Jewish Astrology

There was no Jewish prohibition against consulting the stars, but sages questioned if astrology applied to Jews.

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The other authorities advise strongly against actually consulting the astrologers but believe, nonetheless, that the forecasting of horoscopes can be accurate if carried out by an expert.

The majority of Jews today are not much affected by astrological beliefs one way or the other, although in Yiddish parlance the expression mazal tov for "good luck" is still used, more as a convention than as a matter of belief. Similarly, the Yiddish term for an unfortunate, like the English "one on whom the stars do not shine," is shlimazal, "one without mazal." That it is all not taken very seriously can be seen from the old Yiddish humorous definition of the shlimiel ("the clumsy") and the shlimazal. The former is the man who spills the cup of tea, the latter the man who gets it on his trousers.

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Rabbi Louis Jacobs

Rabbi Dr. Louis Jacobs (1920-2006) was a Masorti rabbi, the first leader of Masorti Judaism (also known as Conservative Judaism) in the United Kingdom, and a leading writer and thinker on Judaism.