Spirituality

Temptation and the balance of good and evil: So did Adam have a first wife?

Disputes about Adam’s first wife and whether she was a human at all or a spiritual entity continue to this day. Perhaps, the name Lilith was “appointed” for a reason and her story is somehow more related to modern Judaism, Christianity and Kabbalah than we think.

People familiar with Hebrew will immediately see the similarity with the word “Layla” ( לַיְלָה ), which, when written in Hebrew, which does not have vowels, is extremely similar to Lilith ( לִילִית‏‎ ). “Layla” is translated from Hebrew as “night”, and at night, as you know, evil spirits are awaken.

The basic document that gives the most complete picture of the existence of Lilith is the Ben-Sira Alphabet, dated 7-10 centuries AD. At the same time, there are earlier and later documents that speak of the existence of the first woman of Adam. This, for example, is Bereshit Rabbah – the Jewish Midrash of the 3rd-5th centuries AD, which is essentially an ancient interpretation of the First Book of Moses; or the Kabbalistic “Treatise on the Left Emanation”, written by Isaac Cohen already in the 13th century. There are chances the author or the scribe of the Zohar Kabbalist handbook, Rav Moshe de Leon, knew something about Lilith’s existence.

So, Ben-Sira gives us the following picture: after the creation of Adam, the Creator realized that it was not good for a man to be alone, therefore he created a woman for him from the same earth (and not from Adam’s rib) and endowed her with the same properties of the soul and mind, similar to the Creator. They named the newborn Lilith.

By the way, according to the interpretation, Adam and Lilith were created in the form of a 20-year-old man and woman, so they could start creating children almost immediately. And then a dispute arose between them: who is on top and who is on the bottom? Adam insisted on the birthright and the superiority of a man over a woman, and Lilith insisted on the equality of women and men. In general, they did not agree, and Lilith ran away. 

She fled approximately to those lands where, according to the Pentateuch, the army of the pharaoh would later drown. There is a lot of controversy about this place, connected with the clumsy translation of the word “suf”, which some translated from Hebrew as the Red Sea, and others as reed. So this place hung somewhere between the Red Sea and the coast of North Africa in the region of the Bardawil estuary.

Adam complained to the Almighty, in response to which God sent Angels to bring Lilith back.

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The angels flew in for Lilith, however, she managed to negotiate with them. Initially, the Creator gave the Angels the following directive: “If Lilith refuses to return, then every day a hundred of her children will die,” to which Lilith responded with her threat: “I was created to cause illness to babies. For boys – within 8 days after birth, for girls – within 20 days. And then she smeared herself on the Angels, telling them that if she saw their names on babies, then she would not touch them. From here came the Jewish tradition to hang newborn amulets with the names of three angels: Senoy, Sansenoy and Semangelof. Lilith agreed that 100 of her children would die every day.

Then Lilith found her betrothed, the leader of the demons Samael, and began to actively produce children with him, and more likely, evil spirits. Every day, 100 of them died, but the fertility, you see, was at a much higher rate.

Meanwhile, God created Eve, already from his own rib, but what came of it, you know for yourselves. The experiment which took place was obviously unsuccessful, as Eve led God’s plan to a dead end.

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It’s not about Eve, but on who Lilith was

The “Treatise on the Left Emanation” mentioned above endows Lilith, first of all, with a spiritual essence, opposing it, paired with Samuel, to Adam and Eve – a sort of balance of good and evil.

In addition, modern Christianity and Judaism also reject the carnal component of Lilith, speaking of the allegorical nature of her image and endowing her with exclusively non-material properties, the main of which is temptation.

Based on this point of view, it turns out that when the Creator endowed Adam with all spiritual feelings, one of them was just a temptation and extended not only to sexuality, but also to all other spheres (or Sefirot, as in Kabbalah), otherwise, spiritual worlds.

Well, for those who want to believe in the carnal existence of the demon Lilith. After all, it doesn’t cost anything for a demon to move into a person.

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