Saturday, December 20, 2014

Magen David - Article by Jacob Reifmann

Magen David
Jacob  Reifmann  (1818–1895)

HaShachar II Vienna 1871
Translated from Hebrew by Ze'ev Barkan

In all our books first and last from which  the law will go out there is no trace of the star  of David* except for the books of Practical Kabbalah. See the book Shoshan Sodot where it is written that you shall know that the star of David is for winning every  enemy and murderer and if you make the ring of pure silver on Thursday at the hour of Jupiter and fill it with light blue and the ring will carry the star of David and when you see your enemies you should say and so on. Hence, and like it in many other such books. and you should know that this star of David was used by ancients French priests and doctors who were called Druiden which means wizards , in the opinion of some linguists, and the ancient Germans learned from them to engrave this image (which they call Drudenfuss) on the cradles of little children, and they believe that it has the power to preserve them from any harm, especially from witchcraft. And even in these days there are many Christians who do so.

Drudenfuss, magical symbol on a house at Ahrweiler from 1639

And it is engraved on the flag of freedom that Emperor Karl gave to the Jews of Prague in 1317 C.E. Here it is in that synagogue known as Old New Synagogue . And my friend the great sage Rabbi Raphael Kirchheim from Frankfurt-am-Main wrote to me: "and even today the Star of David is spread in our districts as a drawing and as a mark in all the German taverns, and also in my town once they marked the  cart owners who bring wine from place to place".

And in the book Tmim De'im "and the pattern of two triangles inverted and embedded into each other which exists among us was very famous in the Gnostic cult  and they called it by the name King's Seal and boasted they did with it great wonders (Montfaucon Table 60 and Origines in his book Against Celsus Book VI chapter 25 mark 649). and even more wonderful is that this picture is known among our brethren, the children of Israel, by the name David's Shield and he who knows the hints of the Gnostics will understand that it is aimed at their hints that we should avoid mentioning. And the ancient Ashkenazi people who were worshiping the Idol called Tis had a cult called Druden; on their footwear they painted this image and named it Drudenfuss, meaning feet of the Drude. and also a triangle pattern containing and surrounded by the letters Abrakadabra was very famous among the nations, and we found it in the book of medicines by the special doctor of Emperor Valentine about three hundred years after the destruction of the Temple (see Sprengel Vol. II chapter 6 footnote 35). And the Muslims use that image called Solomon's seal. and it appears on the cover under the saddle of the Sultan's horse .

And also that the seals mentioned in the Laws of Tefillin and Mezuzah refer to Magen David labeled as King's Seal or Seal of Solomon. From all of this it is easy for you to know that this symbol is a strange branch in the vineyard of Israel. And The son of Yishai [King David] already said: "they mingled with the nations and adopted their customs" (Psalm 106:35) and the son of Amotz [Prophet Isaiah]: "You, Lord, have abandoned your people, the descendants of Jacob. They are full of superstitions from the East; they practice divination like the Philistines and embrace pagan customs". (Isaiah 2:6). and in the book of Hasidim (Mark 1101): As the nations also custom Jewish customs in most places]. and in Sefer Hasidim ( article 1101): "the Jewish customs are like the customs of the nations in most places".

And do not be astonished that this image entered into their books of practical Kabbalah maybe because they love sublime incomprehensible things so much that they thought it is true which should be accepted from every one who says it, since  the one who says a wise thing is called wise even if he is not one of the sons of Israel.
As it is written in Megilah  (16a): Rabbi Yochanan said He who says a wise thing is called wise even if he is from the nations of the world. And that is why Rabbi Yochanan accepted medical wisdom from that pagan woman, and Abaye and Rav Pappa accepted the opinion of an Arab mechant (Avodah Zarah 28a and 29a).

And Rabbi said about two things: "Antoninus taught me this thing" (Sanhedrin 91b) and many wise men of our nation bring in their books things written by the scholars of the nations, see for example the the text written in the introduction to the book Melamed Ha-Talmidim and in the book Minchah Belulah (Parashat Shoftim for the verse Vechover Chaver) and Kabbalists bring and copy things from books written by the sages of the nations as I will show you later in my reply about the book Tzel Olam.

And the value of this symbol in the eyes of practical Kabbalists is, in my opinion, because it has six-points. Because the number six is precious and very notable, as it is written at the end of the introduction to the book Tzemach David  by R. David Ganz [see there]. And making this symbol in synagogues (on the curtain and the Torah coats) is, in my opinion, for keeping the members entering the synagogues from any harm and particularly from witchcraft. And it is the custon of th nations to put it on  the cradles of small children. And that it is made only in synagogues and not in other houses is explained by the fact that they have no Mezuzah which is capable of protecting from evil. As is written in Talmud Yerushalmi (Peah Ch. A , Daf 5) "Send me one Mezuzah" etc. and in [Talmud]  Bavli Avodah Zarah 11a ""chazza Mezuzuah" etc. and also see there (and in Menachot 33b) "The Lord's slaves are inside and He protects them from the outside" etc. And know that according to the Rambam's Hilchot Tefillin u'Mezuzah (Ch. 5 Halacha 4) not the Mezuzah is the protector but the keeping of the law of the Mezuzah. (See there and in other places) and it fits his known opinion about amulets. 

* Jacob  Reifmann Footnote: "Every time I mention the name "David's Shield" I will refer to the text in the book Aḳedat YiẓḦaḳ (Binding of Isaac) ( Parashat Emor - the mitzvah of counting the Omer) that tells about Psalm 67 in the form of a menorah which was engraved on David's [peace be upon him] shield (see there) because it is hanging by a thread, and that the writing of this hymn was in the form of a menorah was a recent invention of the Kabbalists. Research my words carefully and you will find that they are correct".
** Jacob  Reifmann's next footnote concerns the Mezuzah subject and doesn't contribute to the  star of David subject so I don't bring it here.