Dybbuk Possession


Dear Rabbis,

as an anthropology student at the South Asian Institute (Heidelberg University) I am currently doing research on spirit possession and exorcism among Jewish communities.

My question relates to the seemingly practiced exorcism of dybbuks on the one hand and what the Torah says about interacting with the dead (Leviticus 20:6 and 20:27) on the other hand. How do the two approaches co-exist? I understand that posing a question via this platform is unusual, however it is very important for my research to understand the point of view of the culture I am describing.


Thank you very much in advance for your time!


Kind regards,




  1. What a fascinating subject! Whilst I understand why the two subjects sound alike there is actually a fundamental difference between communicating with the dead and the concept of a Dybbuk. The prohibition against conjuring up the dead is against a person actively going through a process that allows communication with the dead. It is calling the soul of the deceased down from the Spiritual Realms in order to interact with it. A Dybbuk, on the other hand, is a “rogue” soul that has implanted itself in the body of a person in the physical realms.

    For an insight into Dybbuks in general I would suggest that you read the following two articles:

    I wish you every success in your research.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team