Jewish ways to repel a vampire

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samw11

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Hoping to not cause offence... I am writing a vampire romantic fiction thing & wanted to make it different... I would like my vampire to be completely unconcerned by the usual crosses and christian holy water... I'd quite like for her to be crushed by Jewish symbolism... it seems unfair that that doesn't happen more often.

I remember something about there being a scroll that is supposed to be pinned to the front door of a Jewish household - is this true or has my memory made it up? I can't remember the name (I may have made the concept up) and googling Jewish Scroll was something of a disaster.

I was hoping that she would be unable to enter any house where this scroll wasn't pinned up - but if it's not common I will have to keep looking... also any other (better) suggestions would be hugely welcomed!

I did try googling 'Jewish Vampire' (that made for some interesting reading) but they seemed to think that the vampire would be Jewish - but I was unconcerned about the vampire's personal religion, just what will prevent her entering a house or attacking someone.
 

Parametric

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You could take a look at Cassandra Clare's City of Ashes and City of Glass, the latter two books in her Mortal Instruments character, featuring a vampire who is burned by Jewish symbols. I think they cut the Star of David into the bars of his cage.
 

Kitty Pryde

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The object you're thinking of is a Mezuzah, plural would be mezuzot. Googling it can fill you in on the topic. All Jews are commanded to have them on the doorframes to their houses, so most even slightly observant Jews do--and in big cities it's kinda common for the gentiles who live in the house or apartment next to leave them up because they look kind of neat or they appreciate the sacred objects of others or something.

Jews don't really have vampires, that I've ever heard of. Good luck with it though :D
 

Kathleen42

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You could take a look at Cassandra Clare's City of Ashes and City of Glass, the latter two books in her Mortal Instruments character, featuring a vampire who is burned by Jewish symbols. I think they cut the Star of David into the bars of his cage.

Also, in the UK version of Being Human, threatening vamps can be hurt by the Star of David George wears.
 
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Diana_Rajchel

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Also, in the UK version of being human, threatening vamps can be hurt by the Star of David George wears.

I was going to mention this! I think the US version had something similar, but I'm not positive. I believe in Laurel K. Hamilton's vampire series, any symbol of faith works for a sincere believer in that faith.
 

areteus

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There was a Mel Brooks film with a Jewish Vampire in it (can't remember the name...) and a scene where you have the typical cliche of the woman in a nightdress in bed with the Vampire approaching, she wakes up and brandishes a crucifix at him to which he responds in a very stereotypical Jewish voice 'Sorry, wrong vampire'. That scene has stuck in my mind for decades despite forgetting everything else about the film including the title (and I am not even sure it was Mel Brooks... but he was the only person I am aware of doing Jewish jokes in Hollywood at the time).

And yes, George in Being Human is Jewish and has a Star of David which repels vampires... Most things I have read on the topic consider it the faith of the person being attacked rather than the faith of the vampire which repels. In fact, in Dr Who 'The Curse of Fenric' the Haemovores are repelled by faith in anything (the Doctor has faith in himself, Ace has faith in the Doctor which is later destroyed, the local vicar doesn't have faith in god which is why he gets eaten...).

Though I beleive that in the original vampire story, Dracula, he is repelled by crosses only because they represent the church he disavowed upon becoming a vampire. I have always been amused at how many Vampire writer ever since seems to have taken this feature and wrote it into thier own creations (though some do so to deny it is true...)
 

Shakesbear

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There was a Mel Brooks film with a Jewish Vampire in it (can't remember the name...) and a scene where you have the typical cliche of the woman in a nightdress in bed with the Vampire approaching, she wakes up and brandishes a crucifix at him to which he responds in a very stereotypical Jewish voice 'Sorry, wrong vampire'. That scene has stuck in my mind for decades despite forgetting everything else about the film including the title (and I am not even sure it was Mel Brooks... but he was the only person I am aware of doing Jewish jokes in Hollywood at the time).

That was Roman Polanski' 1967 film the Fearless Vampire Killers/ Dance of the Vampires. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0061655/

The Jewish vampire was played by Alfie Bass and the line was "Oy vey, have you got the wrong vampire."


Though I beleive that in the original vampire story, Dracula, he is repelled by crosses only because they represent the church he disavowed upon becoming a vampire. I have always been amused at how many Vampire writer ever since seems to have taken this feature and wrote it into thier own creations (though some do so to deny it is true...)

There are other things that repel vampires - running water because it is pure, wild roses and lets not forget garlic. It all depends on whose book you read and which mythology you follow.

As to Jewish vampires - interesting! I don't think that a Star of David would stop a Jewish vampire but, in Hebrew it is Magen David which means Shield of David - or David's Shield. So you could use it as a defensive weapon. The holiest artefact in Judaism is the Torah Scroll. It is hand written and can take a scribe a year to write one. Even a small one with its' mantle would be a bulky object and they are usually ownly found in a Synagogue. The Mezzuzah, to be a proper Mezzuzah, contains a parchment with the first two paragraphs of the Shema written on it. The container can be made of wood or metal and can have on it God's name written on it. Some Jews carry a Mezzuzah as a talisman to ward off evil spirits. So I'd go for a Mezzuzah.

It occurs to me that a Jewish vampire may have problems feeding if they keep kosher!
 

areteus

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The Star of David was also referred to as 'the Seal of Solomon' because it was used by Solomon to trap demons. Not sure when the change happened historically but I have heard both used for the same symbol (unless it is two very subtly different symbols...). I think the seal of Solomon is used more in occult circles whereas the Star of David is the respectable equivilent.

Given the connection with Solomon above, it makes sense to me for it to be a general ward against evil (actually makes more sense than the crucifix...).

You can also include silver (some myths have it that the crucifix is not the important bit but the material it is made of - especially in a period where the majority of precious metals are used to make religious artifacts no matter how poor the region is - look at some churches in poor areas of Greece) and things like wood with mystical connections (again, the stake through the heart thing is sometimes interpreted as not so much the thing in the heart but the wood it is made of). I've always disliked the running water thing but it is a common one. Garlic - I always liked the idea of there being an allergic reaction to garlic but then I have always erred on the side of physiological reasons for things rather than purely mystical.

I suppose it depends on whether you decide if the faith is innate to the person doing the repelling, innate to the vampire or something external (such as a true power of god working through the person doing the repelling) or linked to the item itself. If it is purely faith based then it is whatever the person beleives in and if they were told 'only the Star of David will work' or 'Only a copy of the Torah read aloud at the Vampire will work' then that is what will work. If it is the true power of god then any religious icon of the appropriate religion would have an effect. If it is based on what the item is made of then a silver star of David may work but a pewter one won't... there is a lot of flexibility for a writer in there (even if a lot of these options have already been explored at length in other books).

And thanks for the film reference. That sounds right... :)
 

Shakesbear

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I've never heard of it as the Seal of Solomon - live and learn! Thanks.

Only a copy of the Torah read aloud

The vampire maybe would die of boredom first? And then again ... a Rabbi or a lay person would read it, a Cantor would sing it. I like the idea of a singing vampire hunter! Then again - would it work if the vampire was tone deaf?

On a more serious note ( not to say we haven't been serious) I've been doing some really boring work and thinking about the idea of Judaism and vampires. They are not, in my experience, part of Jewish folk lore. They may be part of an individual Jew's cultural heritage which would be distinct from the religion. I was wondering about this and it occurred to me that it might be to do with the Blood Libel. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_libel
 

areteus

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The vampire maybe would die of boredom first? And then again ... a Rabbi or a lay person would read it, a Cantor would sing it. I like the idea of a singing vampire hunter! Then again - would it work if the vampire was tone deaf?

Boredom... maybe :) There is an amusing scene in Being Human where George runs to grab the hospital chaplin and shouts at him to say some thing religious at the Vampires who are coming down the corridor and the man looks confused... very nicely done.

The point I was making is linked to 'what is the underlying reason why this method works?' and I think anyone who is writing about vampires needs to establish this for all the methods known about. Everyone knows a lot about vampires but only the writer knows (and hopefully the characters and therefore readers will find out) the truth about which of the many methods actually have some substance... And I think it is almost essential in any vampire novel to address at least some of the myths in some way.
 

Shakesbear

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Boredom... maybe :) There is an amusing scene in Being Human where George runs to grab the hospital chaplin and shouts at him to say some thing religious at the Vampires who are coming down the corridor and the man looks confused... very nicely done.

I've never seen Being Human!

The point I was making is linked to 'what is the underlying reason why this method works?' and I think anyone who is writing about vampires needs to establish this for all the methods known about. Everyone knows a lot about vampires but only the writer knows (and hopefully the characters and therefore readers will find out) the truth about which of the many methods actually have some substance... And I think it is almost essential in any vampire novel to address at least some of the myths in some way.

I totally agree with you - there has to be an
underlying reason why this method works
which has to have some logic and be related to a religion. Which could be a paradox - religion and logic? There is so much myth and legend surrounding vampires and it is being re-written all the time. If there was an atheist what would stop him/her from going into a house? The Victorian and early stories (sweeping generalization coming up) were mainly Christian in the sense that Christian symbols and artefacts were used to combat the vampire. Garlic and some other natural things were also used. A lot of modern vampire stories have moved away from the religious side and vampires have become secular which is a reflection of society moving away from organized religion. My main memory of Buff the Vampire Slayer is that she carried a wooden stake to kill the creatures. I do not remember there being any overtly religious symbolism in the series. I cannot help but wonder if some of the symbolism will be totally lost on some readers and explaining it may take a huge info dump.
 

Kitty Pryde

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It occurs to me that a Jewish vampire may have problems feeding if they keep kosher!

Human beings are indeed not kosher! And even if they were, a vampire's method of dispatching them would certainly not be kosher. I'm guessing it would be hard to be an observant Jewish vampire. :roll:
 

Shakesbear

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Human beings are indeed not kosher! And even if they were, a vampire's method of dispatching them would certainly not be kosher. I'm guessing it would be hard to be an observant Jewish vampire. :roll:

LOL! Hard? I think it would be impossible to be an observant Jewish vampire.
 

areteus

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In the early series of Buffy, she wore a silver cross and there are several occasions where crosses are used to repel vampires - notably by the non-supernatural characters.

There is an underlying logic to religion. Even if you don't accept the existence of some form of supernatural being or deity, the people who wrote the scriptures had reasons for everything they wrote (many passages in Leviticus strike me as perfectly sensible precautions against disease in a desert environment and it is interesting to note that there are similarities in these and some of the Muslim rules - especially the restriction on pork which does have a tendency to be prone to contamination). And this logic can be applied to how the religion deals with vampires.

Being Human is well worth watching as it has some interesting ideas and compelling characters. I am referring to the UK version here, of course, as I have no idea what the US version is like.
 

Shakesbear

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In the early series of Buffy, she wore a silver cross and there are several occasions where crosses are used to repel vampires - notably by the non-supernatural characters.

I probably did not watch the early series.

There is an underlying logic to religion. Even if you don't accept the existence of some form of supernatural being or deity, the people who wrote the scriptures had reasons for everything they wrote (many passages in Leviticus strike me as perfectly sensible precautions against disease in a desert environment and it is interesting to note that there are similarities in these and some of the Muslim rules - especially the restriction on pork which does have a tendency to be prone to contamination). And this logic can be applied to how the religion deals with vampires.

I did not mean the written word of the religion having no logic, more the way it (the written word ) has been interpreted and applied over the centuries.


Being Human is well worth watching as it has some interesting ideas and compelling characters. I am referring to the UK version here, of course, as I have no idea what the US version is like.

Thanks - I might give it a try!
 

Kathleen42

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In fact, in Dr Who 'The Curse of Fenric' the Haemovores are repelled by faith in anything (the Doctor has faith in himself, Ace has faith in the Doctor which is later destroyed, the local vicar doesn't have faith in god which is why he gets eaten...).

Leading to one of the best Ace/Seven moments. Sorry. Off topic.

As for Being Human, I've only watched the first few eps of the US remake, but I'd go for the UK. The original just had a better grasp on being less a show about monsters and more a show about holding onto humanity.
 

amyashley

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I believe it is Patricia Briggs rather than LKH whose vampires can be repealed by any symbol of faith from any religion.

Her character, Mercy Thompson, goes to a non-denominational church but doesn't care for the standard symbol of a cross–instead she wears a lamb shaped charm on a necklace. Because her belief is strong, this is a sufficient protective spell. Any Jewish symbology worn by a believing Jew would alos be sufficient, but the KEY in this is faith. Without faith, no symbol provides any protection against vampires. The vampires belief is negligible.

Reading the descriptions of Briggs books should tell you which one to look for that contains this. One has much more to do with vampires than the rest.

In general, I'd think you could do whatever you wish, and it's a very valid approach. If I were you, I would study the religious side of it instead of the fantasy side. Looking at how other authors approach it will lead to a poor book in most cases. You get stuck in a boxed mindset. Instead, looking at the religious practice might spur some fabulous concepts.

Good luck.
 

areteus

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Leading to one of the best Ace/Seven moments. Sorry. Off topic.

Oh, absolutely... the sheer genius of the requirement to destroy a person's faith in him in order to complete a move in some trans-temporal game of chess is just amazing. Though I think he gets away with it too easily and glibly. If the series had continued I think it would have haunted the characters more (in fact in the novels it did...)

As for Being Human, I've only watched the first few eps of the US remake, but I'd go for the UK. The original just had a better grasp on being less a show about monsters and more a show about holding onto humanity.

I'm always wary of remakes whichever way it comes across the Atlantic... original is always best IME and I've yet to be proven wrong.

BTW, loving all the discussion about Vampires and Jewish culture in this thread. Having recently moved to a Jewish area and therefore being surrounded by a lot of the symbolism its really connecting with me at the moment.
 

samw11

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Wow - tonnes of ideas - thanks! The vampire won't be Jewish, so her diet isn't really an issue (well, except on dates) - just her non-vampire boyfriend will be Jewish - causing all manner of untold problems with their relationship...

I still like the idea of the mezzuzzah & the Star of David as a shield or the Seal of Solomon has untold potential... will definately be using some of this!
 

Kitty Pryde

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Her boyfriend and/or his parents might need her to convert if they plan to get married! Just sayin...
 

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