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Birkat Kohanim Amulet – Italy, 18th/19th Century – Protection from Evil Eye and for a Mother and Her Newborn
Auction house commission: 23%
VAT: On commission only
Amulet containing the verses of Birkat Kohanim (the Priestly Blessing) "May G-d bless you and protect you…", and a 22-letter Holy Name, derived from the verses of Birkat Kohanim. Neat square script on paper. [Italy, ca. 18th/19th century].
The practice of using the verses of Birkat Kohanim as an amulet is already mentioned in various midrashim, which state that at the time of the giving of the Torah and the building of the Mishkan, G-d wrote the verses of Birkat Kohanim and gave them to the Jewish people as an amulet (Midrash Rabba Parashat Nasso, chapter 12; Pesikta Rabbati chapter 10; Midrash Aggadah Nasso chapter 7: When the Torah was first given to the Jews, it was given publicly, and the evil eye governed it, causing the Tablets to be broken – "When He wished to rest His presence amongst them, what did He do? He first wrote the Birkat Kohanim as an amulet, so that the evil eye shall have no power over it"). In books of segulot, the verses of Birkat Kohanim are included in the texts of various amulets. Toldot HaAdam (Zhovkva, 1720, p. 21b, section 115), attributed to R. Yoel Baal Shem, quotes the text of a protective amulet for a mother and her newborn, which includes the verses of Birkat Kohanim with other verses and Holy Names.
Slip of paper. 7X9 cm. Fair-good condition. Many stains and wear. Several tears and holes to corners.
The Power of the Birkat Kohanim Amulet Written by Rabbi Kalfon HaKohen of Djerba
R. Kalfon Moshe HaKohen Rabbi of Djerba (Tunisia) once wrote the verses of Birkat Kohanim on a plain piece of paper, and gave it to his granddaughter as an amulet for an easy birth. The residents of Djerba regarded it as a proven amulet, and would use it as a segulah for easy birth and recovery, as quoted below:
"His granddaughter, who experienced difficult births and repeated miscarriages, begged him to write an amulet for her, and after repeated entreaties, he conceded and wrote for her an amulet with plain ink, on plain paper, and it was very beneficial for her, as well as for other women. When the amulet was opened, it was found to contain only the three verses of Birkat Kohanim… No Holy Names, no illustrations, and no Hashbaot" (Or Torah, Tevet 1997, p. 256).
"The granddaughter of the rabbi endured tremendous difficulty while giving birth… she also miscarried several times… in her anguish, she turned to her illustrious grandfather, related her difficulties to him, and begged him to write for her an amulet which would put an end to all her troubles… after she approached him repeatedly and cried to him… his mercy was aroused… he took a plain piece of paper and a pen, dipped it in the inkwell, and wrote out for her the Birkat Kohanim… without Holy Names, illustrations nor Hashbaot… and behold, from the time the granddaughter carried the amulet on herself, she stopped miscarrying and gave birth easily. The news of this wonderful amulet spread quickly throughout Djerba, and soon, any women experiencing difficulty giving birth, began carrying the amulet on herself, and 'before she had travailed, she had already given birth', and it was a miracle. Not only for births did the amulet bring salvation, but also for healing various illnesses, until it earned the reputation of a 'verified amulet'. This amulet was passed on for years from one sick person to the next, and due to its great demand, it was given to each person for the limited period of one week only…" (Peninei HaParasha, VIII, 2007, issue 398).