An Amulet, Is It or Isn’t It?

An amulet collection spanning 8,000 years is up for auction in Tel Aviv this Tuesday at Ben-Ami Endres Auctions, brought to you by collector Lenny Wolfe. If you’re in the market, the artifacts range in price from $25 to $5,000.

An amulet collection spanning 8,000 years

The throat bone of a wolf that was used in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to protect its owner against the dangers of a cough will be one of 350 amulets, charms, and talismans going on the block. No doubt there will be quite a few other amazing wonders.

Well, what is an amulet anyway?

An amulet, according to the dictionary, can be any object, but its most important characteristic is its alleged power to protect its owner from danger or harm. Gems, statues, coins, drawings, pendants, rings, plants, animals, incantations, etc. would qualify.

Mr. Wolfe was asked if mezuzahs would be considered amulets.  He answered, “Some say yes because the mezuzot are for protection, but some say no, because as soon as it’s part of the official, established religion, like tefillin, it can’t be an amulet.” Amulets belong to folk religion.”

So, how would you weigh in?