What Are the Meanings of Some Jewish Names for Boys?


Quick Answer

The most popular Jewish boy name in America is Jacob, which means "holder of the heel" or "supplanter." The next most common is Noah, which means "repose" and "consolation." The third is Michael, meaning "who is like God?"

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Each of these three most popular Jewish boy names has a counterpart in the Jewish scriptures. Jacob was the father of the Hebrew nation and received his name as a result of the unique circumstances of his birth. He was the second-born of twins and came out of his mother's womb holding the heel of his older twin, Esau, prompting his mother to name him "holder of the heel." There is another theory that the name Jacob is actually derived from a Hebrew word that translates as "may God protect."

Noah's scriptural counterpart is well known in both secular and Hebrew culture. According to the Scriptures, God chose Noah to build an ark to save himself and his family, along with two animals of every kind, from the flood promised by God to destroy the earth and everything on it.

Michael's biblical counterpart is the archangel Michael, one of seven archangels in Hebrew tradition and the only archangel identified in the Bible. The question in his name – "who is like God?" – is rhetorical, meant to imply that no one is like God.

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