Growing up Jewish, it seemed like all the other religions had a lot more fun, spooky stuff to freak out about—layers of hell filled with creepy figures, exorcisms that caused little girls heads to spin around, human-eating ghosts

To be honest, I had no idea that Judaism believed in demons at all until I stumbled upon Lilith and learned that she’s not just the name of Frasier Crane’s icy ex-wife. Lilith is considered the most notorious demon in Jewish literature, primarily known for stealing babies (😬). But what most caught my attention is one interpretation of the Lilith story, in which she was actually the first woman on earth, and not Eve. The story goes that God created both Adam and Lilith from the earth. When Adam asked Lilith to “lie beneath him” (like, sexually) (seriously I’m not making this stuff up) she was like fuck that, we were both created from the earth so we’re equal, peace out. And she flew away.

That, my friends, is why Lilith has been accepted as a feminist hero of sorts, and why her name has been co-opted by the likes of Lilith Fair, an all-female music festival, and the Jewish feminist magazine Lilith.

Learn more about Lilith in Alma’s latest video:

 

Molly Tolsky

Molly Tolsky is the editor of Alma.