there.
    What’s that got to do with gemstones? Good question. The reason why we avoid Kabbalah is because (as the song says), “When you believe in things you don’t understand, it’s superstition.” Superstition can easily become Avoda Zara.
    The big problem with something that is similar to Avoda Zara (like Yoga) is that ORTHODOX Jews have not violated the prohibition of Avoda Zara for thousands of years. Therefore, we don’t have a clear definition of what is or is not Avoda Zara. For instance, is a Sun Salutation Avoda Zara? After all, the original meaning of the movement was part of a Hindu worship that involved saluting the god of the sun. I asked this question to multiple rabbis. They all told me they don’t know. There is no gemorra that discusses Sun salutes. Why not? Because when the gemarra was written ORTHODOX Jews would never do something like that. The Shayla never came up. Similarly with gemstones (or crystals). Are they being used to cast spells? Invoke Occult powers? Would they be considered witchcraft? Magic? Any of the above is punishable with death according to the Torah. We don’t know. If you ask a Mekubal, they will tell you that most likely all of these “good luck charms” are worthless. The only thing that usually results from them is that the person using them violates some very serious Torah prohibitions.
    Therefore, we stick to halachah. Unless you can find an HALACHIC source for doing something or not doing something, you can safely ignore it.
    2) In the course of my travels, I met a Ba’al Tshuva whose mother owned a gemstone store. He told me that it is all sales hype. I suggest you stop trying to understand it beyond that.
    3) Here’s a story about how not knowing what you are doing when it comes to Nistar can have tragic consequences. This story is from Shmuel Auerbach (the son of Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach). He said that at one time there was an amulet (kameiah) in Yerushalayim. This Kamaiah was allowed to be carried in a Reshus Harabim on Shabbos because a psak halacha had been given that it was known to be effective in curing people. Apparently it had been written by the Taz. It was once given to a Sofer to help him with an illness. This sofer assumed that the Kamaiah had some type of shaimos of angels or of Hashem written in it. The rule with a Kamaiah is that once someone opens it and looks inside, it stops working. He felt that this didn’t matter since he could just copy whatever shaimos were written there and make a new one. He opened it. It said, “in the zechus of the X times that I learned this Tosafos in Chulin which enabled me to get the correct psak, may the person who wears this Kameaih be healed.” Needless to say, the sofer could not duplicate that and the kamaiah stopped working. Think of all the people who could have been healed with that Kamaiah? One person decided that they were smarter than everyone else and ruined it. Similarly with gemstones, I would guess that there are lots of little details that can make things go very wrong.

    For instance, wearing a ruby during pregnancy to prevent miscarriage. Great idea because it is mentioned in halacha. Or maybe if you don’t have this mesorah, it’s considered like New Age Avoda Zara? Highly unlikely you will find a Rabbi willing to pasken this shayla. Is it possible that a Sefardia whose mother wore a ruby while pregnant receives schar for doing a mitzvah while a BT who was influenced by New Age wearing a ruby receives the death penalty? Could it be that the same action results in a radical difference in the Din that depends on your Kavannah? A scary thought as we approach the Yom HaDin! Best advice is don’t mess around with the metaphysical side of Judaism if you don’t have the mesorah.

    Tamim Tiyeh Im Hashem Elokecha!
    Kesiva V’chasima Tova.

    #2004912
    rational
    Participant

    “The rule with a Kamaiah is that once someone opens it and looks inside, it stops working”

    I am most interested in a list or at least a description of the rules of the kameia.

    #2005262
    rightwriter
    Participant

    I’m not saying anything about curing or healing, just saying the 12 stones were chosen for the Cohen gadol so there must be some significance.

    #2005280
    ADHD
    Participant

    Doesn’t the Or Emuna Energy have meany haskomos from rabbnim including Rabbi Benzion Y. Wosner?

    #2005437
    Yserbius123
    Participant

    @rightwriter That’s a whole divrei Torah you’re asking for. There’s literally libraries written about the specific significance of every material Hashem told us to use for the Mishkan. Zahav Tahor, Shoham, T’cheiles, Tola’as Shani, Sheis, Argaman, etc. I suggest you look up Rav Hirsch on Shemos, there’s basically a whole sefer about each and every thing in the Mishkan and what it represents.

    #2005467
    rightwriter
    Participant

    Yserbius, does he go in to detail of why the 12 specific type of stones were chosen?

    #2005546
    Yserbius123
    Participant

    @rightwriter Some of them yes. I don’t think he details each and every stone. It’s still the most comprehensive pshat on the materials used in the Mishkan and Beis HaMikdash that I’ve ever seen.

    #2005574
    Yserbius123
    Participant

    @ADHD According to the Or Emunah website, the only haskama is from Rav Wosner SHLITA. And it’s not much of a haskama, all it really says is that energy healing isn’t Avodah Zara and it isn’t halachically problematic to do it.

    #2006657

    I’m not sure why you are dismissive of Rabeinu Bachya. The idea if the physical power of gemstones is accepted by mainstream poskim, hence the popularity of even tekumah and rubies, even among people who don’t generally go for the latest segulah fads.

    #2006810
    CHOOSID
    Participant

    CHULENT HEALS ALL!!
    INGREDIENTS
    2 yellow onions, chopped
    2 small potatoes, cubed
    2 pounds beef stew meat, cubed
    2-4 marrow bones, optional
    1 cup pearl barley
    1⁄2 cup kidney beans
    1 tablespoon paprika
    1 teaspoon cumin
    1 teaspoon turmeric
    1⁄2 teaspoon chili powder
    2 tablespoons honey
    1 kishka, optional
    3-4 cups of water
    Salt and pepper to taste
    PREPARATION
    1. Place the onions and potatoes in the bottom of the slow cooker.

    2. Top with the beef stew meat and marrow bones. Sprinkle the meat with salt and pepper. Add the barley and kidney beans, then sprinkle on the paprika, cumin, turmeric and chili powder.

    3. Drizzle the top of the cholent with honey, top with the kishka, then pour the water over the top to cover the beans. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low heat overnight, or for at least 8 hours.

    #2006985
    Yserbius123
    Participant

    @daas-yochid I’m dismissive of Rabbeinu Bechaye as a source to state that one can, in contemporary times, use gemstones to heal or protect from injury or illness. If you read what is written, he seems to imply that the healing properties are based on the knowledge of the time, and that Teffilah and Torah work better as a medicine. I don’t know of any major poskim, mainstream or otherwise, that promote gemstone healing. If there were, I doubt Or Emunah would be forced to resort to that single shakey “haskamah” I mentioned earlier.


    @CHOOSID
    That, of course, is a gem that has wonderful healing properties.

    #2007123

    I think if you exhausted other approaches to Hashem – starting with healthy lifestyle, medicines, teshuva, tefila, tzedokah, learning, then it is time for the gems.

    #2007150
    ADHD
    Participant

    Based on a שיור i heard from rabbi yisral rissmen it would seem that its a form of עבודה זרה

    #2009940
    rightwriter
    Participant

    What about the idea of wearing red or a red string against ayin hara? Doesnt that have any Jewish source?

    @alwaysask”I think if you exhausted other approaches to Hashem – starting with healthy lifestyle, medicines, teshuva, tefila, tzedokah, learning, then it is time for the gems.”

    -are you being sarcastic? Because there are definitely cases when people have tried many options. I dont know if gems are necessarily the answer but sometimes unconventional ailments require unconventional methods so you might be on to something.

    #2009993
    Yserbius123
    Participant

    @rightwriter That’s a good question. I do know that some Sephardim (Syrians in particular I think) are very into using red as an anti-ayin hora device, red string in particular. But I don’t know if this is something based on minhag or halacha, or if it’s just a custom picked up from the goyim.

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