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קמע לשמירה מפני לילית | Apotropaic ward for the protection of pregnant women and infants against Lilith & her minions (Montgomery 1913, reconstructed)

Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)

שדי
SHADAI

סנוי סנסנוי סמנגלף
אדם וחוה קדמונה
חוץ לילית
Sanoi, Sansanoi, Semanglaf[1] Protecting angels common in childbirth charms whose significance to wards against Lilith is explained in the Alphabet of ben Sira
Adam and Primæval Ḥavah:[2] i.e., another name for Lilith. –ANV 
out Lilit![3] Montgomery originally had published this as “אדם יהוה קדמונה חיין לילית” where either he or Gottheil had misread וחוה (and Eve) as יהוה (the Tetragrammaton) and חוץ לילית ׁ(out Lilit!) as חיין לילית ׁ (ָLilit alive!). The latter, while plauisible given that the agreement the ward is based upon essentially guarantees Lilith remains alive so long as her names are repeated. However, the much more familiar formula is the former — חוץ לילית ׁ(out Lilit!). I suspect that the vav and upper right arm of the tsaddi sofit (וץ) were misread as two yuds and a nun sofit (יין). –ANV 

בשם ייי אלהי ישראל
יושב הכרובים
ששמו חי וקים לעד
In the name of YHVH Elohei Yisrael
seated [upon] the Keruvim,
whose Name is living and enduring forever.

אליהו הנביא היה הולך בדרך
ופגע בלילית הרשעה ובכל כת דילה
Eliyahu haNavi was walking in the road
and he met the wicked Lilit and all her gang.[4] Florentina Beladenova Geller notes this tale appears related to the story of Agrat bat Mahlat and her encounter with Rabbi Hanina ben Dosa as recorded in amulet bowls and the Babylonian Talmud (Pesachim 112b). See “Between Demonology and Hagiology: The Slavonic Rendering of the Semitic Magical Historiola of the Child-Stealing Witch” in In the Wake of the Compendia: Infrastructural Contexts and the Licensing of Empiricism in Ancient and Medieval Mesopotamia. ed. J. Cale Johnson (2015), p. 184-185. –ANV 

אמר לה
אן את הולכת
טמאה ורוח הטומאה
וכל כת דילך טמאים הולכים
He said to her,
“Where are you going,
Foul one and Spirit of Foulness,
with all your foul gang walking along?”

ותען ותאמר לו
אדוני אליהו
אנכי הולכת לבית היולדה
מירקאדה ד׳מ(ירקאדה)‏
ויאידה בת דונה
לתת לה שינת המות
ולקחת את ילדה הנולד לה
למצוץ דמו
ולמצוץ מוח עצמותיו
ולחתם את בשרו
And she answered and said to him:
“My lord Eliyahu,
I am going to the house of the woman in childbirth
who is in birthpangs,[5] מירקאדה ד׳מ(מירקאדה)‏ is obscure to me. The root is probably used in the Syriac sense of mourning, hence supplicating; or cf. Heb. חיל, “writhe,” as well as “dance.” 
of so-and-so daughter of such-a-one,[6] I would read as אידה בת דינה, the first as the indefinite pronoun fem., quaequae, the last as representing the Greek δεῑνα, which is commonly used in the papyri, the actual name being inserted upon use. –Montgomery 
to give her the sleep of death
and to take the child she is bearing,
to suck their blood
and to suck the marrow of their bones
and to devour their flesh.”

ויאמר לה אליהו הנביא ז״ל [זכרו לברכה] 
בחרם מאת השם יתברך עצורה תהיה
וכאבן דומה תהיה.
And said Eliyahu haNavi, z”l, to her –
“With a ban from the Name (may it be blessed) shall you be restrained
and like a tombstone[7] Gottheil has דומה (“grave, afterworld”) but other later texts have דומם (“inanimate”). If we follow Gottheil’s transcription, then perhaps this should indicate something like a stone of the netherworld, i.e., a tombstone. Others translate this as “like a dumb stone.” I like the valence of tombstone here, so I’ll leave it, although I’m skeptical of Gottheil’s transcription. –ANV  shall you be!”

ותען ותאמר לו
למען ייי התירני מן החרם
ואנכי אברח ואשבע לך
בשם ייי אלהי ישראל
לעזוב הדברים
אלו מהיולדות הזאות
ומולדה הנולד לה
ומכל שכן להזיק
וכל זמן שמזכירים
או אני רואה את שמותי כתובים
לא יהיה לי וכל כת דילי כח
להרע ולהזיק
ואלו הן שמותי:
לילית
אביטר
אביקר
אמורפו
הקש
אודם
איכפידו
איילו
מטרוטה
אבנוקטה
שטריהה
קלי
 
תלתוי
ריטשה׃
And she answered and said to him:
“For the sake of YHVH postpone the ban
and I will flee and will swear to you
in the name of YHVH Elohei Yisrael
that I will let go this business
in the case of this woman in childbirth
and the child to be born to her
and every pregnant woman so as to do no harm.
And every time they are repeated
or I see my names written,
it will not be in the power of me or of all my gang
to do evil or harm.
And these are my names:[8] The order of corresponding names diverges slightly in parallel texts. Some differences of transliteration are due to the vocalization as interpreted by the scribe/copyist, others are due to common confusion in letters (e.g. daled and resh in the name Odam vs. Orem. –ANV 
Lilit,
Abitar,[9] or Abatur, the Mandaic genius, but the possible reading of the copy, Abito, may be preferable, in view of the Greek parallels. Abito is also found in a similar albeit abbreviated text cited by Moses Gaster, Mystery of the Lord (the original Hebrew title, unclear, but possibly סודי ה׳, a book that both Montgomery and I have yet to locate). More recently, Maria Kaspina published a text from an eighteenth-century Jewish amulet of German provenance in the collection of The Museum of the History of the Jews in Russia (Moscow 2014). There, the name is Abitu. A third comparative text, in Hebrew and Yiddish from the collection of the Jewish Museum Prague (inventory number JMP 178.801) was also recently published by Lenka Uličná in “Amulets Found in Bohemian Genizot: A First Approach,” p.71-75 in Genisa-Blätter III
Abikar,[10] In the text cited by Gaster, Abiko. In the amulet cited by Kaspina, Abizu
Amorpho[11] i.e., “amorphous, shapeless” gk. ἂμορϕος. Montgomery writes, “our Jewish text alone has preserved the correct form.” In the text cited by Gaster, Amizo. In the amulet cited by Kaspina, Amzarko
haḲash[12] κακός. In the text cited by Gaster, Koko. In the amulet cited by Kaspina, Hekesh
Odam,[13] In the amulet cited by Kaspina, Orem
Ikhphido,[14] In the text cited by Gaster, Podo. In the amulet cited by Kaspina, Ikpodu
Eilo,[15] In the amulet cited by Kaspina, Ilu
Matrotah,[16] In the text cited by Gaster, Patrota. In the amulet cited by Kaspina, Tatrota
Abnuktah,[17] In the amulet cited by Kaspina, Abunukta
Shatrihah,[18] In the text cited by Gaster, Satrina. In the amulet cited by Kaspina, Shatruna
Ḳali,[19] In the amulet cited by Kaspina, Kalikataza
[Batseh],[20] This name is included in Montgomery’s translation but does not appear in his publication of Gottheil’s transcription. In the text cited by Gaster, Batna
Taltui,[21] In the text cited by Gaster, Talto. In the amulet cited by Kaspina, Tilatui
Ritshah.[22] In the text cited by Gaster, Partasah. In the amulet cited by Kaspina, Piratsha

והשיב לה אליהו הנביא ז״ל ואמר לה
הריני משביעך ולכל כת דילך
בשם ייי אלהי ישראל גי״ם תריג
אברהם יצחק ויעקב
ובשם שכינתו הקדושה
ובשם עשרה שרפים
אופנים וחיות הקדש
[וחמשה] ספרי תורה
ובכח אלהי הצבאות ב״ה
שלא תלכי לא את ולא מכת דילך
להזיק את היולדת הזאת
או את ילדה הנולד לה
לא לשתות את דמו
לא למצוץ מח עצמותיו
ולא לחתם את בשרו
ולא ליגע בהם לא ברו״ג אבריהן
ולא בשס״ה גידיהן
וערקיהן כמו שאינה יכולה לספור את כוכבי השמים
ולא להוביש את מי הים
בשם קרע שטן חסדיאל שמריאל
And Eliyahu haNavi (z”l) answered and said to her:
“Lo, I adjure thee and all your gang,
in the name of YHVH Elohei Yisrael, by the gematria of 613,[23] the figure of 613 is the gematria for ‘YHVH Elohei Yisrael,’ and the traditionally enumerated number of obligatory and prohibitory commandments in the Torah. –ANV after Montgomery 
Avraham, Yitsḥaq and Yaaqov,
and in the name of his holy Shekhinah,
and in the name of the ten holy Serafim,
the Ofanim and the Ḥayot haḳodesh[24] lit., the wheels and the sacred creatures or the wild creatures. Likely a reference to the sphere of the cosmos and its zodiacal constellations, as living cosmic or “angelic” entities. –ANV 
and the [Five] Books of the Torah,[25] Here, Gottheil’s transcription before Montgomery reads ועשרה ספרי תורה and he does his best to provide an explanation. “The 10 Books of the Law are the double of the Pentateuch; cf. the Eighth Book of Moses in the Leyden MS. which Dieterich has published at the end of his Abraxas.” The simpler answer is that this is an error, either in the original or in Gottheil’s transcription, and so we do not need to resort to what might be a fantastic reference to gnostic pseudepigrapha including undiscovered 9th and 10th books of Moses. –ANV 
and by the might of Elohei Tsevaot (b”h) –
that you come not, you nor your gang
to injure this woman
or the child she is bearing,
nor to drink its blood
nor to suck the marrow of its bones
nor to devour its flesh,
nor to touch them neither in their 256 limbs[26] The “256 limbs” are 248 in Jewish lore. “This tradition harks back to a Talmudic dictum that the body has 248 bones and 365 sinews, which add up to 613, equal to the number of Mosaic commandments in the Pentateuch; this relates to a Talmudic account of the first-century CE Palestinian sage Rabbi Ishmael, whose students dissected the body of a prostitute and were surprised to discover that she had 252 bones (rather than 248), the problem being solved by the explanation that a woman has four additional bones (doors and hinges) in her vagina (Bekhorot 45a). The theme is fairly common in Aramaic magic bowls, which also distinguish between 252 bones for females and 248 bones in males; see Shaked, Ford & Bhayro 2013, 55. See also two magic bowls published by Dan Levene in which a male client is to be protected by the spell in all his 248 limbs, and alternatively the demon is forbidden from harming a female client in all her 252 limbs (Levene 2003, 46, 116).” –note 25 in Florentina Badalanova Geller’s “Between Demonology and Hagiology: The Slavonic Rendering of the Semitic Magical Historiola of the Child-Stealing Witch” in In the Wake of the Compendia: Infrastructural Contexts and the Licensing of Empiricism in Ancient and Medieval Mesopotamia. ed. J. Cale Johnson (2015). –ANV 
nor in their 365 ligaments and veins,
even as you are unable to count the number of the stars of heaven
nor dry up the water of the sea.
In the name of: ‘Ḥasdiel Shamriel has rent Satan’”

This is an incantation text, “№ 42” published in Aramaic Incantation Texts from Nippur. The [University of Pennsylvania] Museum Publications of the Babylonian Section. Vol. 3 (Philadelphia, 1913) by James Alan Montgomery (1866-1949).

I have corrected obvious errors in Gottheil’s transcription and consequently in Montgomery’s translation. I have paraphrased commentary of Montgomery with the text and I have also altered his translation in parts. See below, “Sources,” for Montgomery’s original article and complete notes including his important reference to a similar work quoted in translation by Moses Gaster in “Two Thousand Years of the Child-Stealing Witch” (1900) in Folk-lore 11(2), 129–162.

The text is undated and unprovenaced and the actual source manuscript from which this text was transcribed appears to have been lost, unfortunately, as Dr. Montgomery explains in his introduction: “Towards the close of my work on this volume, Professor Richard Gottheil [(1862-1936)], who had several years ago thought of publishing the bowls, kindly forwarded me some notes and transcriptions which he had made in his preliminary essays. Among the papers was the copy of a text which is not now found in the Museum. It differed so radically from the other inscriptions that I inquired of Prof. Gottheil if it was taken from a bowl. He replied that he knew of no other source whence the text could have come into his set of papers. Accordingly on the hypothesis that the original text was once in the Museum, I venture to publish Prof. Gottheil’s copy, and do so the more readily because of its interesting character and the illustration it affords to several points in the texts above. It contains a form of the Lilith legend, widespread in folklore, and a bowl would have been a perfectly proper place for a text of this prophylactic character…” After his translation, Montgomery includes the following important details relayed by Gottheil, which I think argues for this text originating from a qame’a that is not an incantation bowl, mainly due to the format restrictions of such objects.

Accompanying the text are given some inscribed designs and phrases. A rough figure of a hand (prophylactic against the evil eye) contains the Aramaic legend:

אנא מזרעי דיוסף קא (? הא =) אתינא ולא שלטא ביה שנא בישא׃

“I am the seed-producer (?) of Yosef; when I come, an evil year cannot prevail over him,”—a play of thought between Yosef as controller of the fertility of Egypt and the fertility of the family, and as a good omen for the expectant mother.

A “David’s Shield” contains in the center יאהדונהי, a [combined form of the Tetragrammaton with] Adonai. On the left hand שטן, “Satan,” in another division אבג and nearby יחץ, i.e. אבג״יחץ, [from the 42 letter divine name –ANV] to be found in Schwab, Vocab. Another species of the shield more roughly designed contains יהוה in the center, flanked with יה, etc. and אדני, with מטטרון and סנדלפון on either side. The changes are rung on the possible mutations of ילק, and the scripture Deuteronomy 28:10 is cited. Similar charms against the Lilith are to be found at the end of Sefer Raziel and in Buxtorf’s Lexicon, s.v.

There just does not seem to me to be enough room for all of these additional verses, symbols, and divine names in the center of an amulet bowl. A qame’a on parchment seems much more probable. The presence of portions of the 42-letter divine name found in Sefer Raziel ha-Malakh (ca. 13th c.) and described by Hai Gaon (939-1038), indicates to me that this variation of the text dates no earlier than the late Geonic period. Shorter versions of this text reproduced in later periods commonly end with the litany of Lilit’s names and omit the adjuration of Eliyahu.

Montgomery offers an additional insight for this Lilit text in the context of the stories appearing in the bowls he reviewed earlier: “The very ancient use of epical narrative as an efficient magical charm was described above p. 62; thus the mere narrative of a demon’s power as in the case of Dibbarra, is potent, or, à fortiori, the relation of a triumph over the evil spirit from some sacred legend. In the present case we have the added virtue of the revelation of the demon’s names, and she swears that whenever they confront her, she will retire; the knowledge of her names binds her (cf. p. 56).”

–Aharon Varady

Source(s)

 

Notes

Notes
1 Protecting angels common in childbirth charms whose significance to wards against Lilith is explained in the Alphabet of ben Sira.
2 i.e., another name for Lilith. –ANV
3 Montgomery originally had published this as “אדם יהוה קדמונה חיין לילית” where either he or Gottheil had misread וחוה (and Eve) as יהוה (the Tetragrammaton) and חוץ לילית ׁ(out Lilit!) as חיין לילית ׁ (ָLilit alive!). The latter, while plauisible given that the agreement the ward is based upon essentially guarantees Lilith remains alive so long as her names are repeated. However, the much more familiar formula is the former — חוץ לילית ׁ(out Lilit!). I suspect that the vav and upper right arm of the tsaddi sofit (וץ) were misread as two yuds and a nun sofit (יין). –ANV
4 Florentina Beladenova Geller notes this tale appears related to the story of Agrat bat Mahlat and her encounter with Rabbi Hanina ben Dosa as recorded in amulet bowls and the Babylonian Talmud (Pesachim 112b). See “Between Demonology and Hagiology: The Slavonic Rendering of the Semitic Magical Historiola of the Child-Stealing Witch” in In the Wake of the Compendia: Infrastructural Contexts and the Licensing of Empiricism in Ancient and Medieval Mesopotamia. ed. J. Cale Johnson (2015), p. 184-185. –ANV
5 מירקאדה ד׳מ(מירקאדה)‏ is obscure to me. The root is probably used in the Syriac sense of mourning, hence supplicating; or cf. Heb. חיל, “writhe,” as well as “dance.”
6 I would read as אידה בת דינה, the first as the indefinite pronoun fem., quaequae, the last as representing the Greek δεῑνα, which is commonly used in the papyri, the actual name being inserted upon use. –Montgomery
7 Gottheil has דומה (“grave, afterworld”) but other later texts have דומם (“inanimate”). If we follow Gottheil’s transcription, then perhaps this should indicate something like a stone of the netherworld, i.e., a tombstone. Others translate this as “like a dumb stone.” I like the valence of tombstone here, so I’ll leave it, although I’m skeptical of Gottheil’s transcription. –ANV
8 The order of corresponding names diverges slightly in parallel texts. Some differences of transliteration are due to the vocalization as interpreted by the scribe/copyist, others are due to common confusion in letters (e.g. daled and resh in the name Odam vs. Orem. –ANV
9 or Abatur, the Mandaic genius, but the possible reading of the copy, Abito, may be preferable, in view of the Greek parallels. Abito is also found in a similar albeit abbreviated text cited by Moses Gaster, Mystery of the Lord (the original Hebrew title, unclear, but possibly סודי ה׳, a book that both Montgomery and I have yet to locate). More recently, Maria Kaspina published a text from an eighteenth-century Jewish amulet of German provenance in the collection of The Museum of the History of the Jews in Russia (Moscow 2014). There, the name is Abitu. A third comparative text, in Hebrew and Yiddish from the collection of the Jewish Museum Prague (inventory number JMP 178.801) was also recently published by Lenka Uličná in “Amulets Found in Bohemian Genizot: A First Approach,” p.71-75 in Genisa-Blätter III.
10 In the text cited by Gaster, Abiko. In the amulet cited by Kaspina, Abizu.
11 i.e., “amorphous, shapeless” gk. ἂμορϕος. Montgomery writes, “our Jewish text alone has preserved the correct form.” In the text cited by Gaster, Amizo. In the amulet cited by Kaspina, Amzarko.
12 κακός. In the text cited by Gaster, Koko. In the amulet cited by Kaspina, Hekesh.
13 In the amulet cited by Kaspina, Orem.
14 In the text cited by Gaster, Podo. In the amulet cited by Kaspina, Ikpodu.
15 In the amulet cited by Kaspina, Ilu.
16 In the text cited by Gaster, Patrota. In the amulet cited by Kaspina, Tatrota.
17 In the amulet cited by Kaspina, Abunukta.
18 In the text cited by Gaster, Satrina. In the amulet cited by Kaspina, Shatruna.
19 In the amulet cited by Kaspina, Kalikataza.
20 This name is included in Montgomery’s translation but does not appear in his publication of Gottheil’s transcription. In the text cited by Gaster, Batna.
21 In the text cited by Gaster, Talto. In the amulet cited by Kaspina, Tilatui.
22 In the text cited by Gaster, Partasah. In the amulet cited by Kaspina, Piratsha.
23 the figure of 613 is the gematria for ‘YHVH Elohei Yisrael,’ and the traditionally enumerated number of obligatory and prohibitory commandments in the Torah. –ANV after Montgomery
24 lit., the wheels and the sacred creatures or the wild creatures. Likely a reference to the sphere of the cosmos and its zodiacal constellations, as living cosmic or “angelic” entities. –ANV
25 Here, Gottheil’s transcription before Montgomery reads ועשרה ספרי תורה and he does his best to provide an explanation. “The 10 Books of the Law are the double of the Pentateuch; cf. the Eighth Book of Moses in the Leyden MS. which Dieterich has published at the end of his Abraxas.” The simpler answer is that this is an error, either in the original or in Gottheil’s transcription, and so we do not need to resort to what might be a fantastic reference to gnostic pseudepigrapha including undiscovered 9th and 10th books of Moses. –ANV
26 The “256 limbs” are 248 in Jewish lore. “This tradition harks back to a Talmudic dictum that the body has 248 bones and 365 sinews, which add up to 613, equal to the number of Mosaic commandments in the Pentateuch; this relates to a Talmudic account of the first-century CE Palestinian sage Rabbi Ishmael, whose students dissected the body of a prostitute and were surprised to discover that she had 252 bones (rather than 248), the problem being solved by the explanation that a woman has four additional bones (doors and hinges) in her vagina (Bekhorot 45a). The theme is fairly common in Aramaic magic bowls, which also distinguish between 252 bones for females and 248 bones in males; see Shaked, Ford & Bhayro 2013, 55. See also two magic bowls published by Dan Levene in which a male client is to be protected by the spell in all his 248 limbs, and alternatively the demon is forbidden from harming a female client in all her 252 limbs (Levene 2003, 46, 116).” –note 25 in Florentina Badalanova Geller’s “Between Demonology and Hagiology: The Slavonic Rendering of the Semitic Magical Historiola of the Child-Stealing Witch” in In the Wake of the Compendia: Infrastructural Contexts and the Licensing of Empiricism in Ancient and Medieval Mesopotamia. ed. J. Cale Johnson (2015). –ANV

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