Monday, January 12, 2004

More on Lilith (I was reminded by Jim Davila's kind reference to my recent post on Lilith). Yesterday afternoon, as I was returning home from a visit to downtown Jerusalem (where I bought some interesting books -- one a fairly new biography of Shabbetai Zevi, aimed at a popular audience, another one a book in Hebrew on the Ba'al Shem Tov, entitled "Ba'al Shem -- the Besht: Magic, Mysticism, and Leadership," by Immanuel Etkes), I went one stop too far on my bus and ended up right in front of a bookstore that I've been wanting to go into. It is a bookstore for "sifre kodesh" (holy books) and "tashmishei kedushah" (religious articles would be the best English translation I think). I found another interesting book there, and a printed amulet against Lilith. It's based on earlier amulet texts.

On top it says "Protection for the child and the mother." It includes Psalm 121, an adjuration against the evil eye, and the story of Elijah's encounter with Lilith and her promise to flee when her names are inscribed on an amulet or recited. In the middle between these two texts there is a hand inscribed with divine names. Below that is another diagram with names, and an eye. Around the diagram it says, "Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Leah." On the right is written under that the names of the three protective angels, "Sani, Sansani, and Semangelof inside." On the left is written, "Lilith and all her band outside." Under both of these sayings is written, "You shall not permit a sorceress to live" three times.

When I was writing my article on Lilith I wanted to include in it that it was still possible to purchase these amulets, and lo and behold, I found one. It's on laminated paper with a hole in the top so that one can hang it over the baby's crib.

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