Is there any other information available on Adah and Tzillah, who are mentioned briefly in Bereshit chapter 4? Were they positive or negative role models?

Would it be appropriate to give one's daughter the name Adah or Tzillah?

  • I don't know anything about their being positive or negative role models or whether one should name a daughter after them (which is why I'm not posting this as an answer), but according to Midrash Raba (ad loc.) they convinced Adam to get back together with Chava, which led to Shes's birth (verse 25).
    – msh210
    Aug 16, 2015 at 4:02
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    Anecdotal: #1 In my wife's family, Tzillah has been used for many generations; and many of the fathers of Tzillah were (and are) Rabbinic figures. (You can read about one of them - Rebbetzin Tzillah Cohen - at hidabroot.org/he/article/2758) Aug 16, 2015 at 9:26
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    Anecdotal" #2 The Chazon Ish's nephew's wife (wife of Rav Meir Greineman) died 2 years ago and was called Tzillah - source bhol.co.il/article.aspx?id=54683 Aug 16, 2015 at 9:29
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    Anecdotal: #3 From the Lubavitcher-Rebbe's family - a Rebbetzin Tzillah Shneerson chabadpedia.co.il/index.php/… Aug 16, 2015 at 9:36
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    Never heard of people called Adah, maybe because Adah was the name of Esav's first wife. But they existed, as you can see from here (you can see most of the page w/o signing in) - billiongraves.com/pages/record/… - a Rebbetzin Adah Tzadikov's tombstone - פ"נ הרבנית עדה ב"ר נתן אשת הר"ר שלום בצלאל צדיקוב מליטא Aug 16, 2015 at 9:43

1 Answer 1

  1. Before the Mabul, men would marry two women: one to have children and one to satisfy their desires. Adah was the one Lamech married to have children, and Tzilah was the one he married for pleasure (Rashi to Bereishis 4:19, from Bereishis Rabbah 23:2; Yerushalmi Yevamos 37b has it vice versa).

  2. Adah and Tzilah refused to submit to Lamech. According to Rashi (ibid. v. 23), this was after Lamech accidentally killed Kayin, and according to Bereishis Rabbah (ibid. §4), this was because they knew the Mabul was coming. Either way, their concern was that they would have children who would be killed; Lamech responded, “You do your part, and Hashem will do His.”

And...that’s it. As far as I can tell, that’s literally all we know about them. Whether they’re positive or negative role models I suppose is up to the reader, but the Midrash seems to imply that Lamech was correct here, vis a vis “you do your part.”

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