The Torah itself in several places explains the names of people's names. For instance:

  • Yaakov was so called because he grabbed onto Esav's heel (Bereishis 25:26), and he was later called Yisrael as a reference to his defeating Esav's angel (ibid. 32:29).
  • Chavah was originally called Ishah, having been created from man (ibid. 2:23); she was later called Chavah due to being the mother of all life (ibid. 3:20).

Similarly, Chazal in several places expound upon the names of people in Tanach. For instance:

  • Adam was so called due to having been created from the ground (Bereishis Rabbah 17:4).
  • The spy Sasur ben Michael was so called because he contradicted the will of Hashem and made Him appear weak (Sotah 34a, which attests that we once knew similar expositions on the other spies' names).

Is there a sefer which compiles such teachings from Chazal to expound on all names in Tanach (or at least, as many as Chazal have expositions for)?


There's a sefer titled אוצר השמות התנ״כיים באגדה, by Dovid Mendel which brings many drashos of names found in Chazal. Its hard to find though.


There's the one I use "אוצר אישי התנ´´ך" by Ishai Chassidah. It lists names and all the Midrashim he has found.

The first page:

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  • 3
    These are just Midrashim associated with the person, not necessarily ones focused on his or her name. – DonielF Jun 6 '19 at 11:23
  • 1
    Also available in English – Joel K Jun 6 '19 at 11:31

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