Jewish names are the hallmark of Jewish identity. This list aggregates common Jewish names from Biblical, Talmudic and post-Talmudic eras. Jewish parents name their children for (departed) loved ones, for special events, or choose any Jewish name that they find beautiful. A Jewish baby boy’s name is given at his circumcision, and a baby girl’s name is traditionally conferred at the Torah reading shortly after her birth.

Boys' Names | Girls' Names

Name Hebrew Gender Language Definition Variations
Abba אבא Male Hebrew "Father" Abba’le, Abbi.
It usually comes in conjunction with the name Abraham and secondary to it: "Avrohom Abba." The relationship between the two names is obvious: Abraham was the father of our nation (Gen. 17:5) . But it may also be used as an only name. Has been used since Talmudic times. Many great sages went by that name such as the Amora Rav, whose name was Abba Aricha; Rabbi Abba; Abba Uman and Abba Shaul.
Adam אדם Male Hebrew "Earth" Odom
Biblical. Genesis 1:27; refers to the first man G‑d created. With great wisdom, Adam named all the animals (The Midrash, Bereishit Raba 17:4).
Aharon אהרון (אהרן) Male Hebrew "Light; Teaching; Enlightening" Aron, Arik, Oren, Ore, Arel, Arele, Orel, Arke, Orke, Arush, Orush, Arushka, Arushke
The Biblical name of Moses’ brother, Aaron (Exodus 4:14; 6:20). Derived from the Hebrew word for light, ohr. Also from the Hebrew word for teaching; enlightening. Aharon was known for encouraging peace. He was the first High Priest and his descendants remain priests.
Akiva (Akiba) עקיבא Male Hebrew “Heel” Akavia, Kivi, Akiba.
Mishnaic. Variation of “Yaakov.” Rabbi Akiva was one of the greatest sages of all time.
Alexander, Aleksander אלכסנדר Male Old Greek "Helper of man; defender" Aleksender, Aliksender, Sender, Sander, Sandor, Sender, Sendush
Very often coupled with Ziskind. First used in Jewish circles in gratitude to Alexander the Great for his kindness to the Jewish nation during his battles to conquer the world. This form was so close to the non-Jewish family name that many Jews whose father's and grandfather's name was Sander, simply adopted the surnames Sanders or Saunders after migrating to English-speaking countries. Alexander also became a family name.
Alter אלטר Male Yiddish "Old one" Alter, Altir, Altmann
In Yiddish, an "old man." One of the amuletic names. This is one of the amuletic names. Often given to a newborn after another child in the family died at a young age. The name symbolizes a prayer for longevity. If a male child died soon after birth or very young, the next born male child was sometimes given the name Alter alone, or in combination with another name. The parents, in giving the name, expressed their prayer that the newborn child should live to be an old man. See also Alte. The family name Alter is a derivative. (Not to be confused with the family name Altar which has a completely different etymological origin. Altar was a small island in a river in medieval France. After a local pogrom, some Jews who escaped adopted the name of their place of birth as their family name.)
Amos עמוס Male Hebrew “Laden”
Biblical. Amos was one of the twelve minor prophets whose prophesies are recorded in the Tanach in books bearing their names. The Book of Amos is the third of twelve.
Amram עמרם Male Hebrew “Exalted Nation” Rami
Biblical. Amram, son of Kehot, led the Jewish people in Egypt and fathered three of the greatest leaders in Jewish history: Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.
Ariel אריא-ל Male Hebrew “Lion of G‑d Ari
Biblical. Isaiah 29:1–8, as a reference to Jerusalem.
Aryeh, Aryeih Leib ארי'ה לייב Male Hebrew "Lion" Leib, Leibel, Leibele, Leibish, Leibush, Lev, Levke, Aryeh, Ari, Arik, Artze, Artzi, Arke, Arel
The symbol of the Tribe of Judah, indicating strength and fearlessness. Often paired with its Yiddish translation, Leib. Yehudah took the lion as the symbol of his Tribe, and as Jerusalem became the capital of the Kingdom of Yehudah, the lion is the symbol of the City of Jerusalem. Biblical. Bereishit, 49:9. Leib is Yiddish for "lion," and as the symbol of the Tribe of Judah is a lion, Leib is used also together with the name Yehudah. See also Yehudah Leib. The family name Leibler derives from this form. From the early Yiddish forms Lowe and Lobl, there were derived the names Loew and Loebel—Lobel. In certain countries, Jews with the name Aryeh or Yehudah used other translations such as Leon and Leo. From these translations there developed the family names Leeman and Lehman. Not to be confused with the family name Leiman, a derivative of Lemu'eil.
Asher אשר Male Hebrew "Happy one" Osher, Osherel, Osher'l, Asherel, Anshel (Anschel), Anshil (Anschil), Anselm, Anzel, Anzil, Enzel, Enzil, Enzlin, Henzel, Henzil, Zeligl, Zelikl, Zeligmanl, Zelikman, Zelle
Son of Jacob and father of one of the 12 tribes. Named, “Because of my good fortune, for women have declared me fortunate.” Often paired with its Yiddish equivalent, Zelig. On Asher's birth Lei'ah proclaimed, "For my happiness; for daughters will call me happy. And she called his name Asher." Father of the Tribe carrying his name.
Avraham אברהם Male Hebrew "Exalted father" Abraham, Avram, Avrom, Avremel, Avremele, Avremka, Avremke
The Biblical name of the Jewish patriarch Abraham. Originally named Abram (ibid. 11:26), indicating that he was the “spiritual” father of his native land of Aram, G‑d added the Hebrew letter hei, changing his name to Abraham. His new name established him as the leader of the entire world, the “father of a multitude of nations” (see the commentary of Rashi on ibid 17:5). Abraham was known particularly for his hospitality. Biblical. Bereishit, 17:5. Avraham Eiver is a two name combination which is still in use. The diminutive of Eiver is Eivril, and hence we get Avraham Eivril. See also Eiver. Care must be taken not to confuse the diminutive Avril from Avraham; nor the diminutive Evril from Efraiyim.
Avigdor אביגדור Male Hebrew “Fence father” Abigdor, Avi
Biblical. I Chronicles 4:4, 4:18. The Midrash writes that this was one of Moses’ ten names. According to Me’am Loez he was called this (by his grandfather Kehot), because “since Moshe’s birth, G‑d has fenced in Pharaoh, not allowing him to continue his decree to drown Jewish infants.”
Avner (Abner) אבנר Male Hebrew “Lamp father” Abner, Avi
Biblical. I Samuel 14:50. Avner was King Saul’s cousin and the general of his army. Rashi (ad loc.) elaborates about his father: Ner was Saul’s uncle, the brother of Kish, and they were both the sons of Abiel. Abiel was also known as Ner (“lamp”), in (I) Chron. (8:33), because he would light candles for the public in the dark streets.
Azriel עזריאל Male Hebrew "My help is G‑d" Ezriel, Esriel, Ezzy,
Biblical. Chronicles I, 27:19. Azriel was also one of the leaders of the tribe of Menasseh who was taken into exile by the kings of Assyria.
Barak ברק Male Hebrew “Lightning”
Biblical. Judges 4-5. Together with Deborah, Barak led a small Israelite army in battle against the occupying armies of the Canaanite king, Jabin, and his general, Sisera. They were victorious and regained their independence.
Baruch,(Benedikt) ברוך Male Hebrew "Blessed one" Boruch, Boruch, Bendet, Bendet'l, Bendit, Benedikt
Biblical. Jeremiah, 32:12. Baruch was a priest (“Kohen”) and a prophets (The Talmud, Megillah 14b). He was a trustworthy assistant to Jeremiah. Baruch transcribed many of the prophesies of Jeremiah (ibid 36:4). When G‑d told Jeremiah to purchase a piece of land, he entrusted Baruch with the deed (ibid 32:12). The Jewish family name Benedikt is derived from the Latin translation of Barukh.
Bentziyon (Benzion) בנציון Male Hebrew "Son of Zion" Bentzion, Bentze, Bentche, Bentzel, Bentzil, Benchel, Benchil
Non Biblical. An expression of pining for the Jewish nation to return to its homeland, Israel, and especially Jerusalem, which is referred to as Zion in the Bible (II Samuel 5:7; I Kings 8:1). Can be written as one word or as two words, but only in Hebrew. In English it is normally written as one word.
Berekhyah ברכיה Male Hebrew "Blessed of the L-rd" Birach, Birech, Beirach, Beirech, Beirich
Biblical. Zecharyah, 1:7. Father of the Prophet Zecharyah.
Betzalel בצלאל Male Hebrew "In the shade of the Lord" Betzaleil, Tzalel, Zalel, Zale, Tzalke, Tzali, Zalke, Tzalka, Zalka
Biblical, Exodus, 31:2. The biblical Betzalel was endowed with super artistic talents by the Almighty. He was the lead architect in charge of building the travelling Tabernacle (the “Mishkan”). The name refers to his immense wisdom (Brachot 55a). G‑d rewarded his dedication to the task by recording the details of the building in great detail (The Midrash, Shemot Rabah 50:3).
Binyamin (Benjamin) בנימין Male Hebrew "Son of the right (hand); Son of old age" Benyamin, Benyomin, Beinush, Beinis, Binis, Benji, Ben
Biblical, Genesis 35:18. The youngest son of Jacob and Rachel. Benjamin looked like his mother who died during his birth (Zohar 1:202b). “He did not slander with his tongue, (Psalms15:3),” refers to Benjamin (The Midrash, Shocher Tov 15:6). Father of the tribe carrying his name.
Boaz בועז Male Hebrew “Strength within”
Biblical. Ruth. Relative of Naomi, husband of Ruth, and progenitor of the Davidic dynasty. The story of his marriage to Ruth is recorded in the Book of Ruth, which is read on Shavuot in many communities.
Bunim בונים Male Hebrew "Good name" Bunim, Bunem, Bonim, Bonem, Binim, Binem
Very often combined with the name Simhah (Simhah Bunim).Reason unknown. Some authorities claim that the name derives from the French bon homme (a good man). It is this author's contention that the name Shem Tov was very popular in pre-expulsion Spain; and this opinion is based on the dozens of Rabbis of pre-expulsion Spain who carried the Hebrew name Shem Tov.During the emigration to France, the name was translated to French. During the following centuries of wandering from country to country the two words bon nomme became contracted to one word. Finally, the pronunciation was influenced by local phonetics.I have yet to discover at any time in history, a Jew with the Hebrew name Ish Tov—a Good Man. A Yiddish name Gutman did eventually evolve independently. Gutmann (Gutman) also became a family name (and in English, Goodman). Bueno (Spanish: good) was a popular name amongst Jews of the Iberian Peninsula:* It is this name that eventually became the Yiddish Gutman. The Gut meaning good, and the man, either the Old German diminutive suffix, or simply the word for a man—meaning a good man. For the female equivalent, see Buna.
Calev (Caleb) כָּלֵב Male Hebrew “All heart”
Biblical. Numbers 13:6. One of the twelve spies sent to Canaan to reconnoiter the land. He and Joshua were the only two spies who remained faithful to their mission and did not endorse the negative report conveyed by their colleagues. According to the Midrash, he was the husband of Miriam..
Chaggai (Haggai) חגי Male Hebrew “Festive” Haggai
Biblical. Chaggai was one of the twelve minor prophets whose prophesies are recorded in the Tanach in books bearing their names. The Book of Chaggai is the third of twelve.
Ehud אהוד Male Hebrew “I shall praise”
Biblical. The name of the second judge of Israel. As related in Judges 3, he was famous for slaying King Eglon of Moab.
Eitan איתן Male Hebrew “Mighty”
Biblical. Eitan was among the Levites who sang in the Tabernacle (later the Holy Temple) in Jerusalem. He is cited as the composer of Psalm 89.
Eldad אלדד Male Hebrew “Companion [of] G‑d”
Biblical. Eldad was one of the two people who “prophesied in the camp,” as recorded in Numbers 11..
Eli עלי Male Hebrew “Exalted one”
Biblical. Eli was the High Priest in the Book of Samuel, under whose watch Samuel was initiated into the Divine Service. (In English, it appears to be a short version of Eliezer or Elijah, but the Hebrew is spelled differently, and it is an independent, unrelated name.) .
Chanoch חנוך Male Hebrew "Dedicated; Educated and raised correctly" Hanokh, Henikh, Henich, Henel, Henli, Hendl, Hendel, Hendil, Enikh, Einikh
Biblical. Genesis, 5:18,21,24. A seventh-generation descendant of Adam known for his righteousness, “And Enoch walked with G‑d.” (ibid. 5:24) Son of Yered and father of Metushelah, the oldest human that ever lived—969 years. Hanokh was the great-grandfather of Noah. The Torah records that he did not die, but was taken alive to G‑d on account of righteousness. A seventh-generation descendant of Adam known for his righteousness, “And Enoch walked with G‑d.” (ibid. 5:24)
Chayim (Chaim) חיים Male Hebrew "Life, "Living" Chai, Hai, Heiman, Heyman, Chayyimel, Chayyimka, Cheikel, Vital, Vidal, Feitel, Veis, Feis, Feist
Hebrew. Non-biblical. In Judaism, life is highly valued. In fact, it takes precedence over all but three commandments. The name Chaim is sometimes added to a very sick person’s name, to help ensure recovery.
Chizkiyahu חיזקיהו Male Hebrew "Strengthened by the L-rd; My strength is the L-rd" Hizkiyahu, Hezekiah, Hiz, Hess
Biblical. Kings II, 18:1. The Biblical name of the righteous King of Judah, Hezekiah. Hezekiah was given this name because G‑d strengthened him, and he in turn strengthened the Jewish nation’s service of their Creator (The Talmud, Sanhedrin 94a). Characterized by his humility (The Midrash, Midrash Hagadol, Vayikra 14)
Dan דן Male Hebrew "To judge"
The son of Jacob. Of Biblical origin, Genesis 30:6. It is said of his descendants that they are "energetic, astute and innumerable” (The Midrash, Targum Yonatan Breishit 46:23).
Daniel דניאל Male Hebrew "G‑d is my Judge" Dan'l, Denel, Dan, Dani, Dany, Danny
Biblical, Daniel 1:6-7. A prophet who authored the Book of Daniel, lived in Babylon and prophesied about the Messianic era. Much beloved, he spent his time assisting the poor, bringing joy to brides and escorting the deceased on their final journeys (Avot D'Rabbi Nathan 4:5). Daniel and Moses are considered the two defenders of the Jewish nation before G‑d (The Midrash, Shemot Rabah 43:1). Dan was an independent name even before the name Daniel. One of the sons of the Patriarch Yakov (Jacob) was named Dan, and hence the progenitor of the Tribe carrying his name.
David דויד Male Hebrew "Friend" Dovid, Dovid'l, Dovidka, Dovidke, Devel, Dewil, Tevel, Tevil, Tevele
Biblical, Ruth, 4:13-21. The Biblical name of King David (Samuel I 16:13). Originally a kind and innovative shepherd (The Midrash, Shemot Raba 2:2), when he became king he cared for the Jewish nation in a similar manner. (The Midrash, Breishit Raba 59:5). Known for his sweet voice, constant praise of G‑d, and for authoring the Book of Psalms (The Midrash, Shocher Tov 18:2). Devel evolved by the elision of the second ד and the adding of the Germanic diminutive el—Davel became Devel. The v-sounding consonant in Tevel can be expressed with either the וו of Yiddish or the ב (Ashkenazi, pronunciation veis). This form of Tevel in writing is not to be confused with the Yiddish diminutive Tevia-Tevel of Tuviah, nor with the female names Teibel and Teibil.
Dov (Dov Ber) (דב בער (דובער Male Hebrew "A bear" Dover, Duber, Ber, Bere, Berel, Berele, Berelein, Berelin, Berlin, Berke, Berko, Berek, Berik, Berish, Berush,
Hebrew, non-Biblical. Dov and Ber share the same letters at the end of Dov and the beginning of Ber. Phonetically it was inevitable that they should contract together to make one name. From Berko there developed amongst Slavic-speaking Jews, the family name Berkowitz and its variant spellings. One of the male animal names. In German, hence in Yiddish, Ber. While adult bears are huge and heavy, cubs usually weigh just a few pounds. It is with extensive care, love and nurturing that the cub becomes a large bear. Proverbs describes a bear whose cub is lost, “May a bereaving bear encounter a person rather than a fool with his folly” (17:12). The closer a parent and child, the most painful it is when they are separated. The name is many times paired with its Yiddish translation, Ber; sometimes considered a single name Dovber.
Efrayim אפרים Male Hebrew "Fruitful" Efroimke, Efroimka, Efroike, Efroika, Efroimel, Froim, Froimke, Froimka, Froimel, Evril,
From the root "Peri." The name is in the plural form. Biblical. Genesis, 41:52.37. The son of Joseph. He was born in Egypt and Joseph proclaimed. “G‑d has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction” (ibid). Efrayim was humble and spent time studying with his grandfather, Jacob (The Midrash, Tanchuma Vayechi 6).
Eliyahu (Elijah) אליהו Male Hebrew "My G‑d is L-rd" Eliyahu, Eliyohu, Elya, Elye, Eli, Elik, Elinke, Elinka
Biblical. I Kings, 17:1. The Biblical name for Elijah the Prophet (Kings I 17:1). It is said that Elijah attends every ritual circumcision, and will herald the coming of the Messianic era.
Ever (Eber) עבר Male Hebrew "To go over" Eivril, Eiver, Eiverman
Root of the word Ivri (a Hebrew). Note the structure of the non-Hebrew word "over" which in Hebrew would imply went or came over. Biblical. Exodus, 10:21-22. Noah’s grandchild Eber was Abraham’s spiritual mentor, and part of the reason Abraham was called Ivri, a derivative of Eber (The Midrash, Breishit Raba 42:8). According to the Midrash, when the inhabitants of the world wished to do evil, G‑d gave them two strong leaders, Shem and Eber (ibid. 52:11). Later, when Jacob was fleeing from his brother Esau he hid for fourteen years at the ""Academy of Shem and Eber"", where he studied Torah (The Talmud, Megillah 17a).
Elazar (Lazarus) אלעזר Male Hebrew "G‑d has helped" Elozor, Elozer, Lozor, Lozer, Lozir
Biblical. Exodus, 6:23. 44. Often confused with Eliezer. They have since old been two distinct names, notwithstanding that they are etymologically identical. The son of the High Priest Aaron. Elazar succeeded his father as the High Priest and worked with Joshua on dividing and conquering the Land of Israel (Isaiah 14:1).
Elchanan אלחנן Male Hebrew "G‑d has graced" Elhonon, Elchonon, Hanan, Chanan, Honon, Choni, Chone, Chona,
Biblical. Samuel II, 23:24. Chronicles I, 11:26. Was a member of the family that wove the curtains in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. He was one of the “mighty warriors” of King David’s army (Chronicles I 11:26).
Eliezer אליעזר Male Hebrew "My G‑d helps" Leizer, Leizir, Leizerel, Leizerke, Lazer.
Biblical. Genesis, 15:2. Abraham’s servant. Most known for his involvement in being Abraham’s emissary to find a wife for Isaac (Genesis ch. 24), he hailed from Damascus and was influenced by Abraham to embrace a life of monotheism. After mastering Abraham’s teachings, he taught others (The Talmud, Yoma 28b).
Elimelech (Elimelekh) אלימלך Male Hebrew "My G‑d is king" Melekh, Melech, Melikh, Meilekh, Meilikh, Meilech
Biblical. Ruth, 1:2. Of Biblical origin (Biblical. Ruth 1:2); the husband of Naomi, and father-in-law of Ruth who was the great-grandmother of King David. He was considered a role model in his generation (The Midrash, Avot D'Rabbi Nathan 37), and a man of great strength (The Midrash, Tanchuma Shemini 9). Many exemplary Hassidic leaders have been given this name, including the well known Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk.
Elyakim אליקים Male Hebrew "G‑d will Establish" Elyakim, Elyokum, Yokim, Yokum, Yoki
Biblical. Melakhim 11, 18:18. 51. The Biblical spelling is Elyakim with a ' (i), but there developed a form with the spelling Elyakum with a 1 (u), also. The meaning remains the same. An officer in the royal court of King Hezekiah, king of Judah. Eliakim did not call himself a servant of G‑d, so G‑d gave him his name (Isaiah 22:20), “I will call My servant Eliakim” (The Midrash, Targum Yonatan, Bamidbar 11:26).
Ezra עזרא Male Hebrew “Help; assistance” Ezra, Esdras
Biblical (Book of Ezra). Ezra the Scribe led the second wave of Jews returning from Babylon to Israel. He headed the religious revival of the people there at the beginning of the Second Temple era. He also led the Men of the Great Assembly, one of the most influential groups of scholars in Jewish history.
Fishel פישל Male Yiddish "Fish" Fish, Feish, Fishel, Fishil, Feishel, Feishil, Vish'l
The name represents the blessing Jacob gave to his grandchildren (Genesis 48:16), “May they multiply abundantly like fish, in the midst of the land.” Many bless their children with these same words on the eve of Shabbat. For this reason Fishel is often paired with Efrayim. Efrayim was one of Jacob’s children, whose children were numerous
Feivish פייויש Male Yiddish "Light"
In Judaism, light is often related to spirituality and G‑dliness. Light is also used to bring warmth and happiness to Shabbat, festivals, and joyous occasions – where we make sure to light candles to make the house brighter. Ecclesiastes says, “And I saw that wisdom has an advantage over folly, as the advantage of light over darkness” (2:13), the Hassidic masters explain, that “a little bit of light dispels much darkness” (The Tanya ch. 13).
Gad גד Male hebrew "Fortune, success, troop"
Biblical. Genesis 30:11. The son of Jacob. When he was born his mother Leah said, “Luck has come.” She called him luck. He was born circumcised (Rashi ibid.).
Gavriel (Gabriel) גבריאל Male Hebrew "G‑d's man" Gaby, Gavi, Gavri
Of Biblical origin (Daniel 8:16); refers to a particular angel.
Gedaliah גדליה Male Hebrew "G‑d is great" Gedalyah, Godul, Godel, Godil, Godol
Of Biblical origin Jeremiah 40:7. Gedaliah was appointed governor over the Land of Judah after the first holy Temple was destroyed in 423 BCE. A good and just leader, he encouraged the Jews to live peacefully under Babylonian rule. Under his guidance, Jewish teachings prospered once again in the Land of Israel and Jews began returning from exile in Babylonia. Jeremiah prophesied that if the people followed Gedaliah, life would improve (Jeremiah ch. 40). Paternal grandfather of Tzefanyah the Prophet.
Gershom גרשם Male Hebrew "Stranger there" Gedalyah, Godul, Godel, Godil, Godol
Of Biblical origin, Exodus 2:22. Moses’ eldest son. His mother Zipporah called him Gershom because, "I was a stranger in a foreign land." (ibid.), so that the name would remind him that he is ‘there’ away from other Jews, in a strange land. Rabbeinu Gershom Mehor Hagola was a famous sage by that name.
Getzel געצל Male Yiddish “G‑dly” Getzy
Either a diminutive of the German name Gottfried, which means "at peace with G‑d," or it comes from the German name Gottschalk, which means "unfaithful to G‑d." Though the latter explanation seems odd, those who propound this theory note that the Hebrew name Elyakim is commonly given together with the name Getzel. El yakim means "G‑d will establish," implying that although the Jewish people were at one time "unfaithful to G‑d (Gottschalk)" and were therefore exiled, soon G‑d will reestablish our relationship—Elyakim.
Hoshea הושע Male Hebrew ”Pleasantness”
Biblical. Hoshea was the first of the twelve minor prophets whose prophecies are recorded in the Tanach in books bearing their names.
Immanuel עמנואל Male Hebrew "G‑d is with us" Emanuel, Manuel, Meni, Moni, Monye, Monya, Manya, Monel, Monoil
Biblical. Isaiah 7:14. Refers to the son of the Prophet Isaiah. Ahaz prophesied that the Kingdom of Judah would be victorious against its adversaries, and promised that as a sign, G‑d would bless Isaiah’s wife with an infant, and “she shall call his name Immanuel,”- “G‑d is with us” (ibid.)
Kalonymus קלונימוס Male Old Greek Kalon—"beautiful;" Nymus—"name" Kolonymus, Kalman, Kalmenka, Kalmenke
In Ecclesiastes (7:1) we read, “A [good] name is better than good oil.” Good oil is temporary, but a good name is eternal (Rashi ad loc). Rabbi Shimon used to say, “There are three crowns: the crown of Torah, the crown of priesthood and the crown of sovereignty, but the crown of a good name surmounts them all” (Ethics of Our Fathers 4:13).
Kuni קוני Male Old Spanish "Childish" Kooni, Kuna, Kune, Kunya, Kunye
Children are pure and without sin. We guide them and help mold them into responsible adults. As we mature, we should try to remain pure and sinless, like a child.
Lemuel למואל Male Hebrew "Belonging to G‑d" Lemueil, Lemoel, Leme, Lemel, Lemla, Lemle, Lemke, Lemki, Lemken, Lemkin, Lemlein, Lemlin, Lam, Lamlin Lima, Leima, Liman, Leiman, Lemekhel, Lemekhil
Lemu/Lemo plus Eil. A contraction of both words. Biblical. Proverbs, 31:2-9. Refers to King Solomon. He is called Lemuel in reference to one of his prophesies that he said, “for [the sake of] G‑d” (Rashi ad loc). Also called Lemuel because he dedicated his life to serving G‑d. The opening passage of Proverbs, 31:1 can be read in two ways, with two results. If the comma is placed after the word melekh (king), then it refers to King Shlomoh, and it then means that he is counselling with his mother's advice, and he was also called Lemueil (belonging to G‑d), as one dedicating his life to serving G‑d. Other authorities claim that the comma should be after the next word Massa, and that the counsel is the words of the mother of Lemueil, King of Massa. The passage would then be a general advice to all kings, with Lemueil used as the negative example of a foolish king.
Levi לוי Male Hebrew "Attached to me" Levik
Of Biblical origin, Genesis 29:34; the third son of Leah and Jacob. With the birth of her third, Leah had more children than any of Jacob’s other wives, so she felt, “my husband will be attached to me” (ibid.)
Lieber ליבער Male Yiddish "Loved one; Beloved" Liber, Liber'l, Liberman, Lieberman, Liebman, Lippa, Lippe, Lipa, Lipe, Lipman, Lippman, Lippmann, Lipka, Lipke,
A name of endearment. Used in Yiddish. It is possible that the name Lieber is a breakaway from the full name Gottlieb and became detached due to the Jewish sensitivity of uttering G‑d's name in vain.
Maharam מהרם Male Hebrew Acronym for Meir of Rothenburg Maram, Marem, Marim, Marum, Meiram, Maieram
The name Maharam is an acronym for Rabbi Meir of Rothenburg of Germany who was universally acknowledged as the leading authority on Jewish law in his generation. Known as “Rabbi of Rabbis” and “Light of the Exile”, he was so beloved by his followers that many of them named their sons Maharam in his honor. There were other sages who had the same first name such as the Maharam of Lublin and Maharam Shif.
Malachi מלאכי Male Hebrew “Angelic”
Biblical. Malachi was one of the twelve minor prophets whose prophecies are recorded in the Tanach in books bearing their names. The Book of Malachi is the third of twelve.
Meir מאיר Male Hebrew "To give light" Meyer, Mayer, Meirel, Meiril, Meirke
Hebrew, non-Biblical. The name of the Mishnaic Sage, Rabbi Meir, who gathered and recorded all of the teachings that had been passed down orally for generations. Rabbi Meir undertook this task when the Romans forbade the study of Torah, for he realized writing it down was the only way to ensure its perpetuation. Rabbi Meir was successful in his task, and the book of the Mishnah was born. The Talmud testifies that his intellect was so keen, his sagacious colleagues were unable to plumb the depths of his ideas (Eruvin 13a).
Menachem מנחם Male Hebrew "Comforter", To comfort" Menacheim, Menahem, Mann, Mannele, Mannkhen, Menke, Mendel, Mendil, Mendl, Munczia, Menni, Meni, Menkhin
Biblical. Kings II, 15:14. Sixteenth king of Yisrael. A name common amongst the sages of the Talmudic era. The family name Mendelbaum presumably derives from the name Mandelbaum, the a having been replaced with the e because of the common use of Mendel as a personal name. Menahem Mendel is a common combination.
Menashe (Menasseh) מנשה Male Hebrew "To make forget" Manasseh, Manish, Monish, Monash, Mannes, Mannis, Manis, Monnis
Of Biblical origin. Genesis 41:51. The elder son of Joseph and Asnat. “Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh, for ‘G‑d has caused me to forget all my toil and my father's house’” (ibid). Father of the half-tribe carrying his name. At least one Jewish family adopted the name Monash, a diminutive, as a family name, the celebrated General Sir John Monash of Melbourne, Australia. His mother was a sister of the more famous Jewish historian, Heinrich Graetz. The diminutive form Mannes also became a family name.
Mendel מענדל Male Hebrew "Comforter" Mendl, Mendil, Mendy, Meni
Is a derivative of the name Menachem and often used in tandem. Many great sages had the name Menachem Mendel such as Rabbi Menachem Mendel Horodoker, teacher of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Lubavitch, third Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, seventh Chabad Rebbe as well as Menachem Mendel of Rimonov.
Meshulam משולם Male Hebrew "Paid for", Perfect" Meshulom, Shulam, Shil'm, Shalom, Sholom, Shulman
Of Biblical origin (see for example Kings II 22:3: Nehemiah 8:4). The Prophet Zechariah was also called Meshulam because he was perfect in his deeds (The Talmud, Megillah 23a)
Michael מיכאל Male Hebrew "Who is like G‑d?"
(Who can be compared to G‑d?) Biblical. Daniel, 12:1. Refers to an angel whose task is to express that no one can be compared to G‑d. Name of the second Angel, after Gavri'eil, who appeared to Dani'eil in his Prophetic vision, to reassure him with good counsel and the protection of the Jewish People. Mikhal became a family name. Possibly also from the female name Miklah. Ikhal Mikhal is an uncommon form derived from phonetic playfulness. See also Yehi'eil, which together with Mikhal is a popular combination of names. This rare form Ikhal Mikhal became so entrenched that it was used even for one whose name was Mikhal only.
Mordechai (Mordecai) מרדכי Male Aramaic "The head of the fragrance" Mordekhai, Mordel, Mordush, Motta, Motte, Motti, Motka, Motke, Moddel, Mottel, Morkl, Morkel, Morkil
Biblical. Esther, 2:5. Refers to the leader of the Jewish nation during the story of Purim. Mordechai was of the Tribe of Binyamin. He authored the Megillat Ester, read on Purim. The verse in Ecclesiastes (2:26), “To the man who pleases Him He has given wisdom, knowledge and joy,” refers to Mordechai (The Talmud, Megillah 10b). Mordechai is a combination of the Aramaic words mira dachia, meaning “head of the fragrance” (Exodus 30:23). The implication is that he will lead the Jewish nation and the righteous of his generation (Chulin 139b; see Rashi ad loc).
Moshe (Moses) משה Male Hebrew "To withdraw" Moshka, Moshke, Moishe, Meisha, Meishe, Meishel, Meishele, Meishil, Meshel, Meshil
Biblical. Exodus 2:10. Biblical name for Moses who led the Israelites out of Egypt and through the desert for forty tumultuous years until they reached the Land of Israel. During that time, he ascended to Heaven to bring down two sets of Tablets and learned the Torah directly from G‑d, and yet we know that “The man Moses was exceedingly humble, more than any man on the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3). One of his primary roles was defending the Jewish nation and their wrongdoings in the desert (The Talmud, Brachot 32a). Before Moses was born, Pharaoh had decreed that all Jewish male infants should be thrown into the water to die. Moses parents tried to save him by placing him inside a protective basket in the Nile river. Pharaoh’s daughter, Batya, rescued him and raised him in Pharaoh’s palace. “She named him Moses, ""For I drew him from the water” (Exodus 2:10).
Naftali (Naphtali) נפתלי Male Hebrew "I bonded; I prayed; I stubbornly (pleaded)". Naftoli, Tolli, Tali, Tully, Tuli, Natti, Naftoli Hertz
There are a number of possible meanings of this name. It depends on how one extracts the root of the word. It can be from Petil, a "bond," here meaning a bond with G‑d. It can also be from the root Nafal, "to fall (prostate) in prayer." Another root could be Naftul, "to wrestle with"—hand to hand combat. Biblical. Genesis, 30:8. the son of Bilhah (Rachel’s maidservant) and Jacob. Known for his swiftness and likened to a deer (The Talmud, Sotah 13a), Naftali honored his father greatly by fulfilling many of his missions (The Midrash, Bamidbar Raba 14:11). Because of his swiftness, he was selected to bring the good news that Joseph was still alive to his father Jacob (Genesis 45:26). Rachel named him because, “With divine bonds I have been joined to my sister” (ibid 30:8). Although she did not yet have a child of her own, her maidservant’s child helped bond her with her sister Leah who had many. Naftali is considered G‑d’s response to Rachel’s prayers for a child she could call her own (see Rashi ad loc).
Natan (Nathan) נתן Male Hebrew "He (G‑d) gave" Nosson, Notta, Nosson Notte, Nossel, Notta, Notte, Nottel, Nottele, Notka, Notke, Notinka, Notinke, Nussun, Nussy
Biblical. Samuel II, 12:1, 5:14. One of the early prophets from King David’s era. Also the name of King David’s son (ibid. 5:14). The family name Notkin and Natkin derive from the diminutive form, Notke.
Netanel נתנאל Male Hebrew "G‑d has given" Natanel, Nati, Naty, Nesanel, Sanel, Sanne
Biblical. Numbers, 1:8. The name of the “prince” (leader) of the tribe of Issachar when the Jews were travelling through the desert after the Exodus. Known for his scholarliness (The Midrash, Bamidbar Raba 13:17).
Noach (Noah) נח Male Hebrew "Rested"
Biblical. Genesis 5:29. The Biblical name for Noah, who was born into a tumultuous world; a time of violence and self-absorption (ibid. 6:5). When Noah was born his father said, “This one will give us rest from our work.” We know that Noah was righteous, “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the G‑d... Noah was a righteous man he was perfect in his generation; Noah walked with G‑d” (ibid. 6:8-9). Noah is most known for building the ark where his family and the animals were sheltered from the flood which destroyed the world. (ibid. ch. 7).
Noam נועם Male Hebrew ”Pleasantness”
Biblical. Psalms 90:17.This psalm is one of several authored by Moses. After the Tabernacle was assembled, Moses blessed the Jewish people that G‑d’s pleasantness rest upon them. (Rashi Exodus 39:43, Leviticus 9:23.)
Pinchas (Phineas) פנחס Male Hebrew "Compassionate face" Pinhas, Pinchas'l, Pinna, Pinne, Pinya, Pinye, Pini, Pinnel
Biblical. Exodus, 6:25. The grandson of the first High Priest, Aaron. He led several wars and is most known for protesting the public desecration of the G‑d’s name. The name is usually broken into two Hebrew words: pi(mouth), andnahash(snake). It is difficult to understand why parents would give such a name to their son. Notwithstanding that in proper names the Hebrew letters 0, V), and tD are interchanged, the Hebrew word for snake is written with a 0, and the name Pinhas is written with a 0. It seems to me that another breakdown of the name is also possible.Pin(face) andhas(compassion). It makes more sense to call a child the one with the ""compassionate face."" Angered by the desecration of the name of G‑d, he rose in the defense of the Almighty's honour and slew Zimri, a chief of the Tribe of Shimon who had brazenly brought a Midianite woman into the Jewish camp and had relations with her during a session of Torah that was being held by Moshe and all the chiefs of all the Tribes of Yisrael. The name is the symbol of one who defends the honour of G‑d.
Refael (Rephael) רפאל Male Hebrew "G‑d has healed" Rafael, Rafi, Raffy, Fol, Folle, Folk, Follik, Folka, Folke
Biblical. Chronicles I, 26:7. The name of the angel who came to heal Abraham three days after his circumcision. One of the Jews who went up to the Holy Land from the Babylonian exile.
Reuven (Reuben) ראובן Male Hebrew “See son” Reuben, Ruvi, Ruby
Biblical. Genesis 29:32. Reuven was the eldest of Jacob's twelve sons. Jacob had intended to marry Rachel, but was tricked by his father-in-law into first marrying Leah – Reuben's mother. When she gave birth to her oldest, she chose the name Reuben, saying, "Because the L‑rd has seen my affliction, for now my husband will love me." The name is made up of two halves; "re'u" means "look" or "see," and "ben" means "son." Thus, the name Reuben expresses the fact that "re'u" - G‑d saw my needs, and therefore blessed me with "ben" - a son. For more on this, see: What Does the Name Reuben Mean?
Shabtai שבתי Male Hebrew "Born on Shabbat, Sabbatical" Shabetai, Shabsi, Shabsil, Shabsel, Shabtil, Shabtel, Shebtil, Shebtel, Shepsil, Shepsel, Sheptil, Sheptel,
Of Biblical origin, Nehemiah 8:7. Often given when a child is born on Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath. One of the head Levites of those that returned to the Holy Land from the Babylonian exile.
Shachna שכנא Male Hebrew "To dwell" Shakhna, Shachne, Shechna, Shechne, Shalom Shachna, Sholom Shachna
Biblical. Ezra, 10:2, Nehemiyah, 6:18, 12:3, Chronicles I, 3:21, 24:11, Chronicles II, 31:15.Probably a shortened form (diminutive) of the full name Shekhanyah—""in the presence of G‑d."" Six biblical personalities carried this name. The combination Shalom Shachna is very common and the reason therefore is to be found in the Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Shabbat, Folio 12a-12b. The name of a Talmudic scholar who made a point of greeting sick people with the word “shalom,” peace (The Talmud, Shabbat 12b, see the Tosofot ad loc). For this reason, the name Shachna is often paired with the name Shalom.
Shalom שלום Male Hebrew "Peace,a man of peace" Sholom, Shulom, Shulem, Sholly, Sholom'ke
Hebrew, non-Biblical. A tombstone inscription in the German colony, a suburb of Jerusalem, carries the names Shalom and Mattyah, her sons, Shlomtzion and Dostam. The name Shalom, here inscribed, refers to a woman. The grave and its tombstone antedates 1500 CE.
Shaul (Saul) שאול Male Hebrew "Asked for; borrowed" Saul, Sholikeh, Shaoil, Shoi'el, Shoi'l
Biblical. Samuel I, 9:1-2. The first Jewish king in the Land of Israel. Saul displayed exemplary kindness (The Talmud, Moed Katan, 16b) and is said to have never tasted sin (The Talmud, Yoma 22b). He spent his personal money freely, but made sure to protect public money. He willingly ate ordinary food and treated his servants with as much honor as he showed his sons (The Midrash, Bamidbar Raba 10:1).
Shefatyah שפטיה Male Hebrew "G‑d is the judge" Sheptayah, Shephatyah, Sheptel, Sheptil, Shept'l
Biblical. Samuel II, 3:4. The son of King David and Avital. The name expresses G‑d’s omnipresence, adopted from the verse (Genesis 18:25), “Judge of the entire earth.” Sheptel, should not be confused with the diminutive Sheptel which is derived from Shabtai.
Shimon (Simon) שמעון Male Hebrew "[G‑d] heard me" Simon, Simeon, Shimonel, Shimonka, Shimonke, Shimmy, Sheima, Sheime, Zimmel, Zimmil Zimmul
Biblical. Genesis, 29:33. The son of Jacob and Leah. Jacob loved his wife Rachel more than his wife Leah (ibid 29:30). Leah prayed to G‑d and after she gave birth, she said (ibid 29:33), “Since G‑d has heard that I am hated, He gave me this one too.”Together with his brother Levi, they took revenge on Shekhem for having outraged their sister Dinah. Father of the Tribe carrying his name.
Shlomo (Solomon) שלמה Male Hebrew "G‑d gives peace" Solomon, Shloimy, Shloimah, Shlomka, Shlomke, Shlomel, Shloy, Zalman, Zaman'l, Zalmanka, Zalmanke, Zelman, Zelmen, Zalmina, Zelmina, Shlomo Zalman
Biblical. Samuel II, 5:14, Chronicles I, 22:9. The Biblical name of Solomon, the fourth King of Israel, son of King David (Samuel II 5:14) and his wife Batsheva. Solomon built the first Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Solomon is known as the wisest of all people (Kings I, 5:11). He ruled for 40 years. The Prophet Natan called him also Yedidyah. Author of Proverbs, Song of Songs and Kohelet.
Shlumiel שלומיאל Male Hebrew "At peace with G‑d" Shlomiel, Shlemiel
Biblical. Numbers, 1:6. Son of Tzurishadai and a chief of the Tribe of Shimon. . In Yiddish, it has become a popular name for a fool or incompetent. [A clever wit wanted to describe the difference between a Shlemiel and a Shlimazal—German: Shlim (bad), Hebrew: Mazal (luck). He described it thus: The Shlemiel is the one that spills hot soup all over the Shlimazal.] There is a masculine German slang word schlamassel which describes one who has gotten himself into a scrap, fix, mess or jam. See Cassell's German/English, English/German Dictionary, London, 1968. Notwithstanding that there is also a masculine German word schlamm which means ""slime"" or ""mud,"" the above slang word schlamassel is a good example of a reverse borrowing—from Yiddish.
Shmaryahu שמריהו Male Hebrew "G‑d protects us" Shemariah, Shmaryah, Shmaryohu, Shmer'l, Shmerel, Shmeril, Shmerlin, Shmerlein
Biblical. Chronicles I, 12:5. A particular person in the group of men from the Tribe of Benjamin who protected King David from Saul’s men (see ibid.)
Shmuel (Samuel) שמואל Male Hebrew "G‑d has heard" Samuel, Sam, Sammy, Shmulik, Shmelke, Shmelka, Shmulik, Zanvil, Zavel, Mulka
Biblical. Samuel 1:2. The Biblical name of the prophet Samuel. Son of Elkanah the Levite and his wife Hannah. His mother, Hannah was barren and she travelled to the Tabernacle to pray to G‑d for a child. She promised to dedicate the child’s life to G‑d if she could just give birth. G‑d answered her prayers, she was blessed with a son and she followed through with her promise. She brought Samuel to Shiloh to study under the tutelage of the High Priest Eli. Later, when he became a prophet, Samuel did not set himself up in any one city; instead he travelled from city to city to meet the people and take care of their needs (The Talmud, Shabbat 56a. See Samuel 7:16). He authored the two volumes that carry his name, Samuel I and Samuel II.
Shneur שניאור Male Hebrew "Two lights" Shner, Schneur, Shneior Zalman, Schneur Zalman
Contraction of two words: 'shnei' (two), and 'or' (light). In his Responsa, Rabbi Shlomoh Luria (71510–1574) relates the following: One of his forebearers had a son and he wanted to call him Mei'ir after his father but his wife, the child's mother, wanted to call her son Yair after her father. Both names have their roots in the Hebrew word 11tt (light), and so the parents compromised and called the child Shnei'or (Two lights). (This is not to prove that this was the first time such a compromise was made; it is the earliest record of such.)
Shraga שרגא Male Aramaic "Lamp; lantern" Feivish, Feivel, Feivil, Feivul, Veibush, Veibish
Shraga is the Aramaic word for light, and as a name it is akin to the Hebrew Uriand Mei'ir.Some who wanted a Hebrew name, also, are know as Uri Shraga Feivel—Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Often associated with the name Feivish. In Judaism, light is often related to spirituality and G‑dliness. Light is also used to bring warmth and happiness to Shabbat, festivals, and joyous occasions – where we make sure to light candles to make the house brighter. Ecclesiastes says, “And I saw that wisdom has an advantage over folly, as the advantage of light over darkness” (2:13), the Hassidic masters explain, that “a little bit of light dispels much darkness” (The Tanya ch. 13).
Simchah שמחה Male Hebrew "Joy; Rejoice at heart; Spiritual joy" Simhah,
Non-biblical. Originally both a male and female name. Today, the name amongst Ashkenazi Jews is almost absolutely a male one. Amongst Sefardi Jews, however, it is a female name, also.
Todros תודרוס Male Greek "G‑d's gift" Todras, Todres, Todris
A combination of the Greek words “theos,” G‑d, and “doro,” gift. A variation of the Greek name Theodore and the Hebrew name Netanel.
Toviyah (Tobias) טוביה Male Hebrew "G‑d is good" Tuviyah, Tuvyah, Teve, Tevel, Tevele, Tevil, Tevya, Tevye, Tev, Bueno, Gutman
Biblical. Zechariah, 6:10. Refers to one of the priests during the time of the prophet Zechariah. Also one of Moses’ names (The Midrash, Vayikrah Raba 1:3).
Tzvi (Hirsch) צבי Male Hebrew "A deer" Hirsch, Hersch, Hirschel, Herschel, Herschil, Hertz, Hirtz, Hertzl, Hertzel, Hertzke, Gershel, Zvi
Non-biblical. One of the male animal names. In German, hence in Yiddish, Hirsch. In the Bible, the deer is used to denote swiftness, “Asahel was as light of foot as one of the deer which are in the field” (Samuel II 2:18). In Ethics of Our Fathers it says, “run like a deer” (5:20), in reference to fulfilling G‑d’s commandments (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 1:3).
Tzemach צמח Male Hebrew “Shoot” or “Sapling” Zemah, Tzemmi
Biblical. In Zechariah 6:12, it is foretold that a man named Tzemach will lead the renewal of the Holy Temple.
Uri אורי Male Hebrew "My light" Ure, Urele, Orlik, Orcze
Biblical, Exodus, 31:2. Uri’s son Betzalel was one of the chief architects responsible for building the Tabernacle, the travelling sanctuary in the desert
Yaakov (Jacob) יעקב Male Hebrew "The heal" Yakov, Yakovman, Yakovka, Yokel, Yokil, Yekel, Yekil, Yankel, Yankele, Kuba, Kube, Kovel, Kuvel, Kovi, Kuli, Culi, Kule, Gulka, Gulke, Koppel, Koppil, Koppul, Kerpel
Biblical. Genesis, 25:26. The son of Isaac and Rebecca, and righteous brother of the wicked Esau. When they were born, Jacob came out of the womb holding onto Esau’s heel, which is why he was named Yaakov. Jacob was the father of the twelve tribes, and according to the Midrash, although G‑d selected Jacob for this role, Jacob became close with G‑d through his own deeds (The Midrash, Bamidbar Raba 3:2). Jacob was the only one of the three patriarchs who merited children who were all righteous.
Yechezkel (Ezekiel) יחזקאל Male Hebrew "G‑d should strengthen" Chaskel, Chatche, Chatzkel, Cheskel, Chezkel, Chezi, Chezki, Chezky, Hezkel
Biblical, Ezekiel 1:3. Yechezkel ben Buzzi the Kohen was a Prophet of G‑d to the Jewish People in the Babylonian Diaspora. His prophecy started about seven years before the destruction of the First Holy Temple in Jerusalem. He prophesied secrets of the spiritual heavens and the third Holy Temple which will be built in Messianic times.
Yechiel יחיאל Male Hebrew "G‑d lives" Chiel, Chilik, Hiel, Ichel, Ichil
Biblical. Chronicles I, 15:18. One of the seconds in command of the Levites, of those who were the keepers of the Gates of the Sanctuary. Was a common name during Biblical times, and the name of one of the children of Jehoshaphat, King of Judah.
Yedidyah (Jedidiah) ידידיה Male Hebrew "Beloved of G‑d" Yedidiah, Didya, Didye, Didi
Biblical. Samuel II, 12:24—25. Referring to King Solomon. King David asked Nathan the prophet to bless his newborn child (Solomon), “and he called his name Jedidiah for G‑d's sake.
Yefet (Japheth) יפת Male Hebrew "Wonder; affluent"
Biblical. Genesis 9:27. is of Aramaic origin and translated ""May G d enlarge (the land of) Yefeth. Yefeth is mentioned as the third son of Noah, though he was the oldest. The order of the three sons, Shem, Ham and Yefeth, was reversed in tribute to Shem, the most worthy of Noah's sons and the ancestor of our Patriarch Abraham. No other Biblical person is mentioned by the name of Yefeth, and it has seldom been used since. One person by that name was the father of the Amora Rav Binyomin bar Yefeth, and possibly an Amora himself. The other was Rabbi Yefeth, a disciple of the great Rabbi Chayim Vital. The latter is probably the Rabbi Yefeth Halevi mentioned in Seder Hadoroth as the author of important Rabbinic works.
Yehoshua (Joshua) יהושע Male Hebrew "G‑d will save" Heishel, Heishek, Heishik, Heshel, Heshe, Heshke, Heishe, Hessel, Hessil, Shia, Shie, Shua, Yehoshua Folk
Biblical. Numbers, 13:8, 16. Biblical name for Joshua, Moses’ successor as leader of the Jewish nation. Chosen as one of the twelve spies sent to scout out the Land of Israel, before he left, Moses added the Hebrew letter “yud” to his original name, Hosea. His new name, Joshua, means “G‑d will save.” Moses blessed him, “May G‑d save you from the counsel of the spies.” (The Talmud, Sotah 34b). G‑d called Joshua a “man of spirit” (Numbers 27:18), someone able to understand and relate to each person’s unique personality and needs (The Midrash, Sifrei Pinchas 23).
Yehudah (Judah) יהודה Male Hebrew "Thank G‑d" Yuda, Yude, Yudel, Yudke, Yiddel, Iddel, Yutka, Yutke, Yehuda Yudel, Yehuda Leib
Biblical. Genesis, 29-35 The fourth son of Leah born to Jacob. refers to the fourth son of Jacob and Leah. Judah merited kingship over Israel because he was honest about his misdoings and he stood up to his brothers who wanted to kill their brother Joseph (The Talmud, Sotah 4:16; Tosefta, Brachot 4:16). After giving birth Leah said, “‘This time, I will thank G‑d!’ Therefore, she named him Judah,” (Genesis ibid.). Some say that the Hebrew word for Jew, “Yehudi,” comes from Judah’s name (The Midrash, Breishit Raba 98:6). King David was a direct male descendant of Yehudah. The Almighty blessed Judah that the Jewish kingship should eternally be of the Tribe that he progenited. The lion is the symbol of this Tribe.
Yekutiel (Jekutiel) יקותיאל Male Hebrew "G‑d gathers; Faith in G‑d" Yekusiel, Kozel, Kosman, Kozman, Kuske, Kushe, Kuti, Yiksil
Biblical. Chronicles I, 4:18. Yekutiel was from the tribe of Judah, and perhaps he was named after the town of Joktheel (Joshua 15:38), situated at the Judean foothills. Also one of the Moses’ names, because G‑d gathered Moses, reuniting him with his mother even after she placed him on the Nile river (The Midrash, Yalkut Shimoni, Shemot 166). Moses also led the Jews to place their “faith in G‑d” (The Midrash, Vayikra Rab 1:3).
Yeshayahu (Isaiah) ישעיהו Male Hebrew "G‑d saves" Yeshaya, Yishaya, Shaia, Shaya, Shaika, Shaike
Biblical. Isaiah 1:1. The Biblical name of the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 1:1). Isaiah prophesied at a time when most of the Jews had been exiled from Israel, and the remainder were straying from G‑d’s ways. Isaiah castigated the Jews for their sinful ways, but simultaneously defended them before G‑d, Who said, “No one loves My children more than Isaiah” (The Midrash, Yakul Hamechiri, Proverbs 30:10). Isaiah accepted G‑d’s mission willingly and more joyfully than any other prophet, and he was rewarded with prophesies about the Messianic era (The Midrash, Tana Dbei Elyahu Raba 16). His father Amotz was a brother of Amatzyah, King of Yehudah. He authored the book carrying his name.
Yiftach (Jephthah) יפתח Male Hebrew "G‑d will Open" [His hand] Jephtah
Biblical. Judges 11,12. Yiftach the Gileadite was one of the Judges who led the Jewish people to victory over the Ammonites.
Yisrael (Israel) ישראל Male Hebrew "Nobly contended with G‑d and prevailed; Divine Master" Yisroel, Yisrol, Isser, Isserel, Isserlin, Srol, Sroli, Srolik, Srolka, Srolke, Srul, Sruli, Srulish, Srulik, Srulka, Srulke, Ulli
Contraction of two Hebrew words: Yasor—Nobly contended with and prevailed, Eil—G‑d. Biblical. Genesis, 32:25—29. The Biblical name Israel, given to Jacob after his triumphant struggle with the angel of his wicked brother Esau, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, because you have commanding power with [an angel of] G‑d and with men, and you have prevailed” (Genesis 32:29). From that time on, Jabob’s descendants were called “the children of Israel” (ibid. 33), and the land promised to the Jewish nation became known as “the Land of Israel.”
Yissachar (Issachar) יששכר Male Hebrew Contraction of two Hebrew words: Yisa—"carry," Sekhar—"The rewarded one." Yisochor, Isokhar, Yisochor Ber, Yisochor Berman
Biblical. Genesis, 30:14-18. Fifth son of Jacob born of Leah. The non-pronounced second letter samech in the Hebrew spelling, has no parallel in the whole of the Jewish Bible. Father of the Tribe carrying his name. Upon his birth, Issachar’s mother said, “G‑d has given [me] my reward for I have given my maidservant to my husband” (ibid.). His descendants were renowned scholarly sages (The Midrash, Targum Yonatan, Breishit 46:13). ""Biblical. Genesis, 30:14-18. Fifth son of Jacob born of Leah. The non-pronounced second letter samech in the Hebrew spelling, has no parallel in the whole of the Jewish Bible. Father of the Tribe carrying his name. Upon his birth, Issachar’s mother said, “G‑d has given [me] my reward for I have given my maidservant to my husband” (ibid.). His descendants were renowned scholarly sages (The Midrash, Targum Yonatan, Breishit 46:13).
Yitzchak (Isaac) יצחק Male Hebrew "Rejoiced" Yitzhak, Yitchok, Yitzhok, Itche, Itchel, Itchil, Itzig, Itzik, Aizik, Aizikman, Aizikel, Zekel, Sekel, Aizlin, Aizman
Biblical. Genesis, 21:3, 6. The Biblical name of Isaac, son of Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 21:3). Named for the joy he brought to Abraham, “[G‑d said] ‘I will bless her, and I will give you a son from her, and I will bless her, and she will become [a mother of] nations; kings of nations will be from her.’ And Abraham fell on his face and rejoiced…” (ibid. 17:16-17). G‑d told Isaac, “I will bless you” (Genesis 25:5), Isaac did not wait for the blessing to fruition on its own; rather he toiled and invested, creating a vessel for G‑d’s blessings. “Isaac sowed in that land” (Genesis 26:12) (Tosefta, Brachot 6:13).
Yitzhar יצהר Male Hebrew "Will light up; Oil"
Biblical. Exodus 6:18, Zechariah 4:14. The word also means "oil" (which was used also for lamps), and is mentioned in the second section of the Shema. The name was used also as a title for the king and kohen godol because both were anointed with oil. The only Biblical person who had this name was Yitzhar the son of Kehath, and grandson of Levi.
Yoav יואב Male Hebrew "G‑d is father" Joab
Biblical. I Chron. 4:14, Ezra 2:6; Neh. 7:11. Yoav ben Tzeruyah was the famed commander in chief of King David's army. He was a nephew of the king, the son of David's sister Tzeruyah and accomplished great things for his king and his people. A colorful yet tragic figure. Another Yoav, ben Serayah, headed a settlement of craftsmen. It is also the name of a family who returned to Jerusalem with Zerubabel, from the Babyilonian Exile.
Yoel יואל Male Hebrew "G‑d is E-l" Joel, Yoeli, Yoli
Biblical. I Samuel 8:2. Joel. I Chronicles 8:7 and 11:38, 27:20. Name of Samuel the Prophet's oldest son. Yoel ben Petuel was one of the twelve minor prophets whose prophesies are recorded in the Tanach in books bearing their names. The Book of Joel is the second of twelve. Many other people bearing that name are mentioned in the Bible, one was a prominent Levite, chief of the family of Gershon, who with 130 fellow Levites participated in the solemn procession accompanying the Holy Ark into Jerusalem. Another man named Joel was one of David's chief warriors. Joel ben Pedahya was governor of half the Tribe of Menashe on the western side of the Jordan. Several tribes (Shimeon, Gad, Issachar) had princes or chieftains bearing the name Joel. Rabbi Yoel Sirkes was the famed Rabbi of Cracow who wrote the celebrated Bayith Chadash (BaCh) on the Turim. Rabbi Yoel Baal Shem (ben Rabbi Yitzchak Airik) Heilprin was a saintly Rabbi and Kabbalist.
Yochanan יוחנן Male Hebrew "G‑d graced" Yochonon, Yohanan, Yohonon, Chanan, Chonon, Chona, Chone, Choni
Biblical. Chronicles I, 3:15. Son of Koreah, one of the chiefs of the warriors of the sons of Judah after the conquest of the Holy Land by the Chaldeans. Also, first born son of Josiah, son of Amon, King of Judah. The Biblical name for Johanan. Johanan was also the name of one of the five Maccabee brothers who led the Jewish army in the Chanukah story. It was also the name of the greatest Talmudic authority and main compiler of the Jerusalem Talmud name. A common among sages of the Mishnaic and Talmudic times.
Yom Tov יום טוב Male Hebrew "Happy Day; Festival" Bondi
Non Biblical. The name Yom Tov has been used for many centuries, and dates back to the time of the Geonim. Rav Yom Tov Kahana bar Mar Rav Yaakov was one of the last Geonim. Sometimes it comes coupled with the name Bondi (the French equivalent of "Good Day"), or, more often, with Bendet (though the latter is more closely related to Benedict, corresponding to the Hebrew Baruch, "blessed") or Lippman. Rabbi Yom Tov ben Yitxchak of Joigny, called "Hakadosh" ("Martyr"), belonged to the French school of Tosafists. Rabbi Yom Tov Lipman Heller (1579-1654), was the famed author of Tosfoth Yom Tov on the Mishnah and other great works. Among other prominent rabbis bearing the name Yom Tov were: Rabbi Yom Tov ben Yisrael Algazi, rabbi in Jerusalem and author of Shaaloth uTeshuvoth Simchath Yom Tov (Smyrna, 1794), and Rabbi Yom Tov Alanaqua, author of Shaaloth uTeshuvoth on the four Turim and commentaries on the Talmud (Saloniki, 1788).
Yonah (Jonah) “יונה” Male-Female Hebrew “Dove” Yoni, Yoina, Yoino, Yoine, Yeina, Yeino, Yeine
Biblical. Kings II, 14:25, and the Book of Jonah. Originally a male name, this is also a popular female name. A Prophet of G‑d whose message was to the Gentile population of Nineveh. One of twelve minor prophets whose prophesies are recorded in the Tanach in books bearing their names. Swallowed by and spewed up by a giant fish on refusal to accept the mission the Almighty had sent him on. After his ordeal with the giant fish, he accepted his mission and carried it out. Six sages with the name Yonah are mentioned in the Talmud. The name continued to be used in post-Talmudic times, most famous is Yonah ibn Janach, one of the early and most important authorities on the Hebrew language and grammar who lived in the 11th century in Spain. The most famous Rabbi and Talmudist bearing the name of Yonah was Rabbeinu Yonah ben Abraham Gerondil, also known as Rabbeinu Yonah Hachassid, author of Shaarei Teshuvah, Sefer Hayirah, Iggereth Hateshuvah, and other ethical (Musar) works.
Yosef (Joseph) יוסף Male Hebrew "May G‑d add" Yozpa, Yozpe, Yuzpa, Yossel, Yessil, Yoska, Yoshka, Yoske, Yoshke, Yosef Yoske
Biblical. Genesis, 30:23-24. Biblical name for Joseph, son of Jacob and Rachel. For many years Rachel was the only one of Jacob’s wives who did not bear children. When she finally gave birth to Joseph, she exclaimed, “May G‑d grant me yet another son” (ibid.), and later she had another child, Benjamin. Joseph is famous for interpreting the dreams of the Egyptian royal baker, butler, as well as king Pharaoh himself. He later became the viceroy of Egypt. His brothers sold him into slavery but he forgave them, recognizing that they were only messengers in G‑d’s plan. “And G‑d sent me before you to make for you a remnant in the land, and to preserve [it] for you for a great deliverance” (ibid. 45:7).
Yotam (Jotham) יותם Male Hebrew "G‑d Perfect"
Biblical. Judges 9. Yotham was the youngest son of Gideon the Judge. Yotham the son of Uzziah was the thirteenth king of David's dynasty in Judah. He reigned for sixteen years (3167 3183), and was one of the good and G‑d fearing kings of Judah.
Ze’ev זאב Male Hebrew ”A wolf“ Zev, Zevi, Wolf, Wulf, Vulf, Volvel, Velvel, Velvele, Velka, Velke, Ze'ev Wolf
Non-biblical. One of the male animal names. In Yiddish, Wolf—Velvel. Wolf is Yiddish (read Judeo-German). It also is a very common family name. When blessing his youngest son, Benjamin, Jacob likened him to a wolf, “Benjamin is a wolf, he will prey; in the morning he will devour plunder, and in the evening he will divide the spoil” (Genesis 49:27). The blessing refers to Benjamin’s descendant King Saul who successfully won numerous wars for the Jewish nation (see Samuel 1 14:47; The Midrash, Breishit Raba 98:3). Also refers his descendants, Mordechai and Esther of the Purim story, who succeeded in defeating the evil Haman. Later, Mordechai received all of Haman’s valuable possessions (“the spoil”). (See Esther 8:7; The Midrash Esther Rabbah 10:13)
Zelig זעליג Male German "Happy One" Zeligman, Zelikman, Zelik, Zelle
The name implies a happy, blessed child. Very similar to the Hebrew name Asher, and often paired with it.
Zevulun (Zebulun) זבולון Male Hebrew ““Abode maker”” Zebulun
Biblical. Genesis 30:20. Zevulun was Jacob and Leah’s sixth son. When he was born Leah rejoiced, saying: “God has [indeed] given me a superlative portion [in my husband's household: I myself have borne him the same number of sons that his other three wives will bear him together.] Now my husband will [surely] make his [chief] abode [zevul] with me," and she named him Zebulun.”
Zundel זונדל Male Yiddish "Sonny boy;Small boy" Zundel, Zundil, Zundul
The name insinuates that the person should remain as pure as a small child throughout his life. Often paired with the Hebrew name Chanoch, meaning educated, “educate the child” (Proverbs, 22:6). Derived from the German word “sohn” for a small child, similar to the English nickname “sonny boy.”
Zussya זוסיא Male Yiddish "Sweet one" Zussye, Zussa, Zusse, Zissa, Zissel, Zusha, Zushe, Zushel, Zushya, Zushye, Zussman, Zusskind, Ziskind
Carried over into the Yiddish. We read in Proverbs, “Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul…” (16:24). Wisdom is also referred to as sweet (Proverbs 24:13, see Rashi ad loc), as are the teachings on the Torah, “And the light is sweet” (Ecclesiastes 11:7, see Rashi ad loc).

Some of the names on this list have been excerpted from Talks and Tales by Kehot Publication Society