Gleanings from the Talmud - Berachot 6a

Since I started the Daf Yomi cycle and am still avidly following the rigorous schedule, I decided to take notes of things I found in the Talmud that interest me. I will continue to name them all "Gleanings from the Talmud" - an appropriate name since the Talmud is broken in to 6 "seeds".

The first is an interesting commentary on demons and how to enable yourself to see them.  Note that demons do not appear to be so prevalently mentioned in either the Torah or the Palestinian Talmud.  This may be an influence of the Babylonian culture. This in itself becomes an interesting aside I will have to further investigate: Did the belief in demons, heaven, hell and other supernatural items original from the geographic dispersal of those who wrote the bible?

It was taught in a Baraisa: Abba Binyamin says: If the eye would be granted permission to see, no creature would be able to stand in face of the demons that surround it.

Abaye said: They are more numerous than us, and they stand about us like a ditch around a mound.

Rav Huna said: Each one has a thousand of them to his left and ten thousand to his right. Rava said: That feeling of being squeezed which is experienced at public lectures is due to them. Those knees that become tired are affected thus due to them. Those garments of the rabbinic students that wear out quickly are affected thus due to their rubbing. Those feet that are knocked are affected thus due to them.

If a person wants to be aware of their presence, let him take sifted ashes that have been reduced to a fine powder, and spread them around his bed before going to sleep. In the morning he will see marks in the layer of powder like the footprints of a rooster.

If a person wants to see them, let him bring a placenta of a female cat that is a black cat, the daughter of a black cat, and that is also a firstborn cat, the daughter of a firstborn cat. Let him burn the placenta in fire, fill his eye with some of the ground ash, and he will see them. He should place the remainder of the ash in an iron tube and seal it with an iron seal, lest the demons steal it from him. And he should close his mouth so that he will not be harmed.