Crystal or Occult?

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Dear Rabbi Simon
I recently bought a couple of necklaces from a lady who does crystal healing. I bought them because they were pretty, and thought of the “healing” properties as just a bit of an added bonus and a nice idea! It occurred to me afterwards to wonder whether it’s OK to wear these from a Jewish perspective?
All the best

Dear Refaella
TY for your interesting question.
A book was recently published on this and related subjects, called Alternative Medicine in Halacha, by Rabbi Rephoel Szmerla of Lakewood. While (at least pro forma) not endorsing the efficacy of the various alternative therapies he discusses, the author’s conclusion is that many forms of alternative medicine, including crystal healing, are permissible according to Torah Law. (Although disputed, some associate this with the “even tekumah” mentioned in the Talmud [Shabbat 66b] to ward against miscarriage.) Nevertheless, the book has been criticised for its tacit endorsement of a range of therapies of doubtful effectiveness. See Rabbi Yair Hoffman’s review article: The underlying halachic permissibility, however, is generally validated.
In line with Rabbi Hoffman’s views, I am personally sceptical as to the curative or health benefits of healing crystals and similar. However, if, as you say, you bought the necklaces as an item of jewellery, and you view the (purported) healing properties as a bonus, IMO you may wear them as an adornment without fear of halachic transgression.
I hope this is helpful.
Rabbi Rashi Simon

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Ask the Rabbi: Quinoa on Pesach
Dear Rabbi Simon,
Where do you stand on quinoa (and the kitniyot ban) for Pesach?
Many thanks,
Dear Tzippy,
In line with other American authorities, I am in favour of quinoa. Although I reject completely the voices (mostly from Israel) seeking to abolish the ban on kitniyot entirely, IMO we do not need to include in the prohibition pseudo-grains that were unknown in the Old World until modern times. Best to buy with a Pesach hechsher though, to be free of any possible wheat contamination.
Rabbi Rashi Simon
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