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Well-behaved women seldom make history

Thursday, 23 January, 2020 - 10:14 pm

Question of the Week:

My name is Adina. I have always been proud of having a Hebrew name, and I love its meaning ("delicate"). But someone asked me who the original Adina was. And I had no idea what to answer. Is it a biblical name? I don't remember hearing of an Adina in the Torah. So where is my name actually from?


You may be surprised to learn the origins of your name. The first Adina was none other than the wife of Lavan the Aramean. That is Lavan the famous fraudster, sorcerer and crafty crook, about whom we read in the Haggadah on Pesach: "Lavan wanted to destroy everything." 

Lavan was not known for his good moral values. And yet, this piece of work was the father of Rachel and Leah, the righteous matriarchs of the Jewish people. How did such a shady character have such wonderful children? This was most likely due entirely to his delicate wife, Adina. 

All we know about her is her name. And that's all we need to know. Adina the delicate one. Don't be fooled by her soft and gentle nature. With her subtlety and quiet strength, she had the power to counter her husband's negative character, and bring up children who enlightened the world.

So that's where your name comes from. The delicate woman who single-handedly instilled her children with good character, and thereby shaped the Jewish future forever. She did it without her husband's support. Imagine what a like-minded couple can do. 

She wasn't well behaved according to her husband, but G-d would say she made history - Rabbi Kushi

Good Shabbos,

Rabbi Moss 

Sefer Hayashar, quoted in Seder Hadoros Year 2164. See also Year 2217, where it mentions another Adina, wife of Levi, daughter of Yovav ben Yoktan. This second Adina, unlike the first, joined the Jewish people, which is probably how the name became popular. We can only imagine how Leah felt when her son Levi married a woman with the same name as her mother. 


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