Booted out of Paradise? Lilith as the first mistress and well-spring of promiscuity, both real and imagined? There has always been some perplexing inconsistencies in the Old Testament; a kind of lost narrative between the Greek Septuagint, the Dead Sea Scrolls , the burning of the library in Alexandria and the common era version we know today. This had provided loopholes which permit some complex interpretational gymnastics which attempt to synthesize apparent contradictions and take the battle of the Word deep within the scriptural text, providing meaning and nuance; questions taken up later in Jewish mystical literature known as the Kabbalah.
It is not for naught that entertainers such as Madonna are known to have studied Kaballah, even if rather superficially. Lilith has come to represent a symbol of female defiance and strength based on an anti-intellectual feminism. Lilith is a virtual archetypal ruler or demi-monde deity who has broken free of Dante’s Divine comedy and like a renegade leads the charge of a younger, more sexually explicit generation, the kind that dreams of booting men out of the male patriarchy of the pornographic industry and taking it over, a “total remake” in image and fortune out of her sexual fantasies. A kind of “rebel sell” that Joseph Heath has written of, where societal dissent is channeled into a rampant consumerism based on status.
Andrew Samuels:If we consider, for example, the Midrashic story of Lilith we can understand the possible relations between politics and sexual behaviour a bit more fl uidly. Lilith was Adam’s first consort who was created from the earth at the same time as Adam. She was unwilling to give up her equality and argued with Adam over the position in which they should have intercourse – Lilith insisting on being on top. ‘Why should I lie beneath you’ she argued, ‘when I am your equal since both of us were created from dust?’ Adam was determined and began to rape Lilith who called out the magic name of God, rose into the air, and fl ew away. Eve was then created. Lilith’s later career as an evil she-demon who comes secretly to men in the night, hence being responsible for nocturnal emissions, and as a murderer of newborns, culminated, after the destruction of the Temple, in a relationship with God as a sort of mistress. Read More:http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ppi.179/pdf
In literature, John Keats La Belle Dame Sans Merci can be read as one of many poems which calls upon the ideology of “sustained anticipation” to show how the love of a woman as quintessentially “perfect” and beautiful as Lilith, or the mysterious femme fatale known only as “La Belle” will always lead to one’s destruction and death.Kaballah is often said to offer knowledge of the divine through an nuanced approach to experiencing God who conceals and reveals himself,a cat and mouse, hide and seek game with the almighty who is both transcendent and immanent in the world. Who’s zoomin who? In the Bible, God relates to the world only through His words. Salutin: He never inheres in or is part of it. That is a key division between Bible-based religions and all others. When Kabbalists speculated on immanence, they flirted with pantheistic heresy. But you get none of that from the anodyne phrase, “conceals and reveals himself,” without context.
I was told that it could drive you mad if studied without these restrictions. I laughed, but in a way it did drive me mad. How Madonna and others can be told that it is all right for them to study Kabbalah is beyond me. It is literally playing with hell fire….Then, a couple of years later I wrote a novel, “The Other World” where I again glorified Lilith and her cohort Samael (Satan). I read from this at a loft in Greenwich Village in New York Cithank God it was never published but I had been completely enamored with Kabbalah….
…I got people to love it. I even taught Adult Bible Classes for young Jewish married couples on Kabbalah. I was leading the masses astray not to speak of thousands of my students. I even taught a grad class on “Alternate Conceptions of Reality” where I spoke of reincarnation (Kabbalistic gilgul), karma etc.. One of my students committed suicide and everyone he knew wanted me at the funeral because he supposedly loved my class the best. I probably helped lead this poor guy to hell with my Kabbalistic notions of reincarnation. Read More:http://www.ufodigest.com/news/0307/kabbalistic.html aa
Rabbi Jill Hammer:On the other hand, Jacqueline Lapidus’s brief poem”Eden” imagines a lesbian encounter between Lilith and Eve. Using theLilith legend, Lapidus invents an origin story for love between women. Scholarand author Ohad Ezrachi frequently writes about Lilith as a split-off sexualcomponent of women, an image created by men fearful of a full relationship. Heencourages men and women to see Lilith and Eve as the same person.
Lilith has become such a popular figure that whole enterprises (like the women’s music concert Lilith Fair and the Jewish feminist journal Lilith Magazine) are named after her. Once a source of fear, Lilith has been transformed into an icon of freedom. While some disapprove of this widespread embrace of a former demon,Lilith’s rehabilitation makes sense. The frightening character of Lilith grew,in part, out of repression: repression of sexuality, repression of the freeimpulse in women, repression of the question “what if I left it all behind?” As modern Jews begin to ask questions about sex, freedom, and choice more directly, Lilith becomes a complex representation of our own desires. Read More:http://www.myjewishlearning.com/beliefs/Issues/Magic_and_the_Supernatural/Practices_and_Beliefs/Supernatural_Beings/Lilith.shtml
Andrew Samuels:My point is that this kind of material can be taken as much as an expression of the influence of the sexual on the political as the other way around. The experience people have of the sexual is also a motor of their politicality, political style and political values. Sexual
experience and its associated imagery express an individual’s psychological approach to political functioning. Concluding this section on promiscuity and politics, it is interesting to reflect on the micro-politics of non-monogamous relating, using this term to include promiscuity. The politics of relationality in these contexts include whether or not the agreement of members of offi cially recognized partners is to be sought and, if agreement is reached, what the meaning of such agreement might be. All relationships are political in this sense. Read More:http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ppi.179/pdf