Says Rabbi Trachtenberg: "On Saturday evening, during the Habdalah ceremony which marks the beginning of the new week, another libation was offered to the spirits, as part of the ritual. Some of the wine was poured upon the ground 'as a good omen for the entire week to symbolize good fortune and blessing.'" Rabbi Trachtenberg then proceeds to de-emphasize that this had any religious significance, and states:
Moses Mat in the 16th Century wrote that this practice is intended to give their portion to the company of Korah, namely, to the powers of evil. And that portion was not inconsiderable. As one rabbi in Silesia remarked, If I had the wine that is poured upon the ground in Austria during Habdalah it would suffice to quench my thirst for a whole year! This custom of pouring out some wine over which a blessing has been recited, which appears again in the wedding ceremony, may have been considered by some people not as an offering to the spirits, but as a means of driving them off. (page 167, Jewish Magic and Superstition).
Just preceding this, Rabbi Trachtenberg covers various food offerings to demons such as leaving a loaf of bread and cup of wine "left standing overnight," which, to quote, is categorized: as 'setting a table for the demons.' Yet it continued to be done, sometimes with the frank admission that 'it extends fullness of blessing over the entire week.' During the Passover Seder a cup of wine is filled expressly for the Prophet Elijah, who is believed to visit every Jewish home on that occasion, and the door is opened for him to enter — this time the offering is to a good spirit, rather than an evil one. But during the same service, there is a late custom, which arose in German-Jewish circles, to pour out a drop of wine at the mention of each of the ten plagues, possibly to placate the evil spirits, who may be impelled by the reference to so many disasters to visit some of them upon the celebrants. Israel Isserlein's biographer wrote of him, 'He always spilled some of the water from his cup before drinking,' thus observing a universal Jewish custom going back to Talmudic times. The explanation then given was that the water might have been contaminated by a demon — but obviously merely spilling some of it doesn't purify it all. The intention was to induce the demon to neutralize the possible ill effect of the water by making him a libation." (same publication, pages 166-7)
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