Contributed by Rabbi Geoffrey W. Dennis

The doubling of anything is a source of bad luck. According to the Talmud,1 activities done twice in a row or in pairs, such as eating, drinking, or copulation, invites the attention of evil spirits once the person leaves his or her home. Thus one should neither celebrate a double joy (like two weddings), or perform the same onerous act twice, such as a judge passing the same sentence, all on the same day. Even drinking from two cups, one after the other, invites ill luck or the evil eye.2 The Book of the Great Name warns the adept not to look in the face of a twin for forty days after reading the book.

Asmodeus is the demon who has power over this vulnerability. The Talmud passages explain how to mitigate this: by crossing thumbs in the palms of the opposing hands and reciting "You and I; that is three!"

Article copyright © 2004 Geoffrey Dennis.