"And you, [God said], what is your name? [Adam] said to him: It would be right to be called Adam, since I was created from the dirt (adamah)." Bereishit_Rabbah.17.4

It would be logical that smart Adam would attribute himself to God, because his soul is his true essence, and his body is temporal, however, he attributed himself to dirt and named himself after it.

What's so smart about naming himself Adam? Does it contradict the belief in souls' afterlife?

NB: Compare it to the blessing "the soul that you gave to ME is pure", so I am actually my body, rather than the soul.

  • He was naming his body not his soul
    – Chatzkel
    Jul 6, 2022 at 13:59
  • 1
    how would that contradict the belief in the souls' afterlife? how do you even make that connection?
    – ezra
    Jul 6, 2022 at 15:44
  • @ezra Because I am my soul, not my body, my soul will live and the body will be disposed.
    – Al Berko
    Jul 6, 2022 at 19:18

1 Answer 1


R. Yeshayahu ha-Lewi Horowitz in Shne Luhoth ha-Berith wrote:

God likes the Jewish people because even when they are riding high they still humble themselves, i.e. they behave as if they were מעט מכל העמים, the least significant of all nations. Abraham, for instance, described himself as: אנכי עפר ואפר, "I am but dust and ashes" (Genesis 18,27). Moshe and Aharon (Exodus 16,7) said of themselves: ונחנו מה, "What do we amount to?" Dowid described himself as: ואנכי תולעת ולא איש "I am only a worm, not a man" (Psalms 22,7)... The greatest virtue of all the virtues that exist is the virtue of humility. This is why the greatest of all prophets is credited in the Torah with only this virtue... If the first human being who was the direct creation of God Himself (and could have displayed pride therefore) is described as having been formed of earth, this is a subtle hint that we must practice humility. Man was also called אדם because this word is an acronym for the words אפר, דם, מרה, as mentioned in Tractate Sotah.

  • A very interesting twist. +1
    – Al Berko
    Jul 6, 2022 at 19:42

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