Lilith in Kabbala: Zohar

By Alan Humm
Copied with Permission.

Kabbala: Lilith's Fate

Lilith will be destroyed in the end. See also 'Emeq haMelekh, 84d 84d

Zohar 3:19a

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. (Isa. 34:14) (Patai81:466)

Kabbala: Lilith as God's Consort

In this striking passage we see Lilith becoming the consort of God! This resulting from God's regular consort, the Matronit, being in exile. While they are apart, the Matronit is abused by the left emanations (bad guys) while Lilith takes her place at God's side. Keep in mind here that 'God' in this context refers to one of the emanations of God, not the absolute (Ein Sof). Of course, it would be tempting to combine this with the 'Adam's first wife' streams of the tradition, leaving us with a story in which Lilith is at first rejected by Adam only to be elevated to be the mate of God himself. I suspect, however, that these stories come from different places and cannot be justifiably combined.

Zohar 3:69a

One day the companions were walking with Rabbi Shim'on bar Yohai. Rabbi Shim'on said: "We see that all these nations have risen, and Israel is lower than all of them. Why is this? Because the King [God] sent away the Matronit from Him, and took the slave woman [Lilith] in her place. Who is this slave woman? The Alien Crown, whose firstborn the Holy One, blessed be He, killed in Egypt. At first she sat behind the handmill, and now this slave woman inherited the place of her mistress." And Rabbi Shim'on wept and said: "The King without the Matronit is not called king. The King who adhered to the slave woman, to the handmaid of the Matronit, where is his honor? He lost the Matronit and attached Himself to the place which is called slave woman. This slave woman was destined to rule over the Holy Land of below, as the Matronit formerly ruled over it. But the Holy One, blessed be He, will ultimately bring back the Matronit to her place as before. And then, what will be the rejoicing? Say, the rejoicing of the King and the rejoicing of the Matronit. The rejoicing of the King because He will return to her and separate from the slave woman, and the rejoicing of the Matronit, because she will return to couple with the King. (Patai81:468)

Other references in Zohar:

Zohar 1:19b

After the primeval light was hidden, a husk was created for the brain, and that husk spread out and brought forth another husk which was Lilith. And when she emerged, she went up and went down towards the little faces, and wanted to attach herself to them and be shaped after them, and did not want to depart from them. But the Holy One, blessed be He, removed her from there and placed her down below. When He created Adam, in order to perfect this world, as soon as Lilith saw Eve affixed to the side of Adam, and saw in them the beauty of the Above, and saw their perfect image, she flew off from there and wanted, as before to attach herself to the little faces. But the guardians of the gates of Above did not Let her. The Holy One, blessed be He, rebuked her, and cast her into the depths of the sea, and she remained dwelling there until Adam and his wife sinned. Then the Holy One, blessed be He, brought her up from the depths of the sea and gave her power over all those children, the little faces of the sons of man, who are liable to punishment because of the sins of their fathers. And she went and roamed the world. She approached the gates of Paradise on earth, and saw the Cherubim guarding the gates of Paradise, and sat down facing the Flaming Sword, for she originated from that flame. When that flame revolved, she fled. And she roams in the world, and finds children liable to punishment, and caresses them, and kills them. And all this is because of the diminishing of the moon which reduced its light.... When Cain was born, she could not attach herself to him. But later she approached him and bore spirits and winged demons. For 130 years Adam had intercourse with female spirits, until Naamah came. Because of her beauty the sons of God went astray after her, 'Ussa and 'Azael, and she bore from them, and from her spread evil. spirits and demons in the world.... (Patai81:454f) And she goes and roams the world at night, and makes sport with men and causes them to emit seed. And wherever men are found sleeping alone in a house, they [these spirits] descend upon them and get hold of them and adhere to them and take desire from them and bear from them. And they also afflict them with disease, and the men do not know it. And all this is because of the diminishing of the moon. (Patai81:461)

Zohar 1:34b

When the letters of the name of Adam, descended below, together in their completeness, the male and the female were found together, and the female was attached to his side, until God cast a deep slumber upon him and he fell asleep. And he lay in the place of the Temple below. And the Holy One, blessed be He, sawed her off him, and adorned her as they adorn a bride, and brought her to him.... In an ancient book I found that this [refers to] the primeval Lilith who was with him and conceived from him, but was not a helpmeet for him.... (Patai81:454)

Zohar 3:19

Come and see: There is a female, a spirit of all spirits, and her name is Lilith, and she was at first with Adam. And in the hour when Adam was created and his body became completed, a thousand spirits from the left [evil] side clung to that body until the Holy One, blessed be He, shouted at them and drove them away. And Adam was lying, a body without a spirit, and his appearance was green, and all those spirits surrounded him. In that hour a cloud descended an pushed away all those spirits. And when Adam stood up, his female was attached to his side. And that holy spirit which was in him spread out to this side and that side, and grew here and there, and thus became complete. Thereafter the Holy One, blessed be He, sawed Adam into two, and made the female. And He brought her to Adam in her perfection like a bride to the canopy. When Lilith saw this, she fled. And she is in the cities of the sea, and she is still trying to harm the sons of the world. (Patai81:455)