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Amuletic  Shiviti  Manuscript  [75.

99]:  ["Alef"  or  Birth  Certificate  Amulet]  (Greece  or 


Egypt, 1871) 

 
Description 

Rectangular sheet alef amulet with magenta and yellow design and text, black ink birth 
name and date information at lower right corner; text border with scriptural texts; two 
rows of circlets at top with amulet texts, center text band with Hear O Israel prayer and 
passages with Jacob's blessing of Joseph's sons; Psalm sixty-seven in menorah 
configuration in lower half flanked by lists of patriarchs and matriarchs and additional 
circlets; birth information at lower right edge and bottom edge for Elia Yoseph, born 5 
Heshvan 5632 = October 20, 1871. 

“​Alef ​amulets” are birth amulets created for newborn boys in the Romaniote communities, 
which originate from the Byzantine Empire (Greece and Asia Minor). They include mystical 
and magical formulae, and angelic invocations to ward off the demonic Lilith who is 
identified as Adam’s first wife and is believed to seduce men and kill male infants. The ​“alef” 
includes the following: the priestly blessing (​birqat ha-kohanim​) Song of Songs (​shir 
ha-shirim)​, Psalms 20, 34, 36, 67, 91 and 127, names of the protective angels, Sanoi, 
Sansanoi, and Semangalaf, names of the Archangels, Michael, Gavriel, Nuriel, Raphael, and 
Uriel, Biblical texts from Genesis and Deuteronomy, reference to forefathers and mothers, 
and Elijah the Prophet. The amulet includes the child’s father’s name, Elia Yosef, and his 
date of birth, 5 Heshvan [5]632 (20 October 1871).  

Text(s) 

1. Blessing  

[‫ב"ה ]בעזרת השם‬

Be"ha [be’ezrat hashem]

2. P
​ riestly Blessing (​birkat kohanim​), from Numbers 6:23-27 
‫​יברכך יי וישמרך יאר יי פניו אליך ויחנך ישא יי פניו אליך וישם לך שלום‬

yevarekhekha yy[adonay] ve-yishmerekha yaer yy[adonay] panav eleikha ve-yichunekha yisa


yy[adonay] panav eleikha ve-yasem lekha shalom…

“May the lord bless you and keep you 


May the lord make his face to shine upon you,  
and be gracious to you 
May the lord lift up his countenance upon you,  
and grant you peace.”

3. S
​ ong of Songs 3:7-8 
‫הנה מטתו של שלמה ששים גבורים סביב לה מגבורי ישראל כלם אחזי חרב מלמדי מלחמה איש חרבו על ירכו‬
‫מפחד בלילות‬

hineh matato shel shlomoh shishim giborim saviv la migiborey israel kulam ochzey cherev
melumadey milchamah eish harbo ‘al yercho mefached ba-leylot

“Behold, it is the litter of Solomon; threescore mighty men are about it, of the mighty men 
of Israel.They all handle the sword, and are expert in war; every man hath his sword upon 
his thigh, because of dread in the night.” 

4. P
​ salms 34:8 
‫חנה מלאך יי סביב ליראיו ויחלצם‬
Hana malach yy[adonay] saviv le’yirav va-yechaltzam

“The angel of the lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them.” 

5. Introducing the father of the newborn 


‫כי מלאכיו יצוה לך לשמר הילד הזה שנולד לה"ר ]הרב[ אלייא יוסף היו ביום שבת קודש‬

Ki malachav yetzavu lecha leshmor et hayeled hazeh sh-enolad lehar [harav] elya yosef hayo
be-yom shabbat kodesh

6. Date 5
​ Cheshvan [5]632 (20 October 1871) 
‫ה' לחדש חשון שנת התרל"ב ליצרה הוריו ישמחו בו לעולמים אמן כן יהי רצון‬

H’ lechodesh cheshvan shnat hatarlab leyotzra horav yismechu bo le’olamim amen ken yehi
ratzon

5th of the Cheshvan month [in the] year [5]632, his parents rejoice in this forever, amen, may it
be Your will

7. Protecting angels against Lilith 


Angels protecting against lilith:​Arch-angels (missing Nuriel), and lesser angels, including 
Sanoy, Sansanoy, and Semangalof (‫(סנוי סנסנוי סמנגלף‬to protect children/babies); and "Adam 
and Eve exit Lilith 

‫סנוי סנסנוי סמנגלף‬


sanoy sansanoy semangalof

8. Eliyahu the prophet, remember him for good 

‫אליהו הנביא זכור לטוב‬

Eliyahu hanavi zachur letov

9. P
​ salms 20:10  

[‫ק ְר ֵאנוּ‬-‫יוֹם‬
ָ ‫יב"ק ]יַ ֲענֵנוּ ְב‬

Y’bak [ya’anenu beyom koranu]

12a. Biblical text​ Genesis 49:18 


[‫ִיתי יְהוָה‬ ְ ‫לק"י ]​ ​ ִלישׁוּ ָע‬
ִ ‫ ִקוּ‬,‫ת ָך‬
L’ki [leyeshuatcha kivyti yhvh] 
“I wait for Thy salvation, O God” 

11. A
​ cronymic permutations of Psalms 91:1  

 ‫ביע‬

‫ִתלוֹנָן‬ ַ ‫ ְבּ ֵס ֶתר ֶע ְליוֹן; ְבּ ֵצל‬,‫יֹ ֵשׁב‬


ְ ‫ י‬,‫שׁ ַדּי‬

Yoshev baseter elyion be-tzel shadai yitlonen 

“​O thou that dwellest in the covert of the Most High and abidest in the shadow of the 
Almighty”

12. P​salms 91:11 (amuletic purpose- a call for help) 

  [‫ָכי ָך‬
ֶ‫דּר‬-‫ל‬
ְ ‫ ְבּ ָכ‬,‫ִשׁ ָמ ְר ָך‬ ְ ‫לּ‬-‫ יְ ַצוֶּה‬,‫כמיל ]​ ִכּי ַמ ְלאָ ָכיו‬
ְ ‫ָך; ל‬

Kamil [ky malachav yetzaveh lach leshomrecha be-chol darkecha] 

“For He will give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways” 

13. A
​ cronymic permutation of Genesis 49:18 

[‫ת ָך‬ ִ ‫קיל ​] ִ​קוּ‬


ְ ‫ יְהוָה ִלישׁוּ ָע‬,‫ִיתי‬
Kil [Leyeshuatecha qiviti yhvh​]

“I wait for Thy salvation, O God”


14. Names of guardian angels  

[​‫ נוריאל‬,‫ מיכאל‬,‫ גבריאל‬,‫ רפאל‬,‫ארגמן ]​אוריאל‬

Argaman [uryel, rafael, gavriel, mychael, nuryel]

15. Deuteronomy 6:4  


‫שמע ישראל יי אלהינו יי אחד‬
Shma israel yy[adonay] eloheynu yy[adonay] echad

Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD is one 

16. A
​ cronymic blessing for the Shema prayer 

[​‫שכמלו ]​שם כבוד מלכותו לעולם ועד‬

Shekmelo [shem kavod malchuto leolam vaed]

Blessed be the name of the glory of His kingdom forever and ever 

17. D
​ euteronomy 6:5-9 (first paragraph of the shema prayer) 
‫ואהבת את יי אלהיך בכל לבבך ובכל נפשך‬
‫ובכל מאדך והיו הדברים האלה אשר אנכי מצוך היום על לבבך ושננתם לבניך ודברת‬
‫בם בשבתך בביתך ובלכתך בדרך ובשכבך ובקומך וקשרתם לאות על ידיך והיו לטטפה‬
‫בין עיניך וכתבתם על מזזות ביתך ובשעריך‬
 
Ve-ahavta et yy[adonay] eloheicha bekol levavcha ve-bekol nafshecha ve-bekol meodcha ve-hayu 
ha-dvarym ha-eleh asher anochy metzavecha hayom al levavcha ve-shinantam le-baneycha 
ve-dibarta bam beshevtecha bebeytcha ve-belechtecha baderech ve-beshochvecha ve-bequmcha 
ve-qashartam le-ot ‘al yadicha ve-hayo le-totefa beyin eyneycha ve-katavtam al mezuzot 
beytecha ve-besha’areycha 
  
And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all 
thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be upon thy heart;and 
thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest 
in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou 
risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thy hand, and they shall be for frontlets 
between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the door-posts of thy house, and 
upon thy gates. 
18. Genesis 48:16  
‫המלאך הגואל אותי מכל רע יברך את הנערים‬
‫ויקרא בהם שמי ושם אבתי אברהם ויצחק וידנו לרב בקרב הארץ‬

Hamalach hagoel oti mikol r’a yevarech et hane’arim


Vayiqara bahem shmi ve-shem avotay avraham ve-yitzhak ve-yidgu larov beqerev ha-aretz

“the angel who hath redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named 
in them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a 
multitude in the midst of the earth.” 

19. G
​ enesis 48:20/ prelude to the blessing for children 
‫ההוא לאמור בך יברך ישראל לאמר‬/‫ויברכם ביום‬

Va-yevarcham bayom ha-hu leemor bach yevarech israel leemor

“And he blessed them that day, saying: 'By thee shall Israel bless, saying…” 

20. F
​ orefathers and foremothers 
‫אדם וחוה‬
‫אברהם ושרה‬
‫יצחק ורבקה‬
‫יעקב רחל ולאה‬
 ‫משה וצפרה‬
Adam ve-chava 
Avraham ve-sarah 
Yitzhak ve-rivqa 
Yaaqov rachel ve-leah 
Moshe ve-tziporah 
 
Adam and Eve / Abraham and Sarah / Isaac and Rebecca / Jacob, Rachel, and Leah / Moses 
and Tzipora 

21. P
​ salm 67:1 
‫למנ צחב נגי נו תמז מור שיר‬
Lamenatzeach begynot mizmor shyr 
 
“For the Leader; with string-music. A Psalm, a Song.” 

22. P
​ salm 67 (backwards) 
‫יברכנו אלהים וייראו אותו כל אפסי ארץ‬
‫ארץ נתנה יבולה יברכנו אלהים אלהינו‬
‫יודוך עמים אלהים יודוך עמים כלם‬
‫ישמחו וירננו לאמים כי תשפט עמים מישר ולאמים‬
‫יודוך עמים אלהים יודוך עמים כלם‬
‫לדעת בארץ דרכך בכל גוים ישעותך‬
‫אלהים יחננו ויברכנו יאר פניו אתנו סלה‬

Yevarchenu elohim ve-yiru oto kol afsey eretz 


Eretz natnah yevulah yevarkhunu elohim eloheynu 
Yodukha ‘amim elohim yodukha ‘amim kulam 
Ysmechu ve-yeranenu leomim ki tishpot ‘amim mishor ve-leomim 
Yodukha ‘amim elohim yodukha ‘amim kulam 
Lada’at baartez darkekha bekol goyim yeshu’atcha 
Elohim yechanenu ve-yevarchenu yaer panav itanu selah 
 
May God bless us; and let all the ends of the earth fear Him. 
The earth hath yielded her increase; may God, our own God, bless us. 
Let the peoples give thanks unto Thee, O God; let the peoples give thanks unto Thee, all of 
them. 
O let the nations be glad and sing for joy;  
for Thou wilt judge the peoples with equity, and lead the nations upon earth.  
Selah 
Let the peoples give thanks unto Thee, O God; let the peoples give thanks unto Thee, all of 
them. 
That Thy way may be known upon earth, Thy salvation among all nations. 
God be gracious unto us, and bless us; may He cause His face to shine toward us; Selah 
 

23. Psalms 36:10 


‫כי עמך מקור חיים באורך נראה אור‬
Ki ‘amcha maqor chayyim be-orkha nireh or

“​For with Thee is the fountain of life; in Thy light do we see light.” 
 
24. Psalms 67:5 
‫בארץ תנחם סלה‬
Baaretz tenachem selah 
 
“​ ...lead the nations upon earth. Selah” 

25. A
​ cronymic permutations of Psalms 91:1  
‫י ב‬ ‫יע‬
‫ב‬ ‫ע‬ ‫ב ש‬
‫ש י‬ ‫ב י‬
‫ִתלוֹנָן‬ ַ ‫ ְבּ ֵס ֶתר ֶע ְליוֹן; ְבּ ֵצל‬,‫יֹ ֵשׁב‬
ְ ‫ י‬,‫שׁ ַדּי‬

Yoshev beseter eliyon betzel shadai yitlonan

“O thou that dwellest in the covert of the Most High and abidest in the shadow of the 
Almighty”  

26. P
​ salms 127:3  
‫הנה נחלת יי בנים‬
‫שכר פרי הבטן‬
Hineh nachalat yy[adonay] banim 
Sachar pri habeten 

“Lo, children are a heritage of the LORD; the fruit of the womb is a reward” 
 
Links 
IDEA: ​http://magnesalm.org/notebook_ext.asp?item=1775&site=magnes  
Flickr: w
​ ww.flickr.com/photos/magnesmuseum/4712066956