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I can't think of many people who go by the Hebrew name Adam. Any guesses why?

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I know many people named Adam named Adam. There are a lot of names that fell out of practice because they don't ring Jewish- and they don't ring Jewish because they fell out of practice. On the other hand, I've heard names being used that are names of reshaim. –  YDK Apr 10 '11 at 2:59
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My brother's name is Adam and he is certainly Jewish. –  Ze'ev haKohen Apr 11 '11 at 19:32
    
i asked this very question on shabbas....what about other names (like yehudit (who notonly saved the jewish people by killing the general i think) butwas also a daughter of esiav?? –  mechoel zev Sep 12 '11 at 2:05
    
@Mechoel Zev, both Sforno and Hirsch say that some Biblical Jews' names weren't made up out of the blue, they chose and/or modified existing Canaanite/Hittite/whatnot names because of Hebrew wordplays. So yes there was a non-Jewish Yehudit long before the Jewish Yehuda or Yehudit, but so what? Now they're Jewish names. –  Shalom Sep 12 '11 at 13:50
    
@Shalom. I think it more likely that the names were similar, because, in the Bible, names were phrases that described the child, a miracle, or some other event in the parents life that they connected to this child. The fact that they are similar and/or the same is due to the similarities between Semitic languages. –  HodofHod Sep 16 '11 at 1:55
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7 Answers

Pischei Teshuvah (Yoreh De'ah 265:6) cites the opinion of Mabit, that it is best not to use names of people from before Avraham. There are indeed opposing opinions cited in PT there, and after all we see that Noach is used often enough; but this may have reduced the use of the name Adam.

It's also possible that it had to do with it being commonly used as a non-Jewish name.

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Also Chanoch is used –  Gershon Gold Apr 11 '11 at 16:00
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But there are post-Avraham Chanochs too, like Reuven's eldest son. –  Alex Apr 11 '11 at 17:20
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Plenty of women named Chava too. –  Barry Apr 11 '11 at 18:01
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Lots of Jareds these days too. –  WAF Apr 12 '11 at 19:24
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There are quite a few Noachs around (The Mahari"n who is a son of the Tzemach Tzedek, R' Noach of Lechovitch who was a son of R' Mordechai and a colleague of R' Moshe of Kobrin and the Slonimer). –  Shmuel Brin Sep 15 '11 at 21:55
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Because you do not know that many people named Adam. It is a traditional Hebrew name.

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I wonder, though. A search at the Hebrew Wikipedia he.wikipedia.org/wiki/… for articles whose titles start with "אדם" yields, I think, no articles about rabbis or even religious Jews, whereas the corresponding search for "נח" yields some. I can't think of any rabbis with the name "אדם", either, and, similar to the questioner, I can only think of one Jew whom I know to have that name. While I don't disagree with this answer, I think it's [continued] –  msh210 Apr 10 '11 at 7:20
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msh210, I do not disagree with anything you have said because it is all experiental information. Rabbi Adam Mintz is one I can think of offhand whom you surely have heard of. I know another Rabbi Adam (pronounced in the Ashkenazic Lashon HaKodesh form) who is a Mechanech in a major Jewish community in the midwest. Another Adam was 2 grades ahead of me in T.A. Baltimore. It is rare, more rare than Noach but the title's premise is really what I objected to. –  Yahu Apr 10 '11 at 23:50
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Question: Is Rabbi Mintz's Hebrew name "Adam"? Or Aharon or Avraham or something? The only pronounced-as-in-Hebrew "Adams" I know are baalei teshuva. msh210, good thinking to check wikipedia for rabbis' names! For contemporary names, maybe try onlysimchas? –  Shalom Apr 11 '11 at 12:08
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There was a Rabbi in Ropschitz known as Rabbi Adam Baal Shem chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/110432/jewish/… –  Gershon Gold Apr 11 '11 at 15:46
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Searched HebrewBooks for any author by the name Adam, found none. –  Barry Apr 11 '11 at 18:01
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Like the Zohar says, even a sefer Torah in the heichal has mazal (except ein mazal le-yisrael). Trends in names come and go. As it happens, a trend which Jews have settled in for centuries is to name after people. This is almost sufficient to limit names to those which are already in use. There aren't too many Natronais around these days either.

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I so want to name a kid Natronai! –  Seth J Feb 29 '12 at 23:36
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@SethJ I'm still waiting to meet someone's triplets: Mupim, Chupim and Ard. –  Double AA Jun 4 '12 at 8:02
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Personally, I think "Adam" as a Hebrew name is not popular because it does not sound nice in Hebrew. Are you saying "Adam", or "Red" or "ground"? Then there is the whole Edomite thing. But honestly, I think it's just because it doesn't sound nice. It also sounds rather boorish in Hebrew. Even the Israelis I know who have the name "Adam" pronounce it the english way and not the hebrew way.

It's sort of like the naming your kid 'Butch' today.

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As to your first reason, that it sounds like other words: In Hebrew, "red" is adom (adj.) or odem (n.), and "ground" is adama. "Edom" is edom, while "Edomite" is adomi. None of these sounds like adam ("Adam") any more than mashehu ("trifle") sounds like moshe ("Moses") or (except for S'faradim) yikov ("will curse") sounds like yaakov ("Jacob"). –  msh210 Sep 15 '11 at 20:57
    
Ok, I'm not sure which parts of Israel you live in, but I don't agree with your pronunciations. "Adam" in Hebrew sounds much more like "Odum" than "Adam" and just plain doesn't sound nice. mashehu, to me sound nothing like moshe. As for yaakov and yikov, again, I don't hear the similarities, but puns are made with Akev and yaakov often. His popularity seems to override the fact that all names CAN be made fun of. But some are just less nice sounding than others. You are unlikely to find the name Moran in America though it is popular here. –  avi Sep 16 '11 at 12:38
    
I live in the States, and "Adam" in modern Israel Hebrew is pronounced /adam/ (in IPA), which I rendered adam. Anyway, I was only quibbling with your first point, about the similarity to other words; I have no objection to your second, that it just plain sounds bad to Israelis. –  msh210 Sep 16 '11 at 13:52
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@DoubleAA, I know a Dudi. –  Seth J Jul 13 '12 at 20:39
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@SethJ In no way does that refute my point. But seriously, that's what he goes by in America? He didn't revert to David or Drew? –  Double AA Jul 13 '12 at 20:42
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I once read a tshuva from Reb Moshe Feinstien ZT"L about names and he said that a name needs a kabbala in order to give it. So the traditional names like Avraham, Yitzchak, Chaim, etc. are OK; on the other hand, although we find Reb Yishmael in the Gemorah, no one today can give that name, since it fell out of use. Also names like "Yom Tov" while common should only be given if your family has a tradition for using that name. So if you want to name your child Adam because it was a name in your family over the generations then go ahead.

I don't recall the exact tshuvah but I am sure you can easily find Rav Moshe's opinion in the Yad Moshe. What constitutes a kabbala and when it starts I also can't answer for you.

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Chaim is a traditional name? Who in Tanach is named Chaim? –  Double AA Jun 27 '13 at 13:47
    
Adam's wife. . . –  WAF Jun 27 '13 at 14:11
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What Reb Moshe was saying was that Names need a kabbala. Not that they need to be in Tanach. So if there if the name is commonly used it's ok. How a new tradition starts I do not know and dont have Reb Moshes sefer handy to look it up. –  eramm Jun 27 '13 at 15:29
    
@WAF I think you mean Chava –  eramm Jun 27 '13 at 15:30
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My family nickname is Adam so I've wondered about this. Notwithstanding any other answers, here are some rambling thoughts:

  • It occurs to me that the name "Man" as in the photographer Man Ray is fairly uncommon in English. One can call ones dog "Dog" but it is ironic because it is a bit strange.
  • He really was "the man"; Early in Beresheit we have Ha-Adam. So at least at first it isn't a personal name. Already the second human Hava/Eve had a name. As we know, Frankenstein was a doctor and there is Frankenstein's monster. But that creature is "the monster" and not "your table is ready Mr. Monster."
  • And we still have the generic usage as in the Shalom Hanoch song אדם בתוך עצמו הוא גר

But yes it does get used, just not that often. There is an Israeli peace activist Adam Keller, I can't think of any others.

On an unrelated note, in Kabbala there is both Adam Rishon (first) and Adam Kadmon, related to Adam Kadmoni (original) .

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Welcome to mi.yodeya, Aaron Meyerowitz, and thank you for posting your ideas on a topic that is clearly close to your heart! I look forward to seeing you around the site. –  WAF Jun 25 '13 at 19:31
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First of all, it is impossible to prove that something does not exist if you are not aware of other . One of my Hebrew names is Adam, and it was given to me by my parents. They are not God-hating people, and therefore they knew that naming me such a name would not be in violation of any part of our sacred Masoretic tradition.

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He was asking why it isn't common. And even the most God-loving people can make mistakes. –  Double AA Jul 13 '12 at 20:34
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@DoubleAA, calling it a mistake is a bit harsh. But I agree that the question is not assuming that Adam is not a good Jewish name, but rather asking why it is not a popular Jewish name (which I don't think is the case, either. I know many Adams, from very religious families, named after very religious forebears). –  Seth J Jul 13 '12 at 20:41
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@SethJ I wasn't saying it was a mistake just that the logic is quite flawed. FTR I very much like the name Adam. –  Double AA Jul 13 '12 at 20:43
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