A Kabbalistic Spell Book


Chaim Vital (1543-1620) was one of the most prominent students of the famed kabbalist Rabbi Isaac Luria. Vital was Luria’s chronicler, recording Luria’s mystical insights, spreading Luria’s teachings, and expanding on them.

Vital also wrote his very own spell book.

While Vital is known for his books Etz Hayim (Tree of Life) and Book of Visions, he also wrote Refuah Ma’asiyot (Practical Healing). Refuah Ma’asiyot includes alchemical recipes for turning one substance into another, as well as prayers to repeat for wealth, good fortune, and healing. It also dispenses medical advice, offering remedies for everything from toothaches to asthma.

Vital’s healing methods are a valuable resource for learning about religion and science in the 17th century. Copies are available in a limited printing, although, according to this article, the original manuscript has been lost. Rumor is that it was sold page by page as a segulah, or a good luck charm.

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