Avoiding Danger During the Three Weeks
The Midrash Shoher Tob (Tehillim 91) speaks about a dangerous “demon” called “Keteb Meriri” that is covered with scales and hair, has eyeballs all over its body, and sees from the eye situated on its chest. It generally resides in areas that are partly sunny and partly shady, and moves by rolling like a ball. Anyone who comes near this demon, the Midrash comments, exposes himself to great danger. The Midrash in fact relates that there were schoolchildren who suffered harm as a result of “Keteb Meriri.” It is specifically during the three weeks of between Shiba Asar Be’Tamuz and Tisha B’Ab, the Midrash teaches, that this harmful spirit surfaces and poses danger.
It is very uncharacteristic for the Shulhan Aruch, which was written as a strictly Halachic code, to include Kabbalistic concepts in presenting Halachic guidelines. Yet, the Shulhan Aruch indeed writes that during the three weeks one should not go outdoors to partially shady areas between the fourth and ninth hours (referring to Halachic hours) of the day, when this demon is most threatening. He adds that during this period, parents should make a point not to hit their children, and teachers should likewise refrain from smacking students, in order to avoid risks. The Midrash tells the story of Rabbi Abahu who saw a teacher with a branch ready to hit an unruly student. Rabbi Abahu sharply condemned the teacher, noting that “Keteb Meriri” was standing right behind him with an iron rod, ready to strike. This story shows the dangers of administering any type of corporal punishment during this period, when we are exposed to the dangers of “Keteb Meriri.”
The Aruch Ha’shulhan (work by Rabbi Yehiel Michel Epstein, Byelorussia, 1829-1908) cites authorities who limit this Halacha to uninhabited areas, such as forests and the like. Inside a city, however, the presence of many people, as well as the presence of Mezuzot on the doorposts, offers a degree of protection from this harmful spirit. On one level, this restriction essentially renders this Halacha practically irrelevant nowadays, when we usually spend our time in towns, cities and other inhabited areas. Nevertheless, this Halacha demonstrates the importance of avoiding danger during this three-week period and keeping a “low profile,” as this period is particularly suited for mishaps and calamity, Heaven forbid. It is therefore advisable to remain in safe, secure quarters during the three weeks, especially between the fourth and ninth hours of the day.
Summary: It is advisable to avoid desolate, outdoor areas between the fourth and ninth hours of the day (as defined by Halacha) during the three weeks between Shiba Asar Be’Tamuz and Tisha B’Ab. More generally, it is proper to avoid all dangerous situations during this period, which is a particularly inauspicious time for the Jewish people.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
I am taking the liberty of quoting from the daily halacha (daily Jewish law program) which has an interesting article about the dangers of a 'demon' (alien) or 'Shaid' in Hebrew. Thanks David for forwarding this to me. According to many UFO researchers there are many races of aliens that could be visiting the earth (or could be from a different dimension). The the article is pretty clear that during this period in the Jewish calendar, a time of mourning for Jews, one should take care to avoid a many eyed hairy being called Keteb Meriri, who sees from an eye situated on the chest. The Temple was destroyed on the 9th of the Hebrew month of AV - which takes place tomorrow. The three weeks prior are also considered a time of mourning and may be inauspicious for Jews. As this article mentions it is very unusual for Jewish Law to quote a law that is based on a kabbalistic concept (The kabbalah deals with Jewish Mysticism but it's rare to find such mystical concepts being brought into halacha). Also see my post on UFO's and the connection to the Talmud here