Lilith in the Talmud

There are five painfully brief references to Lilith in the Talmud (Circa 400 CE).  All are incidental references
that pop up during the discussion of other topics.  This imply that she was a well known figure that needed no
explanation.  The original Talmudic passages describe Lilith as existing at the time of Adam’s fall; as siring
demon seed from Adam by stealing his semen at night while he slept; as having long hair; as having wings, and
as bringing defilement upon women in childbirth.  Later rabbis added explanatory footnotes to the original
passages.  Apparently, with the loss of the Temple and the scattering of the Jews, knowledge of Lilith
decreased over time.  Ironically, it was the purpose of the Talmud to preserve ancient knowledge, yet some of
the Talmud’s presumed knowledge on Lilith was apparently also being lost.  Later rabbis added footnotes that
identified Lilith as a female night demon “reputed” to have wings and a human face.  It is clear from the
footnotes that the later rabbis did no know precisely who Lilith was.   

All references to Lilith in the Talmud are given below.  

    1)        "One may not sleep in a house alone, and whoever sleeps in a house alone is seized by Lilith."
    (Shab. 151b --- footnote "The night demon.")

    2)        “Rabbi Jeremia ben Eleazar said, ‘During those years (after their expulsion from the Garden), in
    which Adam, the first man, was separated from Eve, he became the father of ghouls and demons and
    lilin.’ Rabbi Meir said, ‘Adam, the first man, being very pious and finding that he had caused death to
    come into the world, sat fasting for 130 years, and separated himself from his wife for 130 years, and
    wore fig vines for 130 years. His fathering of evil spirits, referred to here, came as a result of wet
    dreams.’” (Erubin 18b)

    3)        "She grows long hair like Lilith . . ." ('Erubin 100b --- footnote "A notorious female night demon."]

    4)        "I saw how Hormin the son of Lilith was running on the parapet of the wall of Mahuza. . . ." (Baba
    Bathra. 73a-b -- footnote to Hormin "a demon;" to Lilith "a female night demon")

    5)        "If an abortion had the likeness of Lilith its mother is unclean by reason of the birth, for it is a
    child, but it has wings. So it was also taught: R. Jose stated, It once happened at Simoni that a woman
    aborted the likeness of Lilith, and when the case came up for a decision before the Sages they ruled
    that it was a child but that it also had wings. . . ." (Nidda 166: v6, 24b -- footnote to Lilith "A female
    demon of the night, reputed to have wings and a human face.")
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