Why did Naphtali name his first son Yachtzeal (יַחֲצִיאֵל)?

The name is mentioned (as יַחְצְאֵל) in Bereishis 46:24 and Bamidbar 26:48, and (as יַחֲצִיאֵל) in Divrei Hayomim I 7:13, but is there any explanation for the name, which apparently means that Hashem divided?

This question arose because, in Gittin 87, Rashi uses יַחְצְאֵל as an example for a witness signed on a Get, a choice that seems random, unless an explanation for the name explains the connection.

  • Very interesting question! Pulling this out of nowhere, but perhaps it's use by gittin is a comment on the concept of hashgocha in creating marriages (how could they then fail?) and that just as Hashem arranged the marriage, he also arranged the split? – Isaac Kotlicky Mar 10 '16 at 14:29

Medrash Rabba 94:7 says as follows.

יחצאל שחיצו אלוהות בידן והן מצחצחין בשיניהם ומלעיגים בשפתותיהן

My translation - Anyone may correct if they can translate better - "they split idols with their hands, and grinded their teeth, and smirked with their lips"

I have heard in the past that when a parent gives a child a name it is a prophecy as to what they will do in the future. Perhaps Naftali saw that the progeny that will come from Yachtzael will have the traits described above.

| improve this answer | |

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .