When my wife and I had our twin baby boys circumcised in our home last year, the Hasidic rabbi who performed the bris left us with a surprising parting gift: an amulet for protection against demons. It was a laminated card printed with Hebrew texts including imprecations against Lilith, a female demon of the night. Alluded to in the Hebrew Bible and the Talmud, she seduces men to sin and kills infants in their sleep. When I queried the rabbi about this, especially about some esoteric and incantation-like phrases on the card that I couldn’t decipher, he gracefully dodged, referring me to unspecified kabbalistic secrets.
Though amused by the curious souvenir, I was also glad to have it. I hung the card above our babies’ crib.