chapter  X
8 Pages

CUSTOMS AND PRACTICES

The four Tekufoth are: In the month of Nisan at the vernal equinox; in the month of Tammuz at the summer solstice; in the month of Tishri at the autumnal equinox; and in the month of Tebeth at the winter solstice. The folk attributed the belief and practice to all sorts of reasons. In the month of Nisan all the waters in Egypt were turned into blood; in Tammuz God commanded Moses to speak to the stone, but he struck it and all the waters were cursed. In the month of Tishri the Patriarch Abraham was ready to sacrifice his son Isaac and a drop of blood fell from heaven mixing with the waters in all the oceans of the world. In the month of Tebeth a drop of the blood of the daughter of J ephtha mixed with all the waters on earth. These four drops of blood are always

floating upon the water at the periods of equinox and solstice. Besides, the angels who are keeping watch over the waters of the world change guard at the time of the Tekufoth and the waters remain for a certain moment unguarded. (Am Urquell, Vol. V, p. 228.)

The belief gained such currency among the Jews that the Gaon Hai condemned it as a stupid superstition, whilst Ibn Ezra called it' old women's gossip' (Sichot Hazkenot). In vain did the enlightened religious authorities make efforts to eradicate this belief wherein they rightly saw a survival of paganism -and indeed, it can easily be shown that the belief is connected with the Greek cult of Adonis-which had spread in Palestine and left its traces in the Folklore of Eastern and Western nations alike.