Though, as R. Jeremy Rosen points out, this does not preclude the work containing ideas that went back to R. Shimon bar Yochai. The Zohar has a lot of influence of Christian sources, and is a tremendous amount of Babylonian influence. Lilit appears in the Zohar. She also appears in the Talmud and elsewhere, for which see my notes from Limmud She is the character who appears the most in the Zohar; she appears there as an outright sexual character in a way that would be characterised as evil in mediaeval Spain.
She is described as tall, and with violet eyes, extremely beautiful, and vampirical: she kills children, as she is described millennia beforehand as doing in the Epic of Gilgamesh, En-Gidu and tablets of Ur; and survives on a diet of blood. In the thirteenth and fourteenth century commentaries she is called arpada [sp. The Zohar comes to fill in the gaps. When Adam is created, the text says "male and female created He them ", but on the next page, Adam is alone. To explain this, the Zohar and Genesis Rabbah say there was another woman, who was banished.
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The Zohar goes overboard on this and goes on to describe their sex life. She and Adam are very happy until one day Adam tells her he has to go off and name the animals. Lilith according to the Zohar is furious, and screams - lit. Adam says no, and tells her to stay by the Euphrates. Adam goes off, and Lilith calls the most important demon, or rather shade a term Shakespeare used one hundred times - it came into English from translations of the Bible , Ashmodai.
These shades were created by G-d, says the Zohar, in the twilight between the fifth and sixth day of creation. Ashmodai is described in the Zohar; if Lilith is every man's fantasy, Ashmodai is every woman's. Dark, large dark eyes, very seductive.
How to pronounce Lilith
So the two of them get off, in the Euphrates, whilst Adam's off naming animals. So guess what Adam finds when he comes back? Adam tries to kill Ashmodai but Ashmodai disappears. Adam is furious with Lilith and screams at her to repent. She refuses. She refuses to knuckle under.
The two of them now have a palace seven leagues under the sea. The two of them take people as their sexual slaves.
According to the Zohar, both of them are waiting at the crossroads at midnight. There is much information in the Zohar on how to meet Lilith less as to how to meet Ashmodai: the author was male! Firstly - "look at Michael busy taking notes" :o - the men should not be wearing blue, because blue is one of two colours associated with frightening away the Evil Eye in Sephardic folklore.
In the synagogue in Sofia in Bulgaria - one of the places Sephardim fled to after the Expulsion from Spain - the ceiling is painted blue down almost to the middle of the pillars, so if Lilith flies into the synagogue, she will have to disappear, because blue is the colour associared with Heaven. The other colour associated with driving away the Evil Eye is red, particularly in the form of a red thread around her wrist, of screwy Kabbalah Centre fame. This custom arose from the practice of a woman wearing a red thread around her wrist on the eighth day of a son's life so as to frighten off Lilith.
For more, see The Treasury of Jewish Lore?? Secondly to attract Lilith or Ashmodai, you need to make sure there is no blue around your windows. All the windows in Safed, a great centre of Jewish mysticism, have blue frames. This belief in the proximity of Lilith became a terror in the Sephardi community. But these beliefs were not new: Maimonides of all people! How does Lilith penetrate you [as the Zohar puts it]?
Lilith (English translation)
She focuses on the man's left eye, and hexes you. Note the use of left , of course! Left has always been regarded as evil; the Catholic Church in the C14 issued a papal bull that any priest caght writing with the left hand should be flogged! Certain people will be immune to Lilith because they are her sons. Shoshanna added: in the Bible, all bad people are identified through their mother. So, how to identify a son of Lilith? They have to be left handed, red haired, with green eyes, and with a beautiful voice. Such people are immune to demons. Brian Epstein wrote in his autobiography that one time he had John and Cynthia Lennon over for Seder night.
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John Lennon started asking lots of questions. Epstein's mother, Queenie, who was into mysticism started talking about Lilith, and the characteristics of demonic people. When the Ashkenazic tradition met with the Sephardi in the sixteenth century, it gave rise to a hysterical form of folklore. In the time of crisis, the rational thought characteristic of the likes of Maimonides vanishes, and mysticism and superstition rise to the fore.
Another universal: Leibowitz. Many Sephardi Jews fled from the Inquisition at the time of the expulsion to Czechoslovakia and Cracow. Ashkenazi Jewry had known many ups and downs, and had never known a Golden Age such as had existed in Spain. When they met, the Ashkenazim were also going through hell.
In the early sixteenth century, the nobility in Poland, which had protected the Jews, gave way before waves of ultra-Catholic horsemen from the Ukraine - the Cossacks - and there were pogroms all over. The Sephardim ended up having fled from the frying pan into the fire.
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A very small group of Sephardim made their way to Bulgaria where Joseph Karao was born , and then on to Jerusalem, and then on to Safed, because it is near Mt Merom, where R. Shimon bar Yochai is believed to have written the Zohar. Apocalyptic fever then went on to grip Safed. It was believed by them that the ability lay within their grasp to bring the Messiah. Then you had to fast for forty days as Moses did when he ascended Sinai to the receive the Toah. You also had to abstain from sexual relations for seventy-two days representing the seventy-two letter Name of G-d.
After praying and purifying yourself, you pronounced the sacred Name, and the Sephardim believe that Lilith appeared at your window, looking as beautiful as she can look - except that her fangs are dripping blood - to tempt you, as sent by G-d. Why does G-d send her? At no point is there any insinuation that she is acting independently. Home Discussions Workshop Market Broadcasts. Change language. Install Steam. Your Store. Store Home.
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Lilith's Treasure | A story of sexuality, pleasure and the menstrual cycle
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