AJSreview AJS Review (1980 Volume 5) by FRANK TALMAGE


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Isaiah 27:1, and compare Bava Batra 74b. See Scholem's note, Qabbalot, p. 100, n. 5. 94. Samael's name is obviously interpreted here by Rabbi Isaac as derived from suma =blind. SAMAEL, LILITH, AND THE CONCEPT OF EVIL 39 nameis Tanin'iver (BlindSerpent)... If he werecreatedin the fullnessof his thewholeworldinonemoment... The final destructionof the powers of evil, Samael, Lilith and the serpent,by messianicpowers,and a glowing descriptionof messianictimes, after evil has been overcome,conclude the treatise.

And when He saw that there were no such righteousas David, He destroyedthem. He said:"Thefactthatthereis not even one good personamongall theseis becauseI createdthe EvilYeSertoo strongin them .. " andthe Creatorsaid: "The reasonwhy I createdsuch a strongYegerin them is, that if two [righteous] are found, He would be ungratefulif he did not createthem. But he said: I createdit too strong,thereforethere is no good in them;I shall now create human beings with anotherYeSer,the Good Yeeer. Rabbi Eleazar's extensive homily includes references to many verses which he interprets as describing the destroyed worlds, and he goes on to analyze the destroyed generations, and the evildoers of the period of the deluge.

2 But nowhere in these detailed descriptions is there a hint that he has a wife or a feminine counterpart, and Lilith is not to be found. The history of Lilith is even more complex. " In all these sources, however, Samael is never mentioned. How, then, did Samael and Lilith become man and wife in the treatise by Rabbi Isaac ha-Kohen? Part of the answer to this question may be found in the famous source of most of the legends concerning Lilith-the Alpha Betha of Ben Sira, which should properly be called "Pseudo-Ben Sira," a narrative work in Hebrew written late in the gaonic period.

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