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SUPERSTITION.

—Biblical Data:

That views and practises borrowed from paganism and not in accord with the monotheistic belief of Israel—as, for instance, witchcraft and sorcery—existed in Bible times is proved by the fact that they are prohibited. They are referred to as "the abominations of those nations," and the Israelite is warned against all of them in the words "Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God" (Deut. xviii. 9 et seq.; Sifre, 171, 172; Tosef., Sanh. x. 6, 7 [ed. Zuckermandel, p. 430]; Sifra, 90b, 91a, 93d [ed. Weiss]; Sanh. 65a, b). Although the penalty of death attached to the practise of sorcery (Ex. xxii. 18), such superstitions did not relinquish their hold upon the Israelites, as is shown by the invocation of Samuel's spirit by Saul (I Sam. xxviii. 8 et seq.), the witchcrafts of Queen Jezebel (II Kings ix. 22), and the doings of King Manasseh (ib. xxi. 6; II Chron. xxxv. 5 et seq.). All the Prophets preached against these and the immoral practises connected with them (comp. Micah v. 12; Nahum iii. 4; Jer. xxvii. 9; Isa. xlvii. 9, 12; Mal. iii. 5). All the practises which were prohibited, such as "cutting the flesh," probably savored of superstition, and Judaism in this way was the first religion to attempt to cast off its shackles.

In Talmudic Times.

With the absolute establishment of monotheism, superstition lost its idolatrous character and no longer led to immoralities, as in ancient times; but it still remained, underlying public consciousness. Prohibitory laws were published against the superstitious practises connected with sheḥiṭah (Ḥul. 40a), against incantations for wounds (Sanh. 90a), and the like. On the other hand, the Rabbis permitted some cures the pagan character of which was less manifest (Shab. vi. 3), while they forbade others as savoring of the "ways of the Amorites" (Tosef., Shab. vi.-vii.; see Amorites). The custom of invoking the gods Dan and Gad is thus characterized, affording an interesting parallel to Amos viii. 14 and Isa. lxv. 11 (Shab. 67a). Many superstitions of Egyptian, Babylonian, andPersian origin found a place in the Talmud; many by a process of syncretism came also through the channel of Greek and Roman custom; though on principle the Talmud may be said to have opposed superstition as connected with idolatry (see Demonology). R. Ḥanina, for instance, answered a woman who desired to bewitch him. "It is written, 'There is none else beside Him'" (Deut. iv. 35; Sanh. 67b; Ḥul. 7b).

As instances of superstitions mentioned, if not countenanced, by the Talmud, the following may be referred to: "It is unlucky to be between two dogs, two palms, or two women; and it is equally unlucky for two men to be separated by one of these" (Pes. 111b). "Drink not froth, for it gives cold in the head; nor blow it away, for that gives headache; nor get rid of it otherwise, for that brings poverty; but wait until it subsides" (Ḥul. 105b). "If one of several brothers die, the others must beware of death. Some say death begins with the eldest, some with the youngest" (Shab. 106a). "It is dangerous to borrow a drink of water, or to step over water poured out" (Pes. 111a).

In the Middle Ages superstition was greatly strengthened, owing in large measure to Christian surroundings, trials for witchcraft being carried on under the protection of the Church, and particularly by the Inquisition. The ideas found their way into Jewish literature and even in a high degree influenced religious ceremonies. Jews and Christians borrowed from each other. Hebrew words, whose meanings were not known to Christians, especially the names of God, frequently occur in the great mass of Latin and Greek charms, magical blessings, and amulets, and in the same way Greek and Latin words, whose meanings were not understood by Jews, appear in Hebrew magical formulas and Hebrew prayers. A phenomenon frequent in the history of mankind is here repeated. Stupidity and superstition unite mankind more readily than knowledge and enlightenment. It was of little avail that influential rabbis sought to hinder the spread of such ideas and practises; only in modern times has it become possible to weed out the growths of superstition from the pure monotheism of Judaism.

Bibliography:
  • Güdemann, Gesch. des Erziehungswesens und der Cultur der Abendländischen Juden, Vienna, 1880-1888;
  • D. Joël, Der Aberglaube und die Stellung des Judenthums zu Demselben, in Jahresbericht des Jüdisch-Theolog. Seminars Fraenckel'scher Stiftung, Breslau, 1881-83;
  • Blau, Das Altjüdische Zauberwesen, in Jahresbericht der Landes-Rabbinerschule, Budapest, 1898.
J. M. G.—Modern:

Whatever be the fact with regard to Jews of ancient and medieval times, there can be no doubt that they share with their neighbors of the same stage of culture in that worship of luck which is at the root of superstition. There are found among uneducated Jews just the same class and amount of superstitious beliefs and practises as among their neighbors of Christian creed and of similar want of culture. Important collections have been made in recent years of such beliefs and practises among the Jews, chiefly of eastern Europe. How far these customs and ideas can be classified as specifically Jewish is another and more difficult question. In many cases they can be traced to the habits of their neighbors; in others, while they are common to most sections of the country, it is just possible that the Jews were the originators and the peasantry the recipients; but there has not been sufficient investigation to determine the degree and kind of indebtedness.

Many of these customs have been transplanted from the east of Europe to England and America, and a large number of them have been collected in the east side of New York city. In that city there is found a fully developed belief in the efficacy of the Evil Eye and the significance of Dreams. One antidote for the former is to take a handful of salt and pass it around the head of the child who has been bewitched, to throw a little of it in each corner of the room, and the remainder over the threshold.

Expectoration.

Another remedy against the evil eye, or any other evil, is for the mother to kiss her child three times, spitting after each kiss. At Brody, if a child has been "overlooked" with the evil eye the mother counteracts the effects by licking the forehead of the child twice, spitting, and repeating, "Ny hory ny hory ny buri ny kory," which is simply Polish for "Neither mountains nor forest nor barley nor oats." This must have been borrowed from the neighboring peasants ("Urquell," v. 20). Indeed, the efficacy of expectoration is fully recognized in Jewish folk-lore. When children are at odds, and one of them resorts to spitting tactics, the victim will often purposely allow himself to be spat upon because in so doing it is believed that the spitter takes upon his own shoulders the sins of the former. In order to stop a youth from spitting he need only be reminded that "Du nemst fun mir arop die sind" (You rid me of my sins). If one has a bad dream which it is desired to forget on waking in the morning, the advice is given to spit three times in order that the desired effect may be produced ("Mitteilungen der Gesellschaft für Jüdische Volkskunde," x. 114).

In Minsk traces of more subtle methods of removing sin are found in the process known as "sinsearching." When an epidemic occurs in a small Russo-Jewish community, search is instantly made for some guilty individual, whose sin, it is assumed, is the cause of the epidemic, and the rabbi issues an excommunication against any one refusing to give what information he may have on the subject. When the sinner takes upon himself due punishment, the epidemic, it is believed, will cease. It is considered by Russian Jews unlucky to dream of money, and it is a curious coincidence that Shylock, in "The Merchant of Venice" (Act ii., Scene v.), says:

"I am right loath to go. There is some ill a-brewing towards my rest, For I did dream of money-bags to-night."

Some of Modern Origin.

That some of the superstitions held by Russian Jews have been derived from their neighbors is clear from the following example: Russo-Jewish farmers have full belief that there are certain "maziḳim" who braid the manes of animals beautifully, and even the hair of men who sleep in stables. These are clearly the "domovickes," or brownies, of the Russian peasants. On the other hand, Jews sometimes derive their customs from the impulse to oppose Christian ones. Thus barley may not be eaten on Christmas eve, when Christians eat it. One can even watch thegrowth of superstitions among modern Russian emigrants. In Brest-Litovsk it is believed that the great frosts of 1903-4 in America were taken there by the Russian Jews; and that, on the other hand, the more moderate climatic conditions in southern Russia in that year were due to the large return of Russian Jews to Odessa, bearing with them the milder climate of the United States. Superstitions are found not alone among the more ignorant members of the congregation; even the rabbis, though perhaps not the better educated, encourage them. Thus it is stated that during the cholera epidemic of 1887 the rabbis told fathers of children under thirteen to bind red ribbon around their necks ("Ha-Meliẓ," 1887, col. 1730).

In the country places of Lithuania, when a fire breaks out, it is customary for the rabbi to go out and stand in front of a building that is not burning, and to extinguish the fire by speaking to it ("varreden dem feier"). Sometimes a Jewish turn is given to a general superstition, as in the case of the belief that it is unlucky to have the clothes mended on the person, as this will "sew up" (lose) the memory. If, however, it is absolutely necessary to do so, the side-locks ("pe'ot"), ẓiẓit, or some other article must be held in the mouth while the repairs are being made. It is curious to notice the mythopeic tendency at work even at the present day. Thus in Galicia it is recommended not to leave a tank of water uncovered during the Passover, even while pouring water into the tank, which should be done through a cloth. The object of this practise is supposed to be the prevention of the angel of leaven from spitting into the tank. The personality of Satan seems to be kept alive in the folk-lore of Russia and Galicia, for it is thought to be lucky if the shofar fails to emit a sound on New-Year's Day, the implication being that Satan is imprisoned therein (this is especially current among the Ḥasidim). The means adopted by peasants in Russia to evade drawing a number for conscription has certainly a Jewish tinge, as it consists in taking with them four pieces of maẓẓah, one in each corner of the Arba' Kanfot. In order to secure the full efficacy of the unleavened bread they claim the right to wear the arba' kanfot even when stripped for medical examination. It is still considered lucky to begin an undertaking or journey on Tuesday, because in describing the third day of Creation it is said, "God saw that it was good." For the contrary reason it is unlucky to commence anything on Monday, when this was not said at all. Steinschneider found that this belief was entertained by an eighteenth-century printer (Ersch and Gruber, "Encyc." section ii., part 28, p. 27), and it is mentioned as far back as the Talmud (Pes. 2a).

Some Derived from Neighbors.

The rule of the Turkish Jews not to mention the "shedim," or demons, by name (Garnett, "Turkish Life," p. 283, London, 1904) is analogous to the practise of the Scotch in speaking of the fairies as the "good folk." The local turn given to different superstitions is instanced by that current among the Jews of Salonica, who believe that the Messiah will appear first in Jerusalem and will then sail to Salonica; on the Day of Atonement, therefore, they collect near the water (ib. p. 286). This is possibly mistaken for the practise of Tashlik; yet Ezra Stiles reports that the Jews of Newport, R. I., in his day used to open their windows during a storm for the Messiah to enter (G. A. Kohut, "Ezra Stiles," p. 24).

Superstitions may have quite a Jewish air without being specifically Jewish. Thus it is said that Adar is a lucky month because Moses was born in that month, but the inherent idea of one time being more unlucky than another is not specifically Jewish. It is said that a piece of Afiḳomen placed between two coins brings luck (Schiffer, "Galician Superstitions," No. 72), but the local superstitions must be examined before it can be proved that this was confined to Jews. The practise, mentioned in the "Sefer Refu'ot" (14b), of curing bleeding by baking the blood in bread and giving it to a pig can scarcely have arisen among Jews.

Such a specifically Jewish custom as that of plucking some blades of grass and throwing them behind one on leaving a cemetery (Landshuth, "Biḳḳur Ḥolim," lxix.) can not be traced earlier than the twelfth century. Abraham ben Nathan, in his Responsa (No. 11), can not give any reason for it, yet it is almost certainly German, being mentioned by Wuttke ("Deutsche Aberglaube," pp. 93-145), and in Scheffel's notes to Ekkehard (No. 135).

Death Superstitions.

The idea of kindling lights—in order to make the demons flee—before the death-rattle is heard (comp. Job xviii. 5; see "Ma'abar Yabok," 105b) has many folk-lore analogies (comp. J. G. Frazer in "Journal of the Anthropological Society," xv. 90 et seq.). Even at the present day curious customs arise or are revived when epidemics make their appearance. During the cholera, marriages often take place in the cemetery, as that in Kovno of a lame young man to a deaf-mute or hunchback woman. At Pinsk, and in other communities, two orphans are married, under a black Ḥuppah, on the graves of the parents of one of them, the idea being that the cholera is thus conducted to the graves. There is even a tradition in some remote communities that a woman may be married to the dead. Several curious customs are mentioned in the remarkable will of Judah Ḥasid. Thus, at the dedication of a cemetery, it was usual to kill a rooster and bury it as the first victim of death. If a man meets a ghost and it asks him to go with it, he should say, "It is God's will that I go not with thee." The next day he should go to the cemetery three times, fasting, and say: "As God wills life, do not come forth, thou or any messenger of thine, to carry away me or my children, or any Israelite, for I desire this, not the future world." Peculiar objection seems to be taken to being the first person buried in a cemetery. Small communities sometimes hire an old man to join them so that he may be the first to be buried in their cemetery. It is reported that an aged man was maintained by the community of Passaic, N. J., for ten years, being taken there in 1893, but not dying till 1903 ("The Sun" [New York], Jan. 14, 1903).

One of the most startling of the superstitions observed among modern Jews at Lemberg is the following: If a woman dies pregnant, it is supposed tobe undesirable for her sake and for that of the congregation that the fetus should remain within the body. The corpse is therefore bathed at midnight, and after half an hour the name of the dead is called seven times, and a shofar is blown seven times in her ear. The corpse, with many groans, will then give birth to a dead, undeveloped child ("Urquell," ii. 192; comp. new series, ii. 270).

The essence of superstition being that it obeys no rule, and, therefore, scarcely admits of classification, renders it desirable, perhaps, to give a certain number of examples culled from various sources. Most of the following instances have been collected in New York among Jewish immigrants from various districts of Russia. Where superstitions have been taken from printed sources, these are indicated either in full or with the following abbreviations: Sch. (= collected by Schiffer, in "Urquell," ii.); Grimm (= Grimm, "Deutsche Mythologie," iii., appendix on superstitions). Territorial sources also are indicated. In every case it must be understood that while the superstition has been observed among Jews, further and very difficult research is required before it can be determined whether it has been borrowed from neighbors or has arisen from peculiarly Jewish conceptions.

  • 'Aliyah. Never refuse a visitor to the synagogue an 'aliyah; he may be Elijah (German). Elijah once visited Hebron, but, not being called to the Law, he returned to heaven (Palestine).
  • Alone. If you go alone to look for or call a midwife, your course will be lengthened and made troublesome to you by shedim. You will imagine, for instance, that you are within a few feet of the place you are going to, whereas in reality you are several minutes away from it (Minsk).
  • Animal. If you see an animal of any kind, even a man, where you would not expect it to be, it is a sign that such an animal is a treasure transformed. Throw your shoe at such an animal, and the latter will become a heap of treasures, which you will be at liberty to take away with you (Minsk).
  • Bachelor. At a funeral of a bachelor cast sand before the coffin to blind the eyes of the unbegotten children of the deceased (Kurdistan).
  • Barrenness. To get children, drink water in which has been cooked moss that has grown on the Temple walls (Palestine; Sch. v. 235).
  • Bat. Kill a bat with a "randel" (gold coin) and put the bat under the threshold, and your house will be lucky (Rumania).
  • Bathtub. A child's bathtub must not be used for any other purpose, or the child will not prosper (Galicia; Sch. v. 141).
  • Bear's heart. If a person eats the heart of a bear he will become a tyrant (Minsk).
  • Bed. Girls sit upon the bridal bed for luck (Morocco; Meakin, "The Moors," p. 441).
  • Beggar. The curse of a beggar is effective (Byelostok; Kiev).
  • Birthday. At a child's birthday light as many candles as the number of years the child has lived (Breslau).
  • Blood. To cure sickness Algerian Jews go with an Arab sorceress to a spring, kill a black cock, and smear with the blood the chest, forehead, etc., of the patient. Then they light a fire and sprinkle fire and patient with blood (Benjamin II., "Eight Years in Asia and Africa," p. 313).
  • Bone in the throat. If you are choking with a fish-bone, put another fish-bone on your head, and you will either swallow the one in your throat or get it out. If the bone is a meat-bone, put another meat-bone on your head, and the result will be the same (Minsk).
  • Book. It is dangerous to leave a book open and go away, for a "shed" (demon) will take your seat and create havoc.
  • Bread. Never eat from a piece of bread over which you have recited a "berakah" (blessing), unless you cut it in two (general superstition).
  • Bride. If, on returning from the ḥuppah, the bride takes the groom's hand first, she will dominate in family matters. If he takes her hand first, then he will direct affairs (Minsk).
  • Broom. Do not dust the table with a broom lest one of the household die (Galicia; Sch. v. 46).
  • Brothers. Three married brothers should not dwell in one town (comp. Deut. xxv. 5; Judah he-Ḥasid, "Sefer Ḥasidim," p. 33).
  • Buckets. It is unlucky to come across an empty bucket on first going out, but lucky to pass a full one (general superstition).
  • Cat. When a cat licks her paws it is a sign that visitors will come (general superstition). To keep a cat in the house and prevent her injuring the memory, cut off part of her tail; then she will never go away, even if you drive her. (This is called "Gepasled die Katz"; Wilna; Little Russia.)
  • Childbirth. In the case of hard labor ensuing during confinement, the unmarried girls in the house should unbraid their hair and let it loose on their shoulders (Kovno; Rumania).
  • Cohen. Aleppo Ḥasidim thought it unlucky for an ordinary Israelite to marry the daughter of a kohen, referring to Lev. xxii. 23 (Benjamin II., "Eight Years," etc., p. 72).
  • Convulsions. Break a pot or dish in front of the child to drive away the demon of convulsions (Galicia; "Urquell," ii. 33). Prick the finger of the child with a needle, suck blood therefrom, spit thrice, and then put some of the mother's blood in the child's mouth (ib.).
  • Curse. An undeserved curse has no effect, but may fall back upon the head of him who utters it (comp. Gen. xii. 3). (Sometimes Jews who feel that they are being cursed unjustly express the hope that "zol es ois gehm of sein kopf, wos er wünscht mir" [may all the evil he wishes me turn upon him] [Russia].)
  • Dead. The deceased is thought to hear and know everything that is said and done about him until the last spade of earth is thrown over him (Gamaliel ben Pedahzur, p. 16).
  • Dead. Calling the. On visiting the grave of a relative, you should take with you a pious man to call him and communicate with him by putting his ear to the grave (Russian, in America).
  • Discovering treasure. To discover hidden treasure, go on Johannistag and find on a hazel-tree four twigs of the same year, and bind them into one; then take them in your left hand, and gold and riches in your right hand, and pass the twigs round them three times, saying, "Be these twigs lucky to me as were once the rods to our ancestor Jacob, so that I may discover gold and silver treasures," etc. Next morning, before sunrise, go to the tree, cut off the twigs, cast them east, west, north, and south, and say, "Dear God, I beg Thee," etc., and let two boys follow them (Perles, in "Grätz Jubelschrift," p. 33).
  • Eggs. If you steal an egg you will have seven years of poverty (Pinsk; Byelostok).
  • Epidemics. During epidemics open the door only when the person outside has knocked thrice (Galicia; Sch. 202).
  • Evil eye. To throw off the evil eye, spit three times on your finger-tips, and each time make a quick movement with your hand in the air (Galicia; Sch. 179).
  • Fingers. The reason for holding the fingers downward and extended while washing them in the morning is that the evil spirits which hover about man in the night-time may be washed away (Gamaliel ben Pedahzur).
  • "Feldmesten." If one is sick his female relatives should go to the graves of some pious men and measure the graves and the distances between them with wicks; candles should then be made of the length of these wicks and be presented to the synagogue or bet ha-midrash (general in Russia).
  • Feet. Itching of the feet implies that you will come to some unknown place ("Sefer Ḥasidim," p. 162; comp. Wuttke, l.c. p. 41).If the bridegroom steps on the bride's foot when both are under the ḥuppah it is a sign that he will rule her. If she steps on his foot then she will rule him (Lithuania).
  • Hair, Cutting a child's. If a child's hair is cut an elf-lock will grow (Jew. Encyc. iv. 31, s.v. Childbirth).
  • Hanging-rope. If you put into a barrel of whisky, or of other liquor, a piece of a rope used in a hanging, or with which some one has hanged himself, the liquor will last longer than otherwise (Minsk).
  • Ḥol ha-Mo'ed. As Ḥol ha-Mo'ed is only a half-holiday, you should write on that day obliquely or sidewise (Riga).
  • House-building. Do not build a house where no one has built before; if you do, get some one to inhabit it for a year, for the first tenant in a newly constructed house is likely to become poor. Neither door nor window should be entirely closed; leave a small opening for the demons (Lithuania; Kiev; Dvinsk; "Sefer Ḥasidim," pp. 17, 20).
  • Invisibility. To be a "ro'eh welo nir'eh" (one who can see without being seen) go into a stall or any similar place, eat a roll half a pound in weight, baked hard and crisp, and see that not a crum of it is lost. After you have successfully accomplished this task a "taichel" (devil) will show himself before you and endeavor by different pranks to make you laugh; if youare successful in not laughing, another taichel will bring you a "yarmulka" (hat); then a third will perform other funny pranks. If you still refrain from laughing, a fourth will present you with a bone. If you carry this bone you will become a ro'eh welo nir'eh.
  • Languages. Some Russian Jews believe that some time before a child is born the angel Raphael teaches it all the (70) languages of the world; but that as the child leaves the mother's womb the same angel gives the child a fillip on the upper lip, causing it to forget them all (Pinsk).
  • Looking back. In running from danger never turn to look back, as you may be transformed, like Lot's wife, into a bag of salt (Kiev).
  • Minyan. It is lucky to be the tenth of a minyan (general superstition).
  • Mirrors. If you break a mirror you will have seven years of poverty (Pinsk).If you place a mirror in front of a sleeping man with a candle between them, and then call him by name, he will follow you wherever you will; but if he gives you a "backhander" you will not live the year out (Galicia; Sch. 53).
  • Money. In taking money out of a money-bag or safe never take out all of it, but leave a coin or two "for luck," for money attracts money (Grodno).It is lucky to save the first money made at market (Kiev; comp. Grimm, p. 85: "He who lends the first money he makes at market gives away his luck").
  • Mourning. Weep not too much for the dead, or you may have some one else to weep for: weep three days, mourn seven, and put aside ornaments thirty. If you do more, God will say, "Are you more pitiful than I?" ("Sefer Ḥasidim," p. 15).
  • Ovens. Never leave an oven or stove empty; if you have nothing to cook or bake in it put a piece of wood in it; if you leave it empty you may not have anything to bake or cook when you want it (Minsk).
  • Plagues. If there is an epidemic write on the door of the house, "Here has Typhus [or Cholera, etc.] already been," and the house will remain untouched. Or hang on the door a locked "Schloss" and throw the key away. Or draw a black mark with coal on the outer wall (Galicia; Sch. 80-82).
  • Rats. If rats run from one house to another, the house into which they have run will have luck (Byelostok).
  • Right and left eye. If the right eye itches, you will rejoice; if the left, you will cry (Galicia; Sch. 19).
  • Sale of children. In a family in which several children have died, the mother, before she gives birth to another child, goes to an old man whose children, and even grandchildren, are all alive, and sells him her unborn child for a certain sum, which the old man agrees to pay. The old man is then considered the "grandfather" of the boy. One of the conditions in this transaction is that the old man reserves the right to name the child, which name is not told to the boy nor to his parents, but will be disclosed in the "grandfather's" will if he dies, or to the bride of the "grandchild" under the ḥuppah, when the sum which the old man has paid will be refunded. The boy is called "Alter" (see Names). The old man is said to have "haẓlakah" (Russia and America).
  • Shoes. Never walk in one shoe, or one slipper, etc., otherwise one of your parents will die (Minsk).
  • Shroud. In making a shroud, avoid knots (South Russia; "Roḳeaḥ," p. 316; comp. Wuttke, "Deutsche Aberglaube," p. 210).
  • Sin-buying. If a boy has committed some slight sin (e.g., torn a paper on the Sabbath) another says to him. "What will you give if I buy your sin from you?" "An apple," "a marble," may be the reply. The bargain is made; the conscience of the one is quieted, but the other is called the "sin-buyer" and despised ("Urquell," ii. 165-166). This sometimes occurs among adults, and the buyer often has trouble to induce the sinner to "take back his sin" (see "Sin-Eater," in "Folk-Lore," ii.).
  • Sisters. Sisters should not marry on the same day lest the evil eye fall on the parents; and two brothers should not marry two sisters ("Sefer Ḥasidim," pp. 23-26). Do not marry two sisters one after the other (ib. p. 27). Father and son should not marry two sisters (ib. p. 28).
  • Stepping across a child. If you step over a child it will stop growing (Kiev). To make it resume growing, recross it (Galicia; Sch. iv. 96; this superstition is wide-spread; see a large collection of references in "Urquell," vi. 111).
  • Sweeping. You should not throw sweepings out of the room at night; if you do you may die (Galicia; Sch. 7).
  • Throwing out dirt. You must not throw dirt after a man as he is leaving a room (Galicia; Sch. 4).You must not sweep a chamber at night; if you do, you will either not be able to sleep, or you will lose something (Galicia; Sch. 5, 6).
  • Widowhood. The third (fourth, etc.) husband of a widow, or wife of a widower, will die soon after the marriage (Wilna).

It is to be observed that Jews themselves recognize their tendency to superstition. A proverbial expression among the Russian Jews runs, "Last year's snow for headache"—a sarcastic reference to the impractical nature of folk-medicine. See 'Alenu; Bibliomancy; Childbirth; Death, Views and Customs Concerning; Dibbuḳim; Folk-Lore; Folk-Medicine; Golem; Holle Kreish; Numbers and Numerals; Salt; Teḳufah; Ten; Transmigration of Souls.

Bibliography:
  • Brecher, Das Transcendentale im Talmud;
  • Güdemann, Gesch. ii. 326 et seq.;
  • Leo Wiener, Yiddish Literature, pp. 50, 51, note (bibliography);
  • Mitteilungen der Gesellschaft für Jüdische Volkskunde, 1897-1905.
J.
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