Friday, December 23, 2011

Lilith: Story of the first Wife of Adam.

Abu Hena Mostafa Kamal
23 Dec. 2011
Lilith first appeared as Adam's vengeful wife was in the Alphabet of Ben Sira. The Alphabet is a book that contains twenty-two proverbs alphabetically arranged for both Aramaic and Hebrew with a haggadic commentary on them, enriched with fables and legends corresponding to their linguistic difference, differences in their contents and origin. No one sure when it was written, but to some in 1,000 CE justifying the stress it laid upon "if God wills" that never omitted with some other points. The virtues which Ben Sira particularly recommends are praying, almsgiving, respecting elder, exclusive intercourse with the upright, and constancy in friendship. The manner in which he imparts moral at the end of the proverbs with a happy combination of Haggada and legend, proves him a wise writer, who knows how to treat his subject .

However, the incantation bowl used by Hebrews for release of curses, Evil Eye, poseses Jinns, black magic that found in the archaeological excavation in Babylon, demonstrates that Jews introduced Lilith episode during their exile in 587 BCE or after exile in Babylon.

According to Gershom Scholem "The Alphabet" was known to Moses de Leon who is the compiler of Kabbalah, written in between 8th to 9th century known as Zohar [some says Zohar written in between 2nd and 3rd century by- Shimon Bar Yochai known as Rashbi], [See, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism, p. 174]

However,  the story of  Lilith presented by Ben Sira does not match with the conventional story, and apparently it was never taken any attempt to complying both of them to merge one. And to be honest, the context of the story Eve was not something new to Ben Sira, it can be seen in the Genesis Rabba though there is no mention of Lilith there.

Before describing and analyzing the Lilith episode of Ben Sira, we have to Inquire from where the idea of Lilith episode came or what is the context of its base?

In the book of Genesis we find that God created Eve from the left rib of Adam- “Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.”-Genesis 2:22 [Qur'an, the last Scripture also says something like that- "He - Allah -Who created you from a single being, and out of it He made its mate"-(7:189)]

Yet a previous verse already told us- “So God created man -----------; male and female He created them.”-[Genesis 1:27], in the mean time instructed that a woman already created. To remove the inconsistency in these two verses of the two chapters of the Book of Genesis- is largely the cause of introduction of Lilith episode. Later we will find in the Alphabet that the episode begins with through the description Genesis 2:18 verse - “it is not good for man to be alone”.

The book begins with the remarkable birth of Ben Sira. He is represented as the son or grandson of Jeremiah, and was born with the physical and mental powers of an adult. In fact, the proverbs were made by him when he was a one-year-old child and he was sent to a teacher, to taught the alphabet. As his teacher began to say the alphabet, Ben Sira interrupted him by giving a proverb which corresponded to the letter about to be taught him. His fame for wisdom reached Nebuchadnezzar, who sent for him, and at whose court Ben Sira had to proof his wisdom through a series of examination, which are described by the commentator and that is the 2nd alphabet.

The 2nd alphabet is quite different in character from the 1st, and seems to a much later period. It consists, as stated, of twenty-two Hebrew proverbs with a commentary upon them. Half of the proverbs are seems taken from Talmud; and the other half from Indian "Panchatantra", "Kalila and Dimna", Christian dogma, and the rest of the fable consist of platitudes whose form and contents may consider lack of literary knowledge.

However, the Lilith episode is the fifth story of Ben Sira, in reply to the emperor's crucial test. The story describes [in/c a few of our own injections to fill the gaps] as follows-

"Emperor Nebu Chand Nezzar called Ben Sira when his youngest son fell ill. He said, "Cure my son as early as possible or I will Cut thee from the neck."

Ben Sira, immediately sit besides the patient's head side and taking a piece of parchment, he draws on that some wings, hands and feet or something like that  as ambiguous. Take a look on that Nebu Chand Nezzar asked, "Who are these people?"Ben Sira, said, "The pictures on the safeguard are the angels of Medicine and cure- Snvi, Snsvi, and Smnglof.

When God created the Adam, he was alone. God said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” -[Genesis 2:18] [So] God ordered angels to make something to accompany him that will make him happy. So they made beautiful animal and birds for him and when they brought those to Adam, Iblees made ugly animals and birds from the rest of the mud. But when they found Adam not happy yet and the mud already been used they found no way to brought a lady Jinn from the earth and make her appear like him to Adam. They brought her to Adam and introduce her as Lilith.

The nature of the Jinns and Human are different, So, Lilith and Adam promptly began to argue with each other: She said, “I will not lie below,” and he said, “I will not lie below, but above, since you are fit only to be in the bottom position.”

She said, “The two of us are equal, since we are both from the earth.”
He said,‘It behoves thee to be obedient; I am to rule over thee'. And they would not listen to each other. But when Lilith came to know that Adam not from the earth but formed out of earth, she uttered God's ineffable name and flew away into the air. Adam stood in prayer before his Maker and said, “Master of the Universe, the Oman fled from me!”

The Holy, the Blessed one immediately dispatched the three angels Sanoy, Sansenoy, and Samangelof after her, to bring her back. God told them, “If she wants to return, well and good. And if not, she must accept that a hundred of her children will die every day.” The angels pursued her and overtook her in the sea, in raging waters, (the same waters in which the Egyptians would one day drown), and pleaded with her to come back, yet she refuse to return.

Then they threaten her saying, "We shall drown you in the sea" and she replied. “Leave me alone! or,..." they drowned her. And when they pulled her into the air, she said, "I already write names hundred thousand in this water those shall be drowned here. And if you drowned me again I will write more."

Then they announced to her the verdict of God. She then became angry and promise to kill human babies. And due to her creation superiority she was able to sicken babies. She said, "I will have power over them if they are boys, from birth to 8th day and if they are girls, from birth to 20th day.”

When they heard her Curse, they said that they will not bring her back if she promise not to harm babies. She swore to them in the name of the living God that whenever she would see them or their names or their images on an amulet, she would not overpower that baby, and she accepted that a hundred of her children would die every day.

Therefore, a hundred of the Jinns die every day, and therefore, I write the names [of the three angels] on amulets of young children. When Lilith sees it, she remembers her oath and the child is [protected and] healed.

In the 13th-century writings of Rabbi Isaac ben Jacob ha-Cohen, Lilith left Adam after she refused to become subservient to him and then would not return to the Garden of Eden after she had coupled with the Azazel -[Eve and Adam by Kristen E. Kvam, Linda S. Schearing, Valarie H. Ziegler, pp 220–221, 1999]

According to Rabbi Hiyya God proceeded to create a second Eve for Adam, after Lilith had to return to earth (Genesis Rabbah 22:7 and 18:4).["Lillith" Retrieved 22 March 2015.] And God create her from his rib as the symbol of being subordinate so that she may not claim equality and separated from him ever.

Whether this episode like to hear as a fairy tale, yet it filled not only the gap between the two verses of the Bible but it also explains why Eve was created from Adams rib, not in the same way as Adam created. In addition, Lilith is not new a name, but mentioned  even  once in the Bible. viz.

When the Holy One, blessed be He, will bring about the destruction of the wicked Rome, and turn it into a ruin for all eternity, He will send Lilith there, and let her dwell in that ruin, for she is the ruination of the world. And to this refers the verse, And there shall repose Lilith and find her a place of rest. -Isaiah 34:14.

In Sumerian language Lil means both Air and Breath. On the other-hand, as the elements of the Air and the sole are synonymous, in Hebrew, Lilith [Lamed (L), Yod (I), Lamed (L), Vav (O), Tau (Th)] pronunciation Liloth, which means spirited beings.

Lilith Originally a wind-spirit, derived from the Assyrian Lilitu, with long dishevelled hair, and wings, during Talmudic times the confusion of her name with the word for night transformed her into a night spirit who attacks those who sleep alone. Because she embrace the sleeping men and cause them to have nocturnal emissions which are the seed of a hybrid progeny.

Nearly 150 yrs ago a relief is found by an Iraqi inside a 4,000 yrs old destroyed temple near Baghdad. The Relief hinged to a wall of a small underground chamber of the temple. The Relief was the she demon Jinn known as Lilith.

However, the Relief then came to the Antic Merchant Sydney Burney through a local antic trader. In that Relief Lilith appeared to a human shape. She is slender, well-shaped, beautiful and nude, with wings and owl-feet. She stands erect on two reclining lions which are turned away from each other and are flanked by owls. On her head she wears a cap embellished by several pairs of horns. In her hands she holds a ring and rod combination. It is said Lilith is a demon Jinns, who tames wild beasts and, as shown by the owls on the reliefs, rules by night.

"Adam's wife, his first. Beware of her.
Her beauty's one boast is her dangerous hair.
When Lilith winds it tight around young men
She doesn't soon let go of them again".

The Jews also believe that Lilith is the night Demon Jinns preyed on women especial those who were pregnant or had just given birth and also to infants. So they write incantation bowl and put them in the four corners of the maternity room to keep Lilith away. - One of the bowls accuses “Hablas the Lilith, “striking boys and girls”-(ibid, 168). Or, it may says, “(Lilith) destroys and kills and tears and strangles and eats boys and girls” -(ibid, 193). The bowls’ purpose was usually to exorcise demon Jinns from the house or from the body of the clients named on the bowls, or to turn back malevolent magic that others had practiced against the clients. The drawing of the bound Lilith appears in the center of the bowl.

The bowl-texts accuse the Lilith of haunting people in dreams at night or visions of the day. One text describes the Lilith “(Lilith) who appear to human beings, to men in the likeness of women and to women in the likeness of men, and they lie with all human beings at night and during the day”-(Montgomery 117). Thus one prominent characteristic of the Lilith is that they attack people in the sexual and reproductive realm of life. It is no wonder, therefore, that some of the bowl-incantations employed the language of divorce to rid people of the Lilith.

The rabbinical literature gave us as such a short introduction that is very much compatible with the character of the Lilith of the incantation bowl. And Azazel through Serpent seduced Holy Eve, and enough said for him who understands. And all this ruination came about because Adam the first man coupled with Eve while she was in her menstrual impurity – this is the filth and the impure seed of Satan who mounted Eve before Adam mounted her. Behold, here it is before you: because of the sins of Adam the first man all the things mentioned came into being. For Evil Lilith, when she saw the greatness of his corruption, became strong in her husks, and came to Adam against his will, and became hot from him and bore him many demons Jinns, Lilin. -(Patai 81:455f)

Some source describes the physical structure of Lilith as: “She has wings and long hair. Drawings of the Lilith or demon Jinns on the incantation bowls bear out these details of physical appearance. “Rav Judah said in the name of Azazel: An abortion with the likeness of a Lilith, its mother is impure because of the birth, for it is a child, but it has wings” (BT Niddah 24b).

Rabbi √ďanina (b. Shab. 151b) refers to the sexual danger that the Lilith constitutes for men: Thus the injunction that a man be forbidden to sleep alone in a house, “It is forbidden to sleep in a house alone, and whoever sleeps in a house alone, a Lilith seizes him.”

Lilith attempted intercourse with Adam before the creation of Eve, and after the creation of Eve she fled and ever after has plotted to kill newborn children. She dwells in the “cities of the sea” and at the end of days God will make her dwell in the ruins of Rome (Tishby).

The traditional depiction of Lilith from ancient Mesopotamia through medieval Kabbalah presents an antitype of desired human sexuality and family life. Lilith not only embodies people’s fears of how attraction to others can ruin their marriages, or of how risky childbearing and raising children are, but also represents a woman whom society cannot control—a woman who determines her own sexual partners, who is wild and unkempt, and who does not have the natural consequences of sexual activity, children.

Accordingly, we find widespread observance of a rite recommended by the Zohar, the purpose of which was to keep Lilith away from the marriage bed: “In the hour when the husband enters into union with his wife, he should turn his mind to the holiness of his Lord and say: ‘

In the Zohar Lilith’s demonic sexuality comes especially to the fore. She attempts to seduce men and use their seed to create bodies for her demonic children. The Zohar recommends the performance of a special ritual before sexual intercourse between husband and wife, in which the husband should turn his mind to God and say,--

Veiled in velvet, are you here?
Leave off, leave off:
Go not in and go not out!
It is neither yours nor your share. (Scholem 1965:157).

--Then for a time he should wrap his head and his wife's head in cloths, and after wards sprinkle his bed with fresh water”

The End.
Not Yet Verified.

Picture: Wikipedia.

• Qur'an;
• Bible (Old Testament);
• The Zohar-Shimon Bar Yochai
• The Alphabet- Ben Sira;
• Babylonian Talmud, Niddah 24b; Sabbat 151b;
• On the kabbalah and its Symbolism- Gershom Scholem, 1965: 157;
• Aramic Incantation Text from Nippur-James Montgomery, 1913.
• "Lilith" In Kabbalah- Gershom Scholem, 1974;
• Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism-Gershom Scholem.

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