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Jewish Magic and Superstition, by Joshua Trachtenberg, [1939], at



1. Cf. JE, I, 546 ff.; Blau 86 ff.; Ashkenazi, Ta‘am Zekenim, 56; S. Ḥas. 367, 1455, 1457. An early Yiddish "Vrauen Büchlein" (Miẓvat HaNashim, Venice 1552, ch. 47) reassured its pious readers that the woman who wears an amulet to the ritual bath "kein Sünde hat," and that it is no impediment to the performance of the rite and need not be removed.

2. Cf. Shab. 53a and Rashi; Or Zarua II, 18d, §83; Oraḥ Ḥayim 305:11; Lev Tov 6: 129, p. 68b; HaḤayim IV, 3; Perles, Graetz Jubelschrift, 35. On the corals see Tashbeẓ §60; Responsa of Meir of Rothenburg, ed. Lemberg, §140; Berliner, Aus dem Leben, 134; Zimmels, Beiträge, 118, n. 484.

3. Shab. 66a and Rashi (cf. A. Darmesteter and D. S. Blondheim, Les Gloses Françaises de Raschi, Paris 1929, 31, §246); Maḥ. Vit. 133, n. 35; Rokeaḥ §100; Rabiah 311, §221, and Aptowitzer's n. 10; Güd. I, 214; Oraḥ Ḥayim 303:24 and B’er Heteb, ad loc. A note in ‘Amude Shlomo to Semag I, 65 reads: ‏ואני המעתיק מצאתי בבאורי מהרר״ז שוויינבר״ט וז״ל אבן תקומה אני ראיתי אבן הצץ שהיה בתוכו חלול ואבן קטן בתובו כעינבל בזוג ובן נברא ואמרו שהוא אבן תקומה‎. A thirteenth-century Latin ms. reports that "when the women of Salerno fear abortion, they carry with them the pregnant stone" (Thorndike, I, 740), and Wuttke (91-2) writes that a similar practice existed among the Germans.

4. S. Ḥas. 1463 and Güd. I, 204; cf. Frazer, The Magic Art, I, 587 f.; Grimm II, 72g, III, 443; Lowenthal, A World Passed By, 115; Kiẓur Shelah, In. Pes., 142 and B’er Heteb on Oraḥ Ḥayim 477:2, n. 4; M. Schwab, REJ, XXIII (1891), 137. Berliner, op. cit., 102, suggests that the belief in certain German districts that a piece of Judenmatz in a house will protect it from fire, may be derived from this use of the Afikomen as an amulet. Yore Deah 305:15 and Lipez, 47; Grunwald, MJV, XIX (1906), III, 112, 114; Perles, Graetz Jubelschrift, 35. A 14th century Archbishop of Aix, Richard Mauvoisin, had a Jewish astrologer named Moses carve some seals on his pastoral ring to avert disease and bring him fortune (Thorndike, III, 19).

5. Cf. Samter, 175 ff.; Seligmann, Mag. Heil- u. Schutzmittel, 200 ff., which discuss the anti-demonic virtues of red. These works and also Elworthy, The Evil Eye, contain much information on this general subject.

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5a. Leket Yosher I, 9; cf. Berliner, op. cit., 92 f.; Grimm II, 920, III, 445, §333, 457, §656, 459, §708.

6. Cf. Thorndike I, 778 ff., etc., IV, 327; Grimm II, 996, 1017 ff.; Toss. Shab. V, 17; B. B. 16b; JE, III, 367 and V, 593 ff., 239 ff.; Steinschneider, Kohut Memorial Volume, 45, Hebr. Uebersetzungen, 964; Seligmann, op. cit., 208 ff.

7. Ms. S. Gematriaot, 43a-44b (cf. Baḥya b. Asher's comment on Ex. 28:17); see Steinschneider, Kohut Mem. Vol., 69-70, for a Hebrew translation by Berachya haNakdan of a Latin treatise on 73 gems; also Midrash Talpiot, s. v. Avanim Tovim, and Segulat HaAvanim.

8. Shimmush Tehillim, passim; Grunwald, MJV, XIX (1906), 118.

9. Raziel, 42a.

10. There is an essential uniformity in all Jewish amulets, whatever the date or place of their origin; Talmudic (Blau, 93 ff., 117), modern Oriental (Casanowicz, Journal Amer. Or. Soc., XXXVI [1917], 154, 156) and medieval, all are cut after the same pattern.

11. Cf. Raziel 41b; Rashi, Git. 67b; Grunwald, MJV, XIX (1906), 112.

12. Cf. JE, VIII, 251-2; Grunwald, Jahrb. f. jüd. Gesch. u. Lit. IV (1901), 119 ff.; MGJV, IX (1902), 137 ff.; Güdemann, MGWJ, LX (1916), 135 f.; Vajda, MJV, LIX (1918), 33 ff.; Grotte, MGWJ, LXVI (1922), t ff.; Grunwald, JJV, I (1923), 209; Grimm, I, 356, n. 4, III, 456, §644, 463, §812; Wuttke, 181-2; Montgomery, Journal Amer. Or. Soc., XXXI (1911), 274, Ar. Incan. Texts, 259; Raziel, 42b, 44b; Gollancz, Maphteaḥ Shelomo, passim; the ms. S Gematriaot is liberally sprinkled with hexagrams and pentagrams; Schwab, Vocabulaire, 21. See also "Testament of Solomon," JQR, OS, XI (1899), p. 16; Schudt, II, VI, 6:5.

13. Raziel, 44b; Montgomery, Journal A.O.S., loc. cit., photographs facing pp. 272, 280; Maphteaḥ Shelomo, passim; Schwab, Ms. No. 1380, 29; Grunwald, MJV, XIX (1906), 108, 112; Scholem, Kirjath Sepher, IV (1927), 318-9.

14. See Grünbaum, Ges. Auf., 217-8; de Gunzbourg, REJ, XXVII (1893), 145 and Grünbaum, ibid., XXIX (1894), 150 ff.; Steinschneider, Cat. Hamburg, Hamburg, 1878, 55 f. (cf. 99 f.); Grunwald, MGJV, V (1900), 60; Pilcher, Proc. Soc. Bib. Archeology, XXVIII (London 1906), 110-118; W. Ahrens, Hebräische Amulette mit magischen Zahlenquadraten, Berlin, 1916; Scholem (MGWJ, LXIX [1925], 101 f.) conclusively disposes of the contention that the astrological number-squares were Jewish. I have seen one magical number-square amulet in a late Italian ms. version of Raziel (S. HaRazim, J. T. S. Library, Ms. D. 146, p. 14a), which was no doubt copied from an earlier text. Cf. also W. Ahrens and A. Maas, "Etwas von magischen Quadraten in Sumatra und Celebes," Ztschr. f. Ethnologie, XLVIII (Berlin 1916), 232-253.

15. See Toss. Shab. V, 9, 10; Shab. 61a-b, 115b, and Rashi, 61a; J. Shab. 7c, 8b; HaTerumah, 90d-91b; Maḥ. Vit. 133, §35; Rabiah, I, 305; Semag, I, 9c, §65; Raben, §350; Rokeaḥ, too; Toledot Adam veḤavah, 59d, 61a; Lev Tov, 6: 112, p. 67a; ‘Amude Shlomo to Semag I, 65 and Solomon Luria's Responsa, §47; Oraḥ Ḥayim 301:25, 27, 334: 14.

16. Cf. Nishmat Ḥayim, III, 25; Grunwald, MJV, XIX (1906), 107.

17. P. 41b. Grunwald, op. cit., 106, has a different table, from a 16th century ms.

18. See M. L. Rodkinson, Tefilah LeMoshe, Pressburg 1883, and History of Amulets, Charms and Talismans, N. Y. 1893; JE, X, 21 ff.; S. Gandz, "The Knot in Hebrew Literature," Isis, XIV (1930), 198; Blau, 152; Lauterbach, HUCA, II (1925), 362, n. 22; ‘Amude Shlomo to Semag I, 51.

19. JE, VIII, 532; Aptowitzer, REJ, LX (1910), 39 f.; Rashi on Men. 33b; Responsa of Meir of Rothenburg, ed. Cremona, §108; ‘Amude Shlomo to Semag 

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[paragraph continues] II, 23; Shelah, I, 187a (Mas. Ḥullin). Rashi and his grandson R. Tam illustrate two opposing views in their interpretation of a Talmudic remark to the effect that affixing the mezuzah improperly may be a source of harm; Rashi says, "This is dangerous because if it is not properly attached the house is not protected against demons"; R. Tam says, "If it is set up in an awkward place one may strike against it and hurt himself" (Toledot Adam veḤavah, 21:7, p. 143a).

20. Shab. 32b; Yore Deah 285:1; Testament of Shabbetai Horowitz, §9; Kiẓur Shelah, 69 (Hil. Mezuzah); Lipez, 72; Yoffie, Journal of American Folklore, XXXVIII (1927), 376.

21. Rashi, Yoma 11a. See p. 4 above.

22. Aptowitzer has assembled the information concerning the mezuzah in his very interesting articles in REJ, LX (1910), 39-52, LXV (1913), 54-60, and HaẒofeh, II (1912), 100-102, upon which this presentation is based. See also Z. Nissan, in Zion, II (1842), 161-4; JE, VII, 532 f.

23. HaẒofeh, loc. cit.; Rashi, San. 21b. Raziel, 42a, uses the identical term ‏כתיבה גסה‎, "large writing," to describe the lettering of a magical inscription on a cake.

24. REJ, LX (1910), 41, n. 4, gives the sources; cf. especially Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Hil. Tefillin, V, 4; Kol Bo, §90; Raziel, 8a; ms. Eẓ Ḥayim, p. 1024 (601 of original); Kiẓur Shelah, Hil. Mezuzah, p. 6g.

25. Maimonides, loc. cit.; Asheri, Halachot, Hil. Mez., §18; Toledot Adam veḤavah, 21:6, p. 142d; and the sources cited in REJ, LX (1910), 42, n. 5. Ms. S. Gematriaot, 62a, repeats the words of Asufot, cited in REJ, LXV (1913), 56, n. 3, but does not admit any indebtedness to Sherira Gaon.

26. Maharil, 87b. The power of awakening the dead was also attributed to this name of 14 letters; cf. Caster, Studies and Texts, III, 230 and Gollancz, Clavic. Sal., 42.

27. See Aptowitzer, op. cit.

28. Pp. 62b-64a.

29. Pp. 64a-b.

Next: Chapter XI