While all naming conventions remain a mystery for me, I'd like to ask specifically about the Nessi'im in Parashas Masaei. They seemingly were pious men, the leaders of the generation(s) (Num 34.19):

שבט יהודה: כלב בן יפונה
שבט שמעון: שמואל בן עמיהוד
שבט בנימין: אלידד בן כסלון
שבט דן: בוקי בן יגלי
שבט מנשה: חניאל בן אפוד
שבט אפרים: קמואל בן שפטן
שבט זבולון: אליצפן בן פרנך
שבט יששכר: פלטיאל בן עזן
שבט אשר: אחיהוד בן שלומי
שבט נפתלי: פדהאל בן עמיהוד

And it is traditionally important to name after righteous Rabbis.

Why don't we all (from ancient times till nowadays) don't use those names (and their fathers') to name the kids (besides Shmuel)?

  • 1
    In a similar vein: mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0401.htm#5 Aug 4, 2019 at 12:15
  • 2
    Go for it. I won't stop you.
    – robev
    Aug 4, 2019 at 12:25
  • I fear I’ll never fully grasp what qualifies as off-topic. (FTR, Kalev, Shmuel, Paltiel, Shlomi & Pedatzur were common names at one point, in Western Europe and Kalev, interestingly, popped up in different Eastern European families.)
    – Oliver
    Aug 4, 2019 at 22:07
  • Similar: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/13948/170
    – msh210
    Aug 5, 2019 at 3:09

1 Answer 1


שלומי is a Common nickname for שלמה.

I knew a man called פלטיאל.

If אלידד and אלדד has the same meaning, so it is still used.

אליצפן , עמיהוד are rarely used.

Names come and go... It's a matter of fashion. Do you think that we use the Nessim names less then we use other biblical names?

I don't think there is a special dislike for those names, you can call your son פדהאל (awesome name!)

  • Finding a name here and there does not address the question and you can move your answer to comments. Clearly those names were forgotten even by the sages - there's no Tana or Amorah Kaleb or Booki, but there're Yehoshua. Why Yehoshua's better than Kaleb as a name and a person?
    – Al Berko
    Aug 4, 2019 at 12:39
  • @AlBerko I hold this as answer. Names come and go. why נעה is a common name, but חגלה is not? Fashion. Aug 4, 2019 at 12:49
  • There is a Chid"a that says that no Tanna or Amora was named "Moshe" for a reason al pi sod.
    – Meuchedet
    Aug 4, 2019 at 13:18
  • כלב is somewhat common, actually. However, at least from my exposure to a diverse nationality, it seems that Gentiles have a bit more of affinity to this name (Caleb). פלטיאל seems to be quite common. One of my close friends has that name and I know about 4 others. I have to admit, though, that despite my trying to convince 4 people who were pregnant, I couldn't convince anyone to name their son בוקי בן יגלי. I just can't imagine why no one likes this name ...
    – DanF
    Aug 4, 2019 at 17:10

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