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DISEASES CAUSED BY DEMONIAC AGENCY.
but also all questions as to their magical causes and means of cure. We confine our remarks to the supposed power of evil spirits in the production of diseases. Four things are mentioned as dangerous on account of demons, of which we shall only mention three : To walk between two palm-trees,' if the space is wider than four cubits; to borrow drinking water; and to walk over water that has been poured out, unless it have been covered with earth, or spat upon, or you have taken off your shoes (Pes. 111 a). Similarly, the shadow of the moon, of certain trees, and of other objects, is dangerous, because demons love to hide there. Much caution must also be observed in regard to the water with which the hands are washed in the morning, as well as in regard to oil for anointing, which must never be taken from a strange vessel which might have been bewitched.
Many diseases are caused by direct demoniac agency. Thus, leprosy (Hordj. 10 a), rabies (Yoma 83 b), heart-disease (Gitt. 67 b), madness, asthma (Bechor. 44 b), croup (Yoma 86 a), and other diseases, are ascribed to special demons. And although I cannot find any notices of demoniac possession in the sense of permanent indwelling, yet an evil spirit may seize and influence a person. The nearest approach to demoniac possession is in a legend of two Rabbis who went to Rome to procure the repeal of a persecuting edict, when they were met on board ship by a demon, Ben Temalion, whose offer of company they accepted, in hope of being able to do some miracle through him. Arrived in Rome, the demon took possession of the daughter of Cæsar. On this he was exorcised by the Rabbis ('Ben Temalion, come out! Ben Temalion, come out !'), when they were rewarded by the offer of anything they might choose from the Imperial Treasury, on which they removed from it the hostile decree (Meilah 17 b, about the middle).
As against this one instance, many are related of cures by magical means. By the latter we mean the superstitious and irrational application of means which could in no way affect any disease, although they might sometimes be combined with what may be called domestic remedies. Thus, for a bad cold in the head this remedy is proposed : Pour slowly a quart of the milk of a white goat over three cabbage stalks, keep the pot boiling and stir with a piece of · Marmehon-wood' (Gitt. 69 b). The other remedy proposed is the excrement of a white dog mixed with balsam. It need scarcely be said, that the more intractable the disease, the more irrational are the remedies proposed. Thus against blindness by day it is proposed to take of the spleen of seven calves and put it on the basin used by surgeons for bleeding. Next, some one outside the door is to ask the blind man to give him something to eat, when he is to reply: How can I open the door-come in and eat—on which the latter obeys, taking care, however, to break the basin, as else the blindness might strike him. We have here an indication of one of the favourite modes of healing disease—that by its transference to another. But if the loss of the power of vision is greater at night than by day, a cord is to be made of the hair of some animal, one end of which is to be tied to the foot of the patient, the other to that of a dog. The children are to strike together pieces of crockery behind the dog, while the patient repeats these words : The dog is old and the cock is foolish. Next seven pieces of meat are to be taken from seven different houses, and hung up on the doorposts, and the dog must afterwards eat the meat on a dunghill in an open place. Lastly, the cord is to be untied when one is to repeat: ‘Let the blindness of M. the son of N. leave M. the son of N. and pierce the eyeballs of the dog !' (Shabb. 113 b).
1 In general palm-trees and their fruit are dangerous, and you should always wash your hands after eating dates.
We have next to refer to strictly magical cures. These were performed by amulets-either preventive, or curative of disease—or else by exorcism. An amulet was regarded as probate, if three cures had been performed by it. In such case it might be put on even on the Sabbath. It consisted either of a piece of parchment on which certain magical words were written—the Pithka (Sanh. 78 b), or of small bundles of certain plants or herbs—the Kamea (Kidd. 73 b). However, even probate amulets might fail, owing to the adverse constellation under which a person was. In any case the names and numbers of the demons, whose power it was wished to counteract, required to be expressly stated. Sometimes the amulet contained also a verse from the Bible. It need scarcely be said, that the other words written on the amulet had—at least, in their connection -little if any sensible meaning. But those learned in these arts and the Rabbis had the secret of discovering them, so that there was at least no mystery about them, and the formulas used were well known. If the mischief to be counteracted was due to demoniac agency, it might be prevented or removed by a kind of incantation, or by incantation along with other means, or in difficult cases by exorcism. As instances of the first we may quote the following. To ward off any danger from drinking water on a Wednesday or Sabbath-Evening, when eril spirits may rest on it, it is advised either to repeat a passage of Scripture in which the word Kol (“Voice') occurs seven times (Ps. xxix. 3-9), or else to say this: "Lul, Shaphan, Anigron, Anirdaphin-between the stars I sit, bet wixt the lean and the fat I walk !' (Pes. 112 a). Against flatulence, certain remedies are recommended (such as drinking warm water), but they are to be accompanied by the following formula: ‘Kapa, Kapa, I think of thee, and of thy seven daughters, and seven daughters-in-law!' (Pes. 116 a). Many similar prescriptions might be quoted. As the remedy against blindness has been adduced to point the contrast to the Saviour's mode of treatment, it may be mentioned that quite a number of remedies are suggested for the cure of a bloody flux-of which perhaps wine in which Persian onions, or anise and saffron, or other plants have been boiled, seem the most rational—the medicament being, however, in each case accompanied by this formula : ‘Be cured of thy flux!'
Lastly, as regards incantation and exorcism, the formulas to be used for the purpose are enumerated. These mostly consist of words which have little if any meaning (so far as we know), but which form a rhyme or alliteration when a syllable is either omitted or added in successive words. The following, for example, is the formula of incantation against boils: “ Basz, Baszijah, Mas, Masija, Chas, Chasijah, Sharlai and Amarlai-ye Angels that came from the land of Sodom to heal painful boils ! Let the colour not become more red, let it not farther spread, let its seed be absorbed in the belly. As a mule does not propagate itself, so let not this evil propagate itself in the body of M. the son of M.' (Shabb. 77 b). In other formulas the demons are not invoked for the cure, but threatened. We have the following as against another cutaneous disease: "A sword drawn, and a sling outstretched ! His name is not Yochab, and the disease stand still !' Against danger from the demon of foul places we have the following: ‘On the head of the lion, and in the nose of the she-lion I found the demon Bar-Shirika Panda. I cast him into a bed of cresses, and beat him with the jawbone of an ass ' (Shabb. 67 a). On the other hand, it is recommended as a precaution against the evil eye to put one's right thumb into the left hand and one's left thumb into the right hand, and to say: ‘I, M. N. belong to the house of Joseph over whom the eril eye has no power' (Ber. 55 b). A certain Rabbi gave this as information derived
from one of the chief of the witches, by which witchcraft might be rendered harmless. The person in danger should thus address the witches : ‘Hot filth into your mouths from baskets with holes, ye witching women! Let your head become bald, and the wind scatter your breadcrumbs. Let it carry away your spices, let the fresh saffron which you carry in your hands be scattered. Ye witches, so long as I had grace and was careful, I did not come among you, and now I have come,
and you are not favourable to me' (Pes. 110 b). To avoid the danger of two or more persons being separated by a dog, a palm-tree, a woman, or a pig, we are advised to repeat a verse from the Bible wbich begins and ends with the word El (Almighty). Or in passing between women suspected of witchcraft it may be well to repeat this formula : 'Agrath, Aszelath, Asija, Belusija are already killed by arrows.' Lastly, the following may be quoted as a form of exorcism of demons: "Burst, curst, dashed, banned be Bar-Tit, Bar-Tema, Bar-Tena, Chaslımagosz, Merigosz, and Isteaham!'
It has been a weary and unpleasant task to record such abject superstitions, mostly the outcome of contact with Parsee or other heathen elements. Brief though our sketch has been, we have felt as if it should have been even more curtailed. But it seemed necessary to furnish these unwelcome details in order to remove the possibility of comparing what is reported in the New Testament about theódemonised' and demons' with Jewish notions on such subjects. Greater contrast could scarcely be conceived than between what we read in the New Testament and the views and practices mentioned in Rabbinic writings—and if this, as it is hoped, has been firmly established, even the ungrateful labour bestowed on collecting these unsavoury notices will have been sufficiently repaid.
THE ORDINANCES AND LAW OF THE SABBATH AS LAID DOWN IN THE
MISHNAH AND THE JERUSALEM TALMUD.
(See Book III. ch. xxxv. in Vol. ii. p. 52.)
The terribly exaggerated views of the Rabbis, and their endless, burdensome rules about the Sabbath may best be learned from a brief analysis of the Mishnah, as further explained and enlarged in the Jerusalem Talmud. For this purpose & brief analysis of what is, confessedly, one of the most difficult tractates may here be given.
The Mishnic tractate Sabbath stands at the head of twelve tractates which together form the second of the six sections into which the Mishnah is divided, and which treats of Festive Seasons (Seder Moed.) Properly to understand the Sabbath regulations, it is, however, necessary also to take into account the second tractate in that section, which treats of what are called 'commixtures' or connections (Erubin). Its object is to make the Sabbath Laws more bearable. For this purpose, it is explained how places, beyond which it would otherwise have been unlawful to carry things, may be connected together, so as, by a legal fiction, to convert them into a sort of private dwelling. Thus, supposing a number of small private houses to open into a common court, it would have been unlawful on the Sabbath to carry anything from one of these houses into the other. This difficulty is removed if all the families deposit before the Sabbath some food in the common court, when 'a connection’ is established between the various houses, which makes them one dwelling. This was called the ' Erubh of Courts. Similarly, an extension of what was allowed as a 'Sabbath journey' might be secured by another commixture,' the Erubh' or • connection of boundaries. An ordinary Sabbath day's journey extended 2,000 cubits beyond one's dwelling. But if at the boundary of that “journey'a man deposited on the Friday food for two meals, he thereby constituted it his dwelling, and hence might go on for other 2,000 cubits. Lastly, there was another · Erubh,' when narrow streets or blind alleys were connected into a private dwelling' by laying a beam over the entrance, or extending a wire or rope along such streets and alleys. This, by a legal fiction, made them 'a private dwelling,' so that everything was lawful there which a man might do on the Sabbath in his own house.
Without discussing the possible and impossible questions about these Erubin raised by the most ingenious casuistry, let us see how Rabbinism taught Israel to
1 The Jerusalem Talmud is not only the ? On the Sabbath-journey, and the reason older and the shorter of the two Gemaras, for fixing it at a distance of 2,000 cubits, see but would represent most fully the Pales- Kitto's Cyclop. (last ed.). Sabbath-way,' and tinian ideas.
• The Temple and its Services,' p. 148.
THE TALMUDIC SABBATH-LAW.
observe its Sabbath. In not less than twenty-four chapters,' matters are seriously discussed as of vital religious importance, which one could scarcely imagine a sane intellect would seriously entertain. Through 644 folio columns in the Jerusalem, and 156 double pages of folio in the Babylon Talmud does the enumeration and discussion of possible cases drag on, almost unrelieved even by Haggadah.? The Talmud itself bears witness to this, when it speaks (no doubt exaggeratedly) of a certain Rabbi who had spent no less than two and a half years in the study of only one of those twenty-four chapters! And it further bears testimony to the unprofitableness of these endless discussions and determinations. The occasion of this is so curious and characteristic, that it may here find mention. The discussion was concerning a beast of burden. An ass might not be led out on the road with its covering on, unless such had been put on the animal previous to the Sabbath, but it was lawful to lead the animal about in this fashion in one's courtyard. The same rule applied to a packsaddle, provided it were not fastened on by girth and back-strap. Upon this one of the Rabbis is reported as bursting into the declaration that this formed part of those Sabbath Laws (comp. Chag. i. 8) which were like mountains suspended by a hair ! (Jer. Shabb. p. 7, col. 6, last lines). And yet in all these wearisome details there is not a single trace of anything spiritualnot a word even to suggest higher thoughts of God's holy day and its observance.
The tractate on the Sabbath begins with regulations extending its provisions to the close of the Friday afternoon, so as to prevent the possibility of infringing the Sabbath itself, which commenced on the Friday evening. As the most common kind of labour would be that of carrying, this is the first point discussed. The Biblical Law forbade such labour in simple ternis (Ex. xxxvi.6; comp. Jer. xvii. 22). But Rabbinism developed the general prohibition into eight special ordinances, by first dividing the bearing of a burden’into two separate acts—lifting it up and putting it down—and then arguing, that it might be lifted up or put down from two different places, from a public into a private, or from a private into a public place. Here, of course, there are discussions as to what constituted a 'private place! (797740 min); - a public place' (0'377 niwn);' a wide space,' which belongs neither to a special individual nor to a community, such as the sea, a deep wide valley; or else the corner of a property leading out on the road or fields--and, lastly, a ‘legally free place.' Again, a 'burden' meant, as the lowest standard of it, the weight of 'a dried fig.' But if half a fig’ were carried at two different times—lifted or deposited from a private into a public place, or vice-versa—were these two actions to be combined into one, so as to constitute the sin of Sabbath desecration?
And if so, under what conditions as to state of mind, locality, &c.? And, lastly, how many different sins might one such act involve? To give an instance of the kind of questions that were generally discussed. The standard measure for forbidden food was the size of an olive, just as that for carrying burdens was the weight of a fig. If a man had swallowed forbidden food of the size of half an olive, rejected it, and
1 In the Jerusalem Talmud a Gemara is attached only to the first twenty chapters of the Mishnic tractate Shabbath; in the Babylon Talmud to all the twenty-four chapters
? I have counted about thirty-three Haggadic pieces in the tractate.
5 In the former case it might be a burden or lead to work, while in the latter case the covering was presumably for warmth.
4 Such a free place (1102 cipo) must cover less than four square cubits-for ex., a pillar would be such. "To this no legal deter
mination would apply. The wide space'is called Carmelith (6073). The Mishnah, however, expressly mentions only the private' and the public' place (or enclosed ' and open '), although the Carmelith is implied in x. 2 ; xi. 4,5. The Carmelith was in certain circumstances treated as . public,' in others as · private property. The explannation of the terms and legal definitions is in Jer. Shabb. 12 d ; 13 a; Shabb. 6, a, b ; Toseft. Shabb. 1.