Kemios & amulets in Halacha and Kabbalah

Kemios & amulets in Halacha and Kabbalah:
A. Background:
Throughout Jewish history and Jewish literature the use of amulets, or Kemios, are discussed as a mystical and spiritual cure or protection against various issues and calamities.[1] The writing and production of such amulets had a fairly large market of consumers, with the general public believing in their power and capabilities. Even in today’s day and age, there still exists both real and self-made Kabbalists who write amulets for protection, which they provide for people. Certain amulets were Halachically considered proven to give protection and cure while others were not. Accordingly, some amulets were considered Halachically valid to be used while others were considered forbidden due to the prohibition of Darkei Emori. The following article will discuss which amulets are permitted to be used, and whether it is at all recommended today as a form of protection for cure.
B. The prohibition of Darkei Emori in the use of amulets:[2]
What is Darkei Emori: Darkei Emori is literally defined as the ways of the Emorites. The Torah prohibits a Jew to follow the paths of the Emorites, which refers to the performance of actions that have no logic behind them and towards what they are desired to accomplish. This prohibition is possibly rooted in one of several negative commands such as “Bechukoseihem Lo Seleichu”, and “Lo Sinacheish”[3] and practices of Avoda Zara[4], and Kishuf/sorcery[5].
The ruling by an amulet-Kemia:[6] It is permitted to recite incantations or write an amulet for the sake of healing, or for the sake of protection in order to prevent illness or injury. This applies even if one does not know for certain that the incantation or amulet works or not. However, if one knows for certain that the incantation or amulet does not work then it is forbidden to say it or use it due to Darkei Emori. Furthermore, there are opinions[7] who question that perhaps any incantation that is not verified to work, and every Kamiah that is not verified to work, contains the prohibition of Darkei Emori. Practically, [while we rule like the first opinion] every Baal Nefesh is to suspect for their words (in a situation which does not contain much need).[8] 
C. The danger in using even the valid and legal amulets:[9]
Although from the letter of the law it is permitted to use an amulet which is proven to work,  as we explained above in B, nonetheless, one is to be discouraged from doing so due to the danger involved in entering the mystical world of amulets. Evil forces are more prone to damage and attack those who involve themselves with Kemios/amulets, such as one who either personally or his ancestors have been involved in amulets or witchcraft. In the words of the Sefer Chassidim[10] “The evil spirits do not confront and cause damage to a person unless he first confronts them, such as through writing an amulet. This applies whether he personally wrote the amulet or it was written by his ancestors. Accordingly, one should not deal with amulets, even in a case of danger of life, as this is not a wisdom as it shortens man’s life and the life of his descendants, and we do not push away one soul because of another soul and the Torah instructs us to place our trust in God. Hence, one should only rely on prayer and supplication to God who will guard us and our descendants from all evil from now and forever.”
D. The Rebbe’s approach towards use of amulets:[11]
It is not the Chabad custom to use amulets [i.e. Kemios]. Rather, one should increase in his trust in God who is the true healer, and which is the greatest of all Segulos.[12] The best of all the amulets is the observance of Torah and mitzvah’s throughout one’s day, on which it states that it gives one life.[13] Whenever people approached the Rebbe regarding the use of Kemios, he would discourage them from being involved with it due to the known dangers involved in doing so as explained above, and as he once responded “as is public knowledge, I have no involvement with Kemios, and the dangers of this are well-known.”[14]

[1] Admur 301:33; Michaber 301:27; Shabbos 61a-b; Tosefta 8:11; Rashba 86
[2] Admur 301:33
[3] See Rashi on Mishneh Shabbos 67a
[4] See Rama 178:1 “This is only forbidden if the clothing of the gentiles are worn by them for sake of frivolity [pritzus] or it is a gentile custom that has no logic behind it, as in such a case there is room to suspect that the custom derives from the Emorite customs, and that it derive from practices of idolatry passed down from their forefathers.”; See Kapos Temarim Yuma 831 and Chavos Yair 234 that Darkei Emori applies towards practices which the gentiles developed as a result of idolatry, in belief that these actions invoke assistance from their deities.
[5] See Minchas Yitzchak 6:80 that Darkei Emori was prohibited due to that the Emorites innovated the practices based on Kishuf.
[6] Admur ibid; Michaber ibid; Tosefta 8:11; Rashba 86
Explanation of Halacha: Tzaruch Iyun behind this Halacha and the reason for why its ruling differs from the previous ruling regarding illogical actions done for healing. In the previous ruling no mention was made regarding the success level of the treatment, and it simply has to be recognizable to others that it is done for medical purposes, irrelevant of whether it is understood or not or whether it works or not. In this Halacha however Admur depends the allowance on the success level and not on whether it is recognizable to others that it is done for healing. Accordingly, the law by a Lachash:Kemia is stricter than that of a regular treatment. However, according to the explanation of the Levushei Serud it ends up that the law by a Lachash:Kemia is less strict than that of a regular treatment, as by a regular treatment, according to all it must work, while by a Lachash according to some it is valid even if it is not proven to work. The Levushei Serud ibid explains the reason for this leniency by a Lachash:Kemia is because everyone knows that some Lachashim:Kemias work, and thus unless one knows for certain that it does not work it does not contain Darkei Emori. One must thus conclude that even according to Admur, Segula treatments must be known to work, as rules the Levushei Serud, and in addition it must be recognizable to all.
[7] Opinion in Admur and Michaber ibid; Rabbeinu Yonah in Shaareiy Teshuvah 3:104, brought in Ran ibid; Chavos Yair 234
[8] Admur ibid
[9] Sefer Chassidim 1172; 469; Sefer Shemiras Haguf Vihanefesh [Lerner] 90
[10] Sefer Chassidim 1172
[11] See Igros Kodesh 25:25; Shulchan Menachem 4:107-108
[12] Igros Kodesh 25:25
[13] Kefar Chabad Gilyon 841
[14] Igros 4:117-18; Shulchan Menachem ibid

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