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I have heard of that the idea that Adam had a wife before Eve comes from Jewish tradition, and also about the idea that this wife was Lilith. From what I can tell the story of Lilith and the story of Adams first wife had possibly been around for a long time before being more popularly believed as the same person. But my questing is how widespread is either belief and to what extent is it believed. In other words are any of these ideas (A. Adam had any first wife at all, B. That wife was named Lilith or C. was the demoness Lilith.) common among the modern Jewish population? and if any of these are common to what extent are they believed? Believed strongly, just an interesting possibility, or even denounced completely as false.

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"I have heard of that the idea that Adam had a wife before Eve comes from Jewish tradition, and also about the idea that this wife was Lilith." You mean that that was her name? Or do you mean "...and also about the idea that this wife was the Lilith we know from elsewhere."? If the latter, then could you explicate in your question what you're obliquely referring to, please? – msh210 Jan 14 '13 at 20:03
@msh210 is this clearer, please suggest other wording if not. I'm trying to be as clear as possible. I want the title of my question answered, weather or not it's a widespread belief that Adam had any first wife, weather it was Lilith or some other individual. as I understand they may likely be separate, or not, I don't know . – UserZer0 Jan 14 '13 at 21:43
I simply didn't (and still don't) knnow what you mean by "the idea that this wife was Lilith". If you mean "the idea that her name was Lilith", then that (latter) would be the usual way of wording it. If you mean "the idea that this wife was the Lilith of Story X from Source B", then you should say so, specifying what X and B are. – msh210 Jan 15 '13 at 1:02
Tishbi on Lilith: hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=37938&pgnum=62 – Menachem Apr 14 '13 at 3:09

A weird idea, based on a weird and not-very-authoritative midrash. To the best of my knowledge it's not in any mainstream source (Talmud, or even something like a Midrash Rabbah or even a Yalkut Shimoni). It first appears in some latter-day "collection of midrashim."

The word "Lilith" appears in Isaiah (34:14) and Rashi there simply translates: "a female demon." That's about all it meant a thousand years ago.

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Ok as per msh210, my question may have been previouly worded in a confusing maner. Are you saying weird idea to the whole idea that Adam had any first wife, or specifically the weird Idea was that Lilith the demon was this wife? Thank you for your input! – UserZer0 Jan 15 '13 at 1:25

The idea that he had a first wife is mentioned in the Bereishis Rabba three times. 17:7, 18:4, and 22:7. It is also mentioned in the Rokeach on the Torah 1:27. In the footnotes there Reb Chaim Kanievsky says this idea is also mentioned in the Alef Beis of Ben Sira, but doesn't give any details.

The name Lilith was not mentioned.

I don't think the idea of the first Eve is widely known at all in modern Jewish society. There are exceptions of course. For instance the aforementioned Rabbi Kanievsky.

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