dybbuk

Seph. Heb. /dee boohk"/; Ashk. Heb., Eng. /dib"euhk/, n., pl. dybbuks, dybbukim Seph. Heb. /dee'booh keem"/; Ashk. Heb. /di book"im/. Jewish Folklore.
a demon, or the soul of a dead person, that enters the body of a living person and directs the person's conduct, exorcism being possible only by a religious ceremony.
Also, dibbuk.
[1900-05; < Yiddish dibek < Heb dibbuq, deriv. of dabhaq cleave (to); sp. dybbuk is a Pol transliteration of the Heb word]

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In Jewish folklore, a disembodied human spirit that must wander restlessly, burdened by former sins, until it inhabits the body of a living person.

Belief in such spirits was common in eastern Europe in the 16th–17th century. Individuals thought to be possessed by a dybbuk were taken to a baal shem, who would carry out a rite of exorcism. The mystic Isaac ben Solomon Luria helped promote belief in dybbukim with his doctrine of the transmigration of souls. The folklorist S. Ansky depicted such a spirit in his classic Yiddish drama The Dybbuk (с 1916).

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▪ Jewish folklore
also spelled  dibbuk , plural  dybbukim 

      in Jewish folklore, a disembodied human spirit that, because of former sins, wanders restlessly until it finds a haven in the body of a living person. Belief in such spirits was especially prevalent in 16th–17th-century eastern Europe. Often individuals suffering from nervous or mental disorders were taken to a miracle-working rabbi ( baʿal shem), who alone, it was believed, could expel the harmful dybbuk through a religious rite of exorcism.

      Isaac Luria (1534–72), a mystic, laid the grounds for Jewish belief in a dybbuk with his doctrine of transmigration of souls (gilgul), which he saw as a means whereby souls could continue their task of self-perfection. His disciples went one step further with the notion of possession by a dybbuk. The Jewish scholar and folklorist S. Ansky contributed to worldwide interest in the dybbuk when his Yiddish drama Der Dybbuk (c. 1916) was translated into several languages.

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