This week, as we read in the Parsha about Golus Mitzrayim, we present a letter from the Rebbe on the question of horoscopes, and whether a Jew is allowed to consult with one, being that Egypt was steeped in these practices. The letter, written originally in English, is from the archives of the Rebbe’s personal trusted secretary, Rabbi Nissan Mindel.
By the Grace of G-d
3rd of Nissan, 5727
Chicago 45, Ill.
Blessing and Greeting:
I duly received your letter in which you ask about the Jewish attitude to horoscopes, etc.
Generally, astrology and the like play no part in Jewish life, as it is also written in the Holy Scriptures, “Of the signs in heaven you shall have no fear.” (Jeremiah 10:2).On the contrary, we have the commandment, “Thou shalt be wholehearted with G-d your G-d” (Deut. 18:13), which is also quoted in Shulcahn Aruch (Yoreh Deah, par. 179). This means that the Jew has to have complete and wholehearted faith in G-d and in His benevolent Providence, which extends to each and everyone individually.
As for taking an interest in horoscope, etc., purely as a curiosity and the like, as you mention, this would amount to a waste of interest which should be channeled in a more productive way. For, it is explained in Chassidus that G-d has not given man an excess of capacities, nor a deficiency of it. In other words, every person and especially a Jew, has been a certain amount of capacities and powers of concentration, etc., all of which must be utilized in the fulfillment of his purpose in life on this earth, namely to live in accordance with the Torah and mitzvos and to disseminate justice and righteousness, etc.
It follows from the above, that if a person should divert any of his capacities, thoughts and concentration on a useless thing, even if it be harmless, it is nevertheless harmful in the sense that he would thereby create a deficiency in the area which is important and necessary for him.
The above is even more important in the case of a Jewish woman and housewife, who is called Akeret Habayit , the foundation and essential factor of a Jewish home, since the entire conduct of the home largely depends upon her and it is her great responsibility as well as privilege to make the home a “sanctuary” and abode for G-d’s Presence. It is surely unnecessary to enlarge upon this to you.
The above letter is from The Letter and the Spirit by Nissan Mindel Publications (NMP).
These letters were written originally in English and were prepared for publication by Rabbi Dr. Nissan Mindel, whose responsibility it was the Rebbe’s correspondence in English and several other languages.
We thank Rabbi Shalom Ber Schapiro, who was entrusted by his father-in-law Rabbi Mindel with his archives and who is Director of the Nissan Mindel Publications (NMP), for making the Rebbe’s letters available to the wider public. May the merit of the many stand him in good stead.