In this weeks letter, The Rebbe addresses the question of astrology and horoscope in Jewish life. Seeing as the culture of Mitzrayim was steeped in the ways of astrology, horoscope, stargazing and the like, we need clarity on the Jewish outlook regarding these. The letter, written originally in English, is from the archives of the Rebbe’s 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.