The Possession, The Dybbuk, The Unborn, and Demon are just a few of the movies that depict Dybbuk. According to European Jewish folklore and Kabbalah, a Dybbuk is a spirit of the dead that attaches itself to a living person. The world itself is derived from Hebrew and means attachment. Adherents to Kabbalah believe that a person unable to fulfill their purpose in life has the opportunity to become a Dybbuk.

What Is A Dybbuk?

A Dybbuk is a dead person’s spirit that seeks out people who experience similar circumstances or challenges and attaches to that person’s body.

Jews believe that Dybbuks escape from the Jewish purgatory, the Gehenna, or are turned away from the Gehenna due to serious transgressions. On the other hand, a good spirit might be able to possess a person. However, it would leave once its goal has been accomplished. As for the Dybbuk, it is evil in nature and does not leave the body that easily.
Although Jewish tradition involving good and evil spirits dates back to ancient times, in Jewish culture, Dybbuks became widespread in the sixteenth century. S. Ansky, a Jewish playwright, even wrote the Yiddish play, The Dybbuk in 1914. The story tells a tale of a young bride who becomes possessed by a Dybbuk during her wedding night. A ballet was composed by Leonard Bernstein based on the play by S. Ansky. Even though the belief in Dybbuks has reduced over the years, a few Jewish communities still believe that Dybbuks exist. Some rabbis can also help free individuals.

Ancient Background

The Old Testament does not tell many stories of evil spirits. However, the story of King Saul is famous, wherein he was possessed by an evil spirit after losing support from God. Samuel mentioned that David would play the harp and relieve Saul whenever the evil spirit came to Saul. The evil spirit would abandon his body. Jesus of Nazareth is known for being a powerful healer who helped reduce people of evil spirits.

Talmudic and Kabbalistic Tradition

The best defense against evil spirits and demons is the observance of the Law. Jews would wear amulets for protection. The posting of a mezuzah at the door also helped protect against evil spirits and the reading of certain prayers like the Shema. Talmudic and kabbalistic traditions affirm the presence of good and evil spirits. It has been mentioned in the Talmud that the wicked are accompanied by Satan and the righteous by the angels. Only through observance of the Law is it possible to seek protection. Those engaged in sacred work are said to fear no evil power. In fact, priests can bless individuals and protect them against malign forces. Jewish Law accepted demons as a fact. The demon Puta, also known as the Prince of Forgetfulness, can be overcome by drinking a cup of the Sabbath wine.
To avert evil spirits, many prayers and rites were introduced. In the Kabbalah, various formulas were prescribed to deal with the actions of the dying person and impure thoughts. Amulets, prayers, and incantations offer protection. Women used to be banned from the cemetery as demons may get attracted to them and desire a sexual connection. The Shofar was blown at funerals for warding off evil spirits.

Eastern Europe

When we talk about the Dybbuk, the belief in the Dybbuk became widespread in much of Eastern Europe, where Jews lived. The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries saw an increase in the reporting of the Dybbuks. Incantations were used for warding off the Dybbuk. Isaac Luria was a Kabbalist who popularized different methods for setting balance. The Dybbuk is not the same thing as a demon. It is neither a fallen angel. Baal Shem Tov produced amulets to protect against Dybbuks. Only good spirits can act as a spiritual guide.
Dybukks are evil, and they pursue negative inclinations for causing harm to the host and leading them to commit sins. Their main purpose is to ensure that the living person commits the same sins as them during their lifetime. To be tormented by a Dybbuk, the spirit, and the body must not be fully connected. This is possible when mind-altering drugs are used or when one suffers from severe depression. Dybbuks that died alone would return to make others more miserable. For instance, if the spirit belonged to a heavy drinker, it would tempt the host to become a habitual drunkard. Generally, Dybbuks attach themselves to gain satisfaction for the injustices they have experienced.


A miracle-working rabbi can help expel even the evilest Dybbuk through exorcism in Hasidic tradition. But nine Jews and a rabbi are typically required for the exorcism of a Dybbuk. The ceremony does not involve overpowering the Dybbuk. It simply shocks it and dialogs with it to leave. The group recites the protective verses of Psalm 91 as they surround the possessed individual. Then, the rabbi blows the Shofar to shock the Dybbuk and cause it to break free from the living person. After this, the rabbi dialogues with the Dybbuk to discover its main purpose. Finally, the group would heal through prayer and dialogue to free the person. However, the legitimate needs of the Dybbuk may also need to be satisfied before it decides to leave the body.

Hasidic Jews continue to believe in Dybbuk possessions and perform exorcisms. Anyone seeking help can turn to the community to get their desired help. They will take you to the chief rabbi who can help you or your loved one. But you will need to ensure you are ready for the ceremony. Otherwise, it can feel overwhelming, and you might be unable to break free from the Dybbuk, which will only continue penetrating your body.