The Ziz (Hebrew: זיז) is a giant griffin-like bird in Jewish mythology, said to be large enough to be able to block out the sun with its wingspan. It is considered a giant animal/monster corresponding to archetypal creatures. Rabbis have said that the Ziz is comparable to the Persian Simurgh.[1] Behemoth, Leviathan and Ziz were traditionally a favorite decoration motif for rabbis living in Russia.

Some say that the Ziz was created to protect all of the birds and that if the Ziz did not exist, then all the smaller birds on Earth would be helpless and killed. The Ziz is also an immortal creature that terrified the people that entered its territory and those who killed birds. The Ziz is also believed to be a simple metaphor for air and space, along with the Behemoth as land and Leviathan as the seas and oceans.

According to Jewish tradition the meat of the Ziz will be served at the end banquet along with that of the Leviathan and the Behemoth.[2]

The giant Ziz lives on in children's literature. He figures prominently in a story from Gertrude Landa's (also known as Aunt Naomi) 1919 collection Jewish Fairy Tales and Legends. The ziz also appears in four recent books by Jacqueline Jules and illustrated by Katherine Janus Kahn (all from Kar-Ben Publishing) - "The Hardest Word", "Noah and the Ziz", "The Ziz And the Hanukkah Miracle" and "The Princess and the Ziz". The Ziz is an awesome, fiasco-prone, but kind-hearted creature who learns important lessons from God. Note that this mythological bird is in Midrash rather than standard Jewish eschatology.

The cliff of Ziz is the pass by which the horde of Moabites, Ammonites and Mehunim made their way up from the shores of the Dead Sea to the wilderness of Judah near Tekoa. (2 Chronicles 20:16) , called the pass of Ain Jidy in 2 Chronicles 20:20.

See also


This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Ziz. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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