shedim
   In Hebrew demonology, evil spirits created by the union of a succubus or Lil it h and a man. The shedim are a man’s “demonic children.” When a man dies, they go to the grave to weep. Tradition called for a man’s legitimate offspring to stay away from the graveside at burial in order to avoid dangers from the shedim. A 17th-century account of beliefs of German Jews describes them:
   They [Jews] firmly believe that if a man’s seed escapes him, it gives rise, with the help of mahlath [a female demon] and Lilith, to evil spirits, which however die when the time comes. When a man dies and his children begin to weep and lament, these shedim, or evil spirits, come too, wishing, along with the other children, to have their part in the deceased as their father; they tug and pluck at him, so that he feels the pain, and God himself, when He sees this noxious offspring by the corpse, is reminded of the dead man’s sins.
   One custom called for 10 men to dance in a circle around a man’s body seven times before it was lowered into the grave, reciting the 91st Psalm or other prayers to ward off the shedim. Then a stone was laid on the bier while Genesis 25:6 was recited: “But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away.”
   In later lore, the shedim were hairy, wild DEMONs who lived in the woods and danced. They were known for their tricks, such as leaving human beings with grotesque deformities if they were displeased.
   The shedim are ruled by ASMODEUS.
   See shaytan.
   FURTHER READING:
   - Davies, T. Witton. Magic, Divination and Demonology among the Hebrews and Their Neighbors. First published 1898.
   - Mack, Carol K., and Dinah Mack. A Field Guide to Demons: Fairies, Fallen Angels, and Other Subversive Spirits. New York: Owl Books/Henry Holt, 1998.
   - Scholem, Gershom G. On the Kabbalah and Its Symbolism. New York: Schocken Books, 1965.

Encyclopedia of Demons and Demonology. . 2009.

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