Why did Rabbi Yishmael from the Mishna have such a name? Yishmael is obviously the ancestor of the muslims (Bnei Yishamel) The reason Hagar called her son this is because G-D "heard" her prayer and the name itself has a nice meaning, although the Torah itself calls him a Pera Adam. But I still dont understand why any Jew would use this name.

Also are there any Jews called Yishmael from later periods?

  • 1
    Muslims belong to a religion, not an ethnicity. And it's not universally accepted that Arabs are descendants of Yishmael.
    – shmosel
    Dec 26, 2023 at 20:33
  • There was also Yishmael Kohen Gadol, made popular in this Avraham Fried song lol youtu.be/V3sEjAl8vOM?si=-sAAsE9jO4znz87p&t=130
    – The Targum
    Dec 26, 2023 at 20:40

1 Answer 1


Ritva to Yoma 38b offers two explanations:

  1. Yishmael repented and died a righteous man.

  2. The name is special because it came from Hashem.

  • You certainly know your Ritva, nice catch!
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Dec 26, 2023 at 20:40
  • @RabbiKaii It's all google
    – shmosel
    Dec 26, 2023 at 20:45

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