Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Rabbi Yosef Cohen Manuscript 6.

An 18th or 19th cent. Yemenite bifolio manuscript of segulot (magical charms) in Hebrew and Judeo-Arabic.
End of fol. 1r through 1v contains a Hebrew-Aramaic amulet


[Text] An amulet: In the name of the living and enduring Rock, Rock of all ages on your truth and kindness. In the name of Elohim El Elohim the preparer of Israel shout against all spirits, demons, damagers, evil encounters, dangers, lilin and patporin¹, alportin¹, nashfin¹, killer-demons² and all the pains of the head and pains of the heart and kidneys and stomach from all the demon spirits and Igrat bat Machalat3. And in the name of He that heard the fire and extinguished it. And in the name that heard the stone and broke it.
Furthermore, I adjure you  demons and damagers in the name of He that sits in Arabot4 Tzyah is His name and in the heaven of heavens.
Again, I adjure you in the name of [Divine names] God of Israel and with the crown of Aaron and with the secret of the Shem HaMeforash³ that will be on the forhead of Aaron.
Again I adure upon you with the name  

 and in the name that created heaven and earth and in the name that saved Abraham our father and he lived.
Again, I adjure you [end of page and text]
The text makes no mention as to what the amulet is for. Seemingly it is a general protective amulet
1 I do not how to translate these Aramaic terms for demons. 
2 From the root קטב (die unexpectedly). See Deuteronomy 32:24
3 A queen of demons. She is mentioned in the Talmud and Zohar.
4 One of the seven heavens.
5 This term, שם המפורש, refers to the Tetragrammaton.  

 NOTA: The seal in question is a slightly modified version of the Tetragram. The original was supposed to have 24 circles. I will be preparing a separate article on it in the future. M.V.


  1. Updates: Recently (July 2013) I have been in contact with several scholars re: this manual. So far, one update on the amulet demons (Dr. Dan Levene), and another update on the Judeo-Arabic text (Dr. Tzvi Langermann. Here is what they wrote:

    פתכרין are idols, נשפין are probably something like blast demons, קטבין might be derived from קטב מרירי a demon I think in mentioned in the Gemara. Have a check of Sokoloff’s dictionary.

    Be well, Dan

    Dr Dan Levene,
    Reader in Jewish History and Culture,
    History, School of Humanities,
    University of Southampton,
    SO17 1BJ

    Dear Yosef,
    I can tell you that 1r contains some medical recipes, which are "legit" in that they make use of the materia medical of their day; then a formula to divine whether the child about to be born will be male and female, based on the names the mother, her mother, and more; 2v has on lines 4-6 instructions for when to write the amulet (astrally effective), then a long formula to neutralize--so I think, a few words are unusual--the spit or saliva of a snake.

    Tzvi Langermann
    Dept of Arabic
    Bar Ilan University
    Ramat Gan, Israel

  2. Sue Jones

    Lilith is Queen of the Demons!

    According to the Alphabet of Ben Sira, Lilith was Adam’s first wife but the couple fought all the time. They didn’t see eye-to-eye on matters of sex because Adam always wanted to be on top while Lilith also wanted a turn in the dominant sexual position. When they could not agree, Lilith decided to leave Adam. She uttered God’s name and flew through the air, leaving Adam alone in the Garden of Eden. God sent three angels after her and commanded them to bring her back to her husband by force if she did not come willingly. However, when the angels found her by the Red Sea. They were unable to convince her to return and could not force her to obey them. Eventually, a strange deal is struck, wherein Lilith promised not to harm newborn children if they are protected by an amulet with the names of the three angels written on it:

    “The three angels caught up with Lilith in the [Red] Sea. The angels seized Lilith and at the same time trying to convince Lilith into going back to Adam. The angels threaten to drown Lilith in the sea. However, Lilith remarks to the angels were: ‘Darlings, I know myself that God created me only to afflict babies with fatal disease when they are eight days old; I shall have permission to harm them from their birth to the eighth day and no longer; when it is a male baby; when it is a female baby, I shall have permission for twelve days. The angels would not leave her alone, until she swore by God’s name that wherever she saw the baby name in an amulet, she would not possess the baby [bearing it]. The angels then left her immediately. This is [the story of] Lilith, who afflicts babies with disease.” (Alphabet of Ben Sira, from "Eve & Adam: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Readings on Genesis and Gender" pg. 204.)
    The Alphabet of Ben Sira appears to combine legends of female demons with the idea of the 'first Eve.' What results is a story about Lilith, an assertive wife who rebelled against God and husband, was replaced by another woman, and was demonized in Jewish folklore as a dangerous killer of babies.
    Later, legends also characterize her as a beautiful woman who seduces men or copulates with them in their sleep (a succubus), then spawns demon children. According to some accounts, Lilith is the Queen of Demons.