Kabbalah: Teraphim

Teraphim of the Hebrews

In the Judaic religion, the Teraphim were household gods, or domestic idols used for worship in the home. They were suppose to bring prosperity and good luck, though the practice was considered heathen.

The Hebrews derived their use of Teraphim from inhabitants of lower Mesopotamia.

Teraphim were called the "givers of prosperity," “guardians of comforts,"  "nourishers" by the Lares and Penates of the early Hebrews.

Some Teraphim could be hidden away in the pack saddle of a camel, similar to the one the Rachel stole. Others were life size. Some may have represented family members.


The ceremony which rabbis "bring to life" the Golem is similar to the Tibtean ceremony of the "dubtobos" i.e. "Those who have succeeded" and "accomplished" The "dutobos" create "Tulpas" a kind of a robot which can be controlled at will, but, sometimes can have an autonomous personality.

Cabalists and Teraphim

Cabalists look on teraphim as talismans which derived their power. The Teraphim can also be compared with the Golem.

Maimonides (1135-1204) said: "the worshippers of the TERAPHIM claim that as the light of the stars filled the carved statute, it was put en rapport with the intelligence of those distant stars and planets who used the statue as an instrument. It is in this manner that the TERAPHIM taught people many useful arts and sciences."

In the 12th century, the writings of R. Abraham Ezra made a reference to animating statues. He describes the biblical teraphim of Lavan. He also has this view in regard to the golden calf. The calf imitated the astral form and captured the supernal glory in the absence of Moses. (Idel, “Golem,” p. 86, 93).

Terephim in the Old Testament

Genesis 31:34:

Rachel the Syrian daughter of Laban, stole her father's Teraphim, the household god. She went away accompanied by her husband Jacob; as they eloped and fled from Laban's house. They were hid by Rachael in camel's saddle. Laban regarded them "as my gods." He considered the .oracle to hold unfailing truth. She took the idols in whose realiability she trusted as a child. In her snaive belief, she was afraid the Teraphim would tell Leban their direction. Leban, who found them without the oracles, Rachel hid them beneath her skirts. The idols were the only things she wouldn't forgo in the outside world. ("History of Magic," Seligmann “ p. 550)

Genesis 34: "Now Rachel had taken the teraphim, and put them in the saddle of the camel, and sat upon them. And Laban felt about all the tent, but found them not. 35. And she said to her father: 'Let not the Lord be angry that I cannot rise up before thee; for the manner of women is upon me.' And he searched, but found not the teraphim.

Gen. 35:34; (1732BCE, OT, p 25) “Before Jacob went to Bethel to present himself before YWH he made all his people to hand over to him their "strange gods" and "ear-rings” (ie cresent shaped amulets) (See Saharon) Another translation: Gen. 35.4; “And they gave unto Jacob all the strange god; which were in their hand, and all their ear-rings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem;”

Samuel 14:13, v30

Samuel 15:23; “using uncanny power and teraphim...”

Samuel 15:23; “last named class condemned by prophets ..”

1 Samuel 19:11-12, 13 “The men kept Teraphim in houses. After David's flight, Michal, his wife, "took an image and laid it on the bed, and put a pillow of goat's hair for his bolster and covered it with a cloth. And when Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, "He is sick."

I Samuel 19:13:

13. And Michael took the teraphim, and laid it on the bed, and put a quilt of goats' hair at the head thereof, and covered it with a cloth.

14. And when Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, 'He is sick.'

15. And Saul sent the messengers to see David, saying, 'Bring him up to me in the bed, that I may slay him.'

16. And when the messengers came in, behold, the teraphim was in the bed with the quilt of goat's hair at the head thereof."

Samuel 19:16; “teraphim images on the couch and a...”

2 Kings 13:24; “though possession regarded as illegal (Josiah put them away together w/the wizard, etc)”

2Kings 1 23:24; “the Teraphim and the dungy idols;...”

Judges 17.5: And the man had a house of God, and he made an ephod, and teraphim, and consecrated on of his sons, who became his priest.

They were made of clay, some were probably made of semi-precious stones, if they were worn on body (.i.Budge, “Amulet & Superst,” p. 213-4;)

Judges 18:14; “the ephod and the Teraphim and the carved..”

Judges 18:17; “the ephod and the Teraphim and the...”

Judges 18:18 ; “the Teraphim and the molten image...”

Judges 18:20; “the ephod and the Teraphim and the...”

Ezekiel 21:21...has asked by means of the Teraphim..”

Hosiah 3:4; “...without an ephod and Teraphim....on act of disloyalty, Israel (on acct of diloyalty) shall be for many days "without king...or .i.teraphim;"

Zachariah 10:2; “the t. themselves have spoken.” t. diviners and "tellers of false dreams" in same category.

Qabalah Index

The Idols And The Teraphim - PamphletTeraphim

by H. P. Blavatsky (Author)

THIS 11 PAGE ARTICLE WAS EXTRACTED FROM THE BOOK: The Secret Doctrine: The Synthesis of Science, Religion and Philosophy Part 3, OCCULTISM, by H. P. Blavatsky • Paperback: 12 pages
• Publisher: Kessinger Publishing, LLC; Pmplt edition (September 15, 2006)
• Language: English

Occultism (The Secret Doctrine, Volume 3: The Synthesis of Science, Religion and Philosophy) (Occultism)Teraphim

by Helene Petrovna Blavatsky (Author)

The Book Reader (1988)
This massive study is an astonishing document. Blavatsky synthesizes science and spirituality into an exhilarating journey of spiritual awareness. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Book Description
This rare third volume of the Secret Doctrine (virtually impossible to find) completes the papers left by H. P. B. It is a complete course on Occultism! Nothing is left out. Almost 100 chapters. Partial contents: One Key to all Sacred Books; The ABC of Magic; Chaldean Oracles; The Book of Hermes; Three Ways Open to the Adept; Names are Symbols; Characters of the Bible; The Book of Enoch; Hermetic and Kabalistic Doctrines; Numbers and Magic; Occult Weapons; The Duty of the True Occultist; Two Eternal Principles; St. Paul the real founder of Christianity; Apollonius no Fiction; Biographies of Initiates; Kabalistic Readings of Gospels; Magic in Antioch; The Septenary Sephira; Seven Keys to all Allegories; The Mystery of the Sun; Magical Statutes; Masonry and Jesuits; Mysteries and Masonry; Egyptian Initiation; Root of Races; Celestial Wheels; Christian Star Worship; Defense of Astrology; The Seven Rays; Secret Books; Tibetan Prophecies; Swedenborg; Occult Secrecy; and much more! Blavatsky was an occult master. If you are a serious mystical student, you'll need this rare and illuminating book.

See all Editorial Reviews

Product Details
• Paperback: 620 pages
• Publisher: Kessinger Publishing, LLC; Facsimile Ed edition (November 19, 1993)
• Language: English


Kabbalah Store
Find Qabalistic Merchandise

Teraphim Index

Copyright by Robert Zucker 2006
No part may be copied, reproduced, republished or
digitally stored without permission from author.