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Ziz

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Clockwise from right: Leviathan, Behemoth and Ziz

The ziz (Hebrew: זיז) is a giant bird in Jewish mythology.


Description

  • The ziz is said to be large enough to be able to block out the sun with its wingspan.
  • 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.


Art

Behemoth, Leviathan and Ziz were traditionally a favorite decoration motif for rabbis living in Germany.

The giant ziz lives on in children's literature where it is often portrayed as a clumsy, accident-prone, but kind-hearted creature who learns important lessons from God.

  • 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.


See also