Lilith in the Zohar
Outside of the Bible, the most important source of information on Lilith is found the Zohar. The Zohar is
essentially a Kabalistic Midrash (collection of Kabalistic commentaries) on the Torah. As such, the Zohar is the
most important work of Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism), largely defining Kabalistic beliefs. The Zohar consists of
twenty-two volumes penned around 1200 CE in Spain by rabbi Moses de Leon. However, long before he
codified the Zohar on that date, many of its Midrashes doubtlessly had a long oral tradition. It has been
surmised that the roots of its oral tradition may expend all the way back to rabbi Simeon bar Yohai in the early
Talmudic period (70 CE).
Lilith plays a surprisingly large role in the Zohar, and thus in Kabbalah. The Zohar mentions her by name in 27
separate passages and by direct reference in a further 29, for a total of 56 direct references. She is referenced
indirectly several times more. The Zohar supports all the fundamental elements of Lilith’s legend. It holds she
was created at the same time as Adam from the dust of the earth. She was animated by spirits that rose up out
of the ground. She was an unsuitable helpmeet for Adam and fled from him. She was the serpent who tempted
Eve. The Zohar holds that Lilith and Samael ( i.e. Satan) were one being much the same how Adam and Eve
were one being. The Zohar even elevates Lilith as a counterpart to the mystical Matronit, or the female aspect of
Jehovah’s Shekhina (i.e. Holy Spirit). In this respect, Lilith is the ultimate demon or manifestation of Satan.