Wednesday, September 29, 2004

(continued from the previous post or How Could I have Forgotten this One?)

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WACHNACHT: The term for the night preceding the day of circumcision, spent in feasting and the recitation of hymns and prayers by the mohel, sandik, and members of the family. The ostensible object of the watch is to ward off the "evil spirit" and to drive away the "devils," especially Lilith, who is supposed to be inimical to the child about to enter into the covenant of Abraham.
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I was close to thirty when I first encountered this one. It includes (1) gathering all the neighborhood children to say Shema next to the infant's crib (2) festooning the crib with red ribbons, reb flowers and red string, and (3) putting the knife the mohel plans to use the next morning under the infant's mattress or pillow.

The point? Well, the reason I was given (by a heavyset Brooklyn matron who simply couldn't believe she was speaking to a person who had been raised in such ignorance) totally jibes with the Jewish Encycolpedia entry cited above. We're worried about poltergeists and have created a ritual to combat them.

Evil spirits, devils, and yes, even that old spook Lillith, are alive and well in the Jewish imagination of some communities.


Comments:

Another good online article about that b---- Lillith:
http://www.acs.ucalgary.ca/~elsegal/Shokel/950206_Lilith.html

I personally blame Sarah McLachlin for spreading around that horrible anti-semitic "Lillith was Adam's first wife" crap with her "Lillith Faire". I like her music, though. And what's with Lillith magazine? They're Jewish, right? They should know better!

-Steg (dos iz nit der ┼íteg)  
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