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When Miriam showed an interest in Judah’s practice of alchemy, he invited her into his living quarters at the back of his shop where she was struck by its astringent cleanliness and Spartan simplicity:


Attached to the lower shelf were several hooks on which he hung his himation, a leather apron, a tunic of plain bleached linen for Shabbat and the holy days, a pair of low boots buckled together, a scroll of the Septuagint in an embroidered silk case, and a silver chain with an amulet of a bird in flight.

I was drawn to the amulet.

He followed the sweep of my gaze. “My mother gave me that shortly before she died to remind me of how she’d taught me to live, unencumbered and free of conventions, prejudices, and clutter. Instead she encouraged me to respect who I am and what I’ve earned, to value economy and simplicity, and to make commitments sparingly.”


An amulet is an object believed to confer protection upon its possessor. The word "amulet" comes from the Latin word amuletum, which Pliny’s Natural History describes as “an object that protects a person from trouble”. Anything can function as an amulet; items commonly used include statues, coins, drawings, plant parts, animal parts, and written words and could be made of stone, metal, bone, wood, or gold.


In ancient times, with no distinction between magic and medicine, amulets were among the oldest remedies, especially for snakebites and rabies. Like an amulet, a Miriam bat Isaac mystery will you protect you against boredom and loneliness. To choose one, click here.


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