Posted on November 12, 2003 By Rabbi Yaakov Feldman | Series: | Level:

So, what lies behind the practitioner’s art at bottom is his ability to use G-d’s names towards the ends he has in mind, as well as a capacity to bypass the laws of nature. But there’s more to it than that.

We’re taught that everything — above, below, and in-between — is interconnected, root to flower, flower to root. Nothing is without its spiritual and mundane “family”. So, when someone schooled in theurgy pronounces a Divine name, that acts as a catalyst above and below that sets off interrelated reactions throughout. Ramchal refers to this as “calling upon G-d Himself” through one of His names to make Himself “accessible” and to enable those things the practioner has in mind to come about.

Another means of tapping into the supernatural, though, involves angels. As we’d indicated before (see 1:5:2, 2:1:2, etc.), angels allow for things to happen in the world by facilitating certain specific ordained patterns. But they’re also permitted to transcend their limitations and to function on more supernatural as well as more potent levels (as when they bring about miracles, for example).

Thus, when a specific Divine name is recited in association with a particular angel with specific functions who’s connected to a specific emanation, that angel becomes even *more* powerful. And it’s authorized by G-d to function the way the person who recites that Divine name wants it to. Understand, though, that G-d can always undo any request made or any process at will.

So, there are two forms of theurgy: one that’s rooted in calling upon G-d Himself, if you will, by name; and another that’s rooted in calling upon angels by means of G-d’s names.

Understand that no one can make use of either Divine names themselves nor the angels in conjunction with them any way he wishes to, since each application has its own rules and regulations. In fact, though, sometimes even following the appropriate course of action doesn’t work, as when what’s hoped for simply cannot be.

As we’d indicated earlier on, not everyone can make use of the Divine names to call upon G-d Himself — even if he knows all the tools and techniques involved. As Ramchal puts it here, the successful practitioner would have to be “someone who has grown very close to G-d and has come to attach himself onto Him”. And in fact “the closer he is, the more successful will he be in the process”.

That’s not necessarily true, though, when it comes to calling upon the angels to intercede in the world. Using specific Divine names in conjunction with them is, for all intents and purposes, a “natural phenomenon” that only require that the practitioner know what he’s doing.

Despite that, it’s still-and-all “not appropriate for a commoner to make use of the King’s scepter” as Ramchal puts it here. So a practitioner would be expected to be learned and righteous all-in-all, and he’d be expected to “use these methods to sanctify G-d’s name and to follow His will”. For while someone unworthy wouldn’t be prevented from achieving this or that if he follows the proper procedures, he might suffer some dire consequences.

This series is dedicated to the memory of Yitzchak Hehrsh ben Daniel, and Sarah Rivka bas Yaakov Dovid.

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