My son since birth never has been peaceful. At around one year old he would stand on his crib while sleeping, fighting who knew what and crying and crying. I tried to calm him and soothe him. But that was always difficult. He would not see us, he would not know who we are. As he grew it kept going we slept with him most of our lives. Today. he is almost nineteen years old. He told me for years, 'Mommy, I can't sleep because the people (demons) in my room don't let me sleep. They scare me, and they attack me.' I thought it was his imagination. Now I start to believe my son has a big problem, and I don't know how to help him. We are observant Orthodox Jews. I want to seek help for my son, but I do not know what to do . Please help.

Thanks, Hanna

  • Hanna, Welcome to mi.yodeya, and I hope your son can be relieved of his affliction as soon as possible! We'd love to have you as a fully registered member, which you can accomplish by clicking "register," above. – Isaac Moses Nov 2 '10 at 19:54
  • Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/79050 – msh210 Jan 15 '17 at 10:43

You didn't mention whether he was ever evaluated by a competent medical professional -- that would be the first step. If that didn't help, the second step would be to go for a second opinion. Of course, whatever the cause of your son's distress, heartfelt prayer is certainly appropriate.

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Hanna, I am so sorry that both your son and you have had to go through this for so long. You must love your son very much. Some of the symptoms you have described sound like your son may have a disorder, many of which are treatable or manageable. Like Dave said, have your son seen by his primary care doctor for a referral to a psychiatrist. If you cannot afford one, visit your local Jewish Family Services to see if there is any way they can help you through their staff.

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Aside from the advice of seeking the help of a medical professional, the Kabbalist Rabbi Yehuda Patiya writes at great length on this subject, as well as the remedy in his popular sefer Minhat Yehuda Parshat Miketz letter 47. The Pshat of his remedy is to say Kriat Shema Al HaMita with the utmost kavvanah. He also gives another small prayer to banish spirits from the room. Which is to say טמא טמא ברח לך מכאן tamei tamei barakh lakh m'cahn three times. I once asked Rav Kaduri ZTz"L about this. He said that it needs to be said in the Hebrew. I also asked him why Rav Patyah brought it, if Kriat Shema works. He said that it is often hard for people to concentrate as is needed, and thus if one starts to have bad dreams, then one should resort to this.

If it is a spiritual problem, than that should fix it immediately. As it says in the sefer, once one tells the sheidim to leave, they have to leave. If this does not work immediately it should be assumed to be a medical/psychological issue, and as the others have stated medical advice should be sought. Even if this does resolve the immediate issue, it would still be good advice to seek out a good therapist. B"H in this day and age there are Orthodox Jewish therapists and psychiatrists so one need not worry over the issues that initially set much of the Torah world against psychology.

No "mekubal" will be able to do for you more than the advice I have given above. Any "mekubal" that requires monetary reimbursement for their services is simply not to be trusted. For a more comprehensive grasp on precisely what is valid, and what is not see Rabbi Yaakov Hillel's book Faith and Folly. A good portion of it can be read there online.

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    mekubal, the sefer you bring is talking about a person's disposition being affected by sheidim-induced dreams. This young man seems to be having hallucinations. – YDK Nov 2 '10 at 2:11
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    If you continue on you will find that he also covers that. Let me reiterate that I am not saying that he should not seek professional medical help. What I am saying is that if it is simply a spiritual issue, the remedy is found here. Also along that line, this is a fairly simple test to see if it is a spiritual issue, if the remedy given by the Rav doesn't work, one should assume that it is a medical issue. – Rabbi Michael Tzadok Nov 2 '10 at 6:04
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    It probably also bears mentioning that people in such kinds of unfortunate situations should be careful not to be taken advantage of by charlatans who promise to remove demons, ayin hara, etc., but in reality do nothing more than empty their victim's pockets. – Dave Nov 2 '10 at 13:24
  • mekubal, I think the only time he talks about shedim outside of dreams is by the "Jewish" shedim which, from his description of their MO, is not the issue here. – YDK Nov 2 '10 at 17:07
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    @Dave, edited the response to reflect that and provided adequate sourcing. – Rabbi Michael Tzadok Nov 3 '10 at 0:33

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