Film possession is nine-tenths of the law, forcing the embarrassing confession that I was a millennial dybbuk. A dybbuk is the dislocated soul of someone who has died, which possesses a living body. In the 1975 satire “Love and Death”, Woody Allen visits Diane Keaton, who is with the fish seller, to whom she is betrothed. When Allen tries to kiss Keaton, the fish seller asks her, “Did you have to bring the dybbuk?”
During the reign of the Roman emperor Vespasian, the documented cases of possession included his son. The ancient historian Josephus was an eye witness to the treatment of the young boy, by the exorcist Eleazar. In preparation, Eleazar first washed his hands in a basin. Then he plunged a medicinal root into hot coals, removing it after it started to smoke. Eleazar commanded the devil to leave the boy, and waved the smoking root under his nostrils. When the young man inhaled, the devil flew out of him. Although the demon was invisible, it knocked over the wash basin, spilling water at the boy’s feet.
Knowledge of the Dybbuk has come down to our time from Jews in eastern European countries. The Dybbuk is the soul of a dead man, a wicked man, which enters the body of a living person and refuses to leave.
In the twentieth century in a small town in Poland, a Rabbi married his daughter to a student of the Torah. The newlywed wife wondered how they would eat, if her husband spent all his time studying. The husband said he could not be a businessman, and throw his Torah to the sea. The wife suggested they use the gold of her dowry to buy a store. She volunteered to work there all day long, except for two hours, when her husband would work at the store. The rest of the day he could study. To this he agreed.
Throughout the summer months, the woman kept to the schedule. Then two hours became four, and then six, and eight, and more. By the following year the man was fully engaged in business, with no time to open a book. On their first anniversary, the wife suffered choking fits, and could no longer speak. They traveled to the nearest city in search of an exorcist, and they found Rabbi Mendel. Mendel diagnosed that the wife was possessed by a Dybbuk.
He questioned the spirit inhabiting her form, “Who are you?’
It said it was a merchant, a man who had traveled to Africa by sea. He claimed he was corrupted by business partners, and among his many transgressions, he committed murder.
to Poland, a torrential storm sank his boat and he perished. Since then his tortured soul has roamed the Earth.
The rabbi then asked, “Why have you invaded this woman?”
The Dybbuk first laughed, and then it answered only, “She did this to herself.”
Rabbi Mendel suggested the husband should return to the Torah. The husband gave his pledge to do so. The rabbi gathered a total of ten men to perform the rite of exorcism, and put the woman on a chair in the middle of the room. She began to bleed from her left hand, but then her choking stopped. One of the window panes fractured, as the evil spirit departed and the woman was cured.
The modern world continues to be plagued by this phenomenon. In 2014 a Dybbuk was suspected at nuptials in the Hamptons. The night before the wedding, the groom attended a party with his friends. As if possessed, he started a fight in a bar, and was put in jail for three hours. The next morning everyone received text messages, instructing them not to tell the bride. But the girlfriend of one witness was a bridesmaid, so everyone knew the bride would learn of the incident.
They had agreed to write their own vows. The bride went first. The groom had not written anything down. So he said, “You were there when I behaved badly, you were there when I was sick, and when I got arrested on the night before our wedding”. The bride stared at him in disbelief. Nobody had told her.
THUMBNAIL CREDIT maxresdefault.jpg from Vegan Celery Episode 3 – Celerbration.mp4 by Those Damn Millennials, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKBylfK-CE8. The original work has been modified.
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