All You Ever Wanted to Know about Lilith!
by Judy Weinberg
(from the premier issue of LILITH Magazine, Fall 1976)
If we were able to trust all the rabbinic and kabbalistic sources available
to us concerning Eve's alleged predecessor, Lilith, we would be forced to
believe that she is a "fiery female spirit" who, although frigid,
passionately seduces men in their sleep, and who, although sterile and
childless, kills one hundred of her demon children daily. Dozens of
conflicting Lilith traditions exist. If we are to discover and establish a
meaningful image of Lilith, these different traditions must be
disentangled strand by strand. While this entire task is not possible
within the limited scope of this brief overview, we can begin it.
The first available version of the Creation story which associates the
name Lilith with a "first Eve" is included in the Alphabet of Ben‑Sira , a
work probably written sometime in the Gaonic period (600‑1000 C.E.).
This account merges into two separate and distinct traditions‑that of the
Lilith of the Talmud and that of the "first Eve" of the midrash (legends).
Lilith in the Talmud: The personality called "Lilith" in the Talmud shows
no connection with Adam at all. From the four specific references to
Lilith in the Babylonian Talmud, we learn only that she is a wild‑haired
and winged creature with nymphomaniac tendencies (Erubin 100b,
Niddah 24b, Shabbat 151b); and the mother of demons (Bava Batra 73a ).
Such a characterization of Lilith may have been drawn from the single
Biblical mention of "lilith" (Isaiah 34:14):
The wild creatures of the desert shall meet with the jackals ,
the goat demon shall call to his fellow, the lilith shall also
repose there and find for herself a place of rest.
Commentators have often translated "lilith" as "night‑monster,"
associating the name with layil, the Hebrew word for night; thus, Rabbi
Hanina forbids men to sleep alone in a house at night lest they fall prey
to her (Shabbat 151b). (The Akadian "lilitu," a female spirit wind, is
probably a more accurate etymology, however.)
"First Eve": The midrash (legends) of Genesis Rabbah discusses a "first
Eve" but does not mention Lilith. According to Rabbi Hiya, she "returned
to dust" (22:7). Judah, son of Rabbi Hiya, states that in the beginning
God created Eve for Adam, but when Adam saw her being made with
sinews and blood, he grew disgusted and became alienated from her.
Thereupon God caused this first Eve to return to nothingness and
proceeded to create a second Eve for Adam (18.4).
Two separate and distinct beings‑Lilith of the Talmud and Eve 1 of the
midrash‑came together into one, to become Lilith, Adam's first mate. We
can see this process of integration in the Alphabet itself. In the beginning
of this account, Lilith is characterized as a woman (ishah). By the end of
the story, however, her children are called demons (sheydim) and she
herself has powers that can only be warded off by the mystical means of
an amulet. Thus, having equated his protagonist with Lilith of the
Talmud, the author was forced to assign her the characteristics
attributed to her by that work.
Lilith in Kabbala: The various and often contradictory accounts found in
subsequent kabbalistic literature of different periods seem to interweave
the scant references of earlier Jewish sources with later myths culled
from outside influences. Lilith's image depicted in medieval kabbalist
literature is complex and evil.
Let us first examine the kabbalistic myths of Lilith's creation. The
Alphabet account is the only version of the story in which Lilith is an
independent being, for she was created out of materials similar to
The Zohar (the central work of Jewish mysticism) develops a theory that
Adam originally comprised both male and female elements. This is based
on Talmudic and midrashic statements that "Adam, who was the first
man, had two full faces" (Brachot 61a, Erubin 18b). Rabbi Samuel ben
Nachman said: "When the Holy One, blessed be He, created the first man,
he created him as a hermaphrodite." Rabbi Levi said the same thing:
When man was created, he was created with two body fronts,
and He sawed him in two, so that two bodies resulted, one for
the male and one for the female (Lev. Rab. 14:1).
The Zohar picks up on this theme of Adam's bisexuality but now draws
the connection with Lilith:
The female was attached to the side of the male until God cast
him into a deep slumber... God then sawed her off from him
and adorned her like a bride and brought her to him, as it is
written, "And He took one of his sides and closed up the place
with flesh. " I have found it stated in an old book that the
word "one" here means "one woman" to wit the original Lilith,
who was with him and conceived from him. Up to that time,
however, she was not a help to him, as it is written, "but for
Adam there was not found a helpmeet for him." (134b).
Other references in the Zohar describe Lilith as a competitor to "the
female affixed to his side."(see III 19a, II 276b, I 19b).
Yalkut Re'uveni, a seventeenth‑ century collection, mostly of kabbalistic
legends, no longer allows the first woman equal origins with Adam, as
did the Alphabet of Ben Sira. A commentary on Gen. 2:21 states:
"In the beginning when the Holy One, blessed be He, created
[the first] Eve, he did not create her out of flesh, but rather of
the filth of the earth and the sediment." Adam, however, was
only made from the earth.
Kabbalistic tradition has numerous portrayals of Lilith as a demon, often
linking her to other such female spirits as Naamah, Machlah and Agrat.
In fact, Lilith is often confused with them. Yaalkut Re'uveni claims, for
instance, that both Lilith and Naamah had intercourse with Adam and
brought forth "plagues to the world." However, elsewhere the Zohar
identifies Naamah as "the mother of demons" while Lilith, it seems, only
functions as their governess:
Naamah "goes forth and makes sport with men and conceives
from them through their lustful dreams."...[The offspring] all go
to the ancient Lilith who brings them up. She goes out into
the world and seeks her little ones and when she sees little
children she cleaves to them in order to kill them and
insinuate herself into their spirits (Zohar III, 76b).
The implication from this and other sources is that Lilith has no children
of her own. On this point, Gershom Scholem cites Torat HaSheydim
(15th ‑16th century) which states that of the four demon queens, only
Lilith is unable to give birth; because she is frigid she blots the face of the
earth. These revelations are quite astonishing when one recalls all of the
literature on Lilith's children.
Lilith the Child Slayer: The tradition of Lilith as a slayer of children is
seen in the midrash in Numbers Rabbah: "...like Lilith, who, when she
can find no strange children, slays her own" (16:25). This Lilith seems to
resemble the Babylonian demon Labartu or Lamashtu, for the
child‑slayer image has no foundation in the Talmud and certainly no
connection with the first Eve. Since scholars differ widely as to the
dating of Numbers Rabbah, it is difficult to determine whether the
author of the Alphabet based his portrayal of Lilith as the evil spirit who
harms babies on this source, or whether both drew from a common
antecedent. In any case, the unity of the motifs of promiscuity and
child‑slaying does not occur until the time of the Zohar (see Zohar 119b).
Lilith's character, then, is a maze of contradictions, interweaving a
variety of legends and traditions. If we isolate all the strands of
demonology, separating the various interpolations of Lilitu, the wind
spirit; Labartu, the child‑slayer; Lamashtu, the Greek Lamia; Lilith, the
night ‑demon; we are left with the story of the first Eve, who may or
may not have claim to the name Lilith in the first place.
Stripped of the overlay of medieval mysticism and demonology this Lilith
emerges as an independent spirit. Had she succeeded in her battle with
Adam for equal rights, Lilith might today represent that spark of original
creativity in whose image women could retrace and recreate their
history. Instead history plunged her into the depths of demonhood. Only
in the twentieth century, which has no use for sheydim, may the Lilith,
who has been obscured by the mists of demonology these thousands of
years, be revealed today as the first woman on earth, equal to man and a
Nude Female Jesus
I have a great idea. Why not do a masterpiece with a couple of Jewish
Homo Rabbi's humping each other with dog tails and ears. And a big
sign over top saying the words
"Cultural similarities link ancient Land of Canaan to Jewville New York
Subject: Nude Female Jesus Photo Stirs Furor
Nude Female Jesus Photo Stirs Furor
By VERENA DOBNIK
.c The Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) ‑ Mayor Rudolph Giuliani began assembling a task force
to monitor ``decency'' in tax‑sponsored art exhibits Friday, as a museum
opened a show including a photograph depicting Jesus as a naked
``If you want to display viciousness, hatred, ignorance, and you want to
display anti‑Catholicism, racism or anti‑Semitism, then you go find a
private museum that wants to pay for this or a private sponsor that
wants to pay for this,'' the mayor said in a radio interview
``But you cannot use taxpayers' dollars!''
Giuliani also threatened to go to federal court to challenge taxpayer
support of art he says defiles ``decency and respect for religion.''
The mayor's ire was prompted by Renee Cox's photograph ``Yo Mama's
Last Supper,'' one of 188 works in a new show at the Brooklyn Museum
of Art. Cox, who posed nude for a Last Supper image, is surrounded by
12 black apostles in the five‑panel image.
Cox, a Jamaican‑born artist who was raised Catholic, has said the image
highlights legitimate criticisms of the church, including its refusal to
ordain women as priests.
The work is ``beautiful!'' said Tammy Hindle, who viewed the exhibit,
including the work of 94 contemporary black photographers. ``She's
celebrating the part of God that is woman.''
Everton McIntyre, a Pentecostal Christian and a middle school art
``The Lord's Supper means a lot to me. And her being nude bothers me.
Jesus was never nude,'' he said.
Museum director Arnold Lehman did not respond directly to the mayor,
but said in a statement that the work serves an important purpose.
``Throughout history, the artist's responsibility has been to make us
think,'' he said. ``The best artists walk blindfolded on a high wire every
time they go to work. We owe them no less than our unwavering
The same museum was at the center of a similar debate in 1999 when an
exhibit including a dung‑decorated painting of the Virgin Mary sparked a
heated six‑month legal battle.
The mayor froze the museum's annual $7.2 million city subsidy ‑ about a
third of its annual budget ‑ then sued in state court to evict the
The museum filed a countersuit in federal court, where a judge ruled
that the city had violated the First Amendment and restored the
Between the number of homosexuals who are Jews and this lilith
feminist garbage and Jewish reputation for bring communism and
economic disaster everywhere they go is there any doubt in a Christians
mind that the Jews are Edomite Canaanite in descent and not in any
way shape or form Hebrew. And their Talmudism religion is also an
Edomite/ Canaanite origin. And further more is their any doubt as to
whose religion is influencing everything from education to politics etc in
this country. Not just influencing politics but actually stealing our own
money from us to pay for it. The Evil Slime.
I have a great Idea. I want to do a master piece for the museum of
ancient cultures and societies. It will have two homo rabbi's and a dog.
One rabbi will be humping the dog and the other homo will be humping
him. And the words written on top will say ‑‑‑ Cultural similarities link
the ancient land of Canaan to Jewville New York... Then I will ask the
city to sponsor the project..
And in return for that last painting of a Bible covered with sh*t. I think I
will do a master piece of a syngogue covered with fetus remains and
blood. With the words above it in yiddish "New Yorks sacrifice of love".
And in return for the movies and books they have written portraying
Christ as a homosexual I think I will make a master piece of Herod with
six fingers and six toes sitting on his throne with all his little playboy
bunnies around and lusting after a 3 year old.. and the words king of
JewVille New York...
Lilith comes from the word layil meaning night or midnight. "Lilith",
name of a female goddess known as a night demon who haunts the
desolate places of Edom.
Isaiah 34:14 This prophecy is about Edom. Yes Lilith is definitely an
Edomite goddess. Clearly shows the association between modern Jews
and their Edomite back ground. Edom is also a He goat or Satyre..
And thorns shall come up in her palaces, nettles and brambles in the
fortresses thereof: and it shall be an habitation of dragons (sea serpent ‑
tannyin), [and] a court for owls (daughters)
The wild beasts of the desert ( wilderness, a yelper, crier) shall also meet
with the wild beasts of the island (a jackal a beast that makes a doleful
howling), and the satyr (He goat) shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl
(lilith) also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest.
There shall the great owl (arrow snake or serpent comes from the root
word to make a contract) make her nest, and lay, and hatch, and gather
under her shadow: there shall the vultures also be gathered, every one
with her mate
All of these creatures are also mentioned in reference to Babylon. Lilith
is the only one mentioned in reference to Edom only. And only two
people are refered to as He Goats ‑ Alexander The Great and Edom. (at
least according to what I know at this time) Perhaps these are all animals
worshiped in Edom and Babylon. I think the Jackal was also worshiped
in Egypt. But here it is being referred to as an island god. The
isles usually refers to gentiles.
I don't think the king James has done a very good job translating these
verses. Might be better to compare with a couple of other translations.