How many are the things You have made, O Lord;
You have made them all with wisdom;
the earth is full of Your creations.
(Psalms 104:24)

Dear readers,

Writes the scholar Shalom Spiegel: "Remnants of dim sagas and residues of faded traditions, frowned upon by the makers of the Bible and discarded by them, survived, as it were, subterraneously for countless generations down to the last centuries of antiquity, or even the early centuries of the Middle Ages — an amazing testimony to the tenacity of folk memories."

Despite the austere monotheism of the Bible and the disapproval of the rabbis, relics of pagan mythology and elements which grew naturally out of the fertile population imagination (based on the belief in the spirit world) survived in Jewish oral and written tradition. Fortified by a rich tradition drawn largely from the folklore of Egypt and Babylon and Persia, these tales are a testimony to the triumph of imagination over reason.

Enjoy in this 19th edition of JHOM:

Fantastic creatures in ancient biblical legend, intro. by Shalom Spiegel
     * Leviathan, king of the fishes
     * Behemot, king of the mammals
     * Ziz, king of the birds
     * The phoenix, most marvelous of birds
     * The salamander and the shamir, most marvelous of reptiles
Jewish demonology in biblical, Talmudic and medieval times
Fantastic creatures in Ezekiel's vision, by Louis Jacobs
On the ceiling of the Hodorov synagogue, by Ida Huberman
The triumph of imagination over reason, by Louis Ginzberg
Zoomorphic 13th-cent. Hebrew letters - free clipart for our readers!
Asmodeus, king of the demons: not such a bad fellow, after all

The Editor.




Subscribe to the JHOM mailing list for updates.

Contact us

Tell a friend