Moses recalls G-d's words following the Golden Calf, to the whole Jewish nation (Deut 9,14):

הֶ֤רֶף מִמֶּ֙נִּי֙ וְאַשְׁמִידֵ֔ם וְאֶמְחֶ֣ה אֶת־שְׁמָ֔ם מִתַּ֖חַת הַשָּׁמָ֑יִם וְאֶֽעֱשֶׂה֙ אֽוֹתְךָ֔ לְגוֹי־עָצ֥וּם וָרָ֖ב מִמֶּֽנּוּ׃

Let Me alone and I will destroy them and blot out their name from under heaven, and I will make you a nation far more numerous than they.”

Surprisingly, according to Moses, G-d is willing not only to destroy the Jewish people but also "blot out their name" and subsequently establish a new nation from Moses.

  • What name was to be blotted - Israel, Bney Israel, Yeshurun, Yehudi etc?

  • Did G-d have backup names for Israel?

  • How would the new Nation be called?

I'm looking for sources mentioning that.

  • 3
    B'nai Moshe would seem to fit, would it not? Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 22:09

1 Answer 1


According to the Talmud God's statement to Moses actually came true, so we just have to check what they are actually called.

Berachot 7a

וא"ר יוחנן משום ר' יוסי כל דבור ודבור שיצא מפי הקב"ה לטובה אפי' על תנאי לא חזר בו מנא לן ממשה רבינו שנא' הרף ממני ואשמידם וגו' ואעשה אותך לגוי עצום אע"ג דבעא משה רחמי עלה דמלתא ובטלה אפ"ה אוקמה בזרעיה שנא' בני משה גרשום ואליעזר ויהיו בני אליעזר רחביה הראש וגו' ובני רחביה רבו למעלה וגו' ותני רב יוסף למעלה מששים רבוא אתיא רביה רביה כתיב הכא רבו למעלה וכתיב התם ובני ישראל פרו וישרצו וירבו

R. Johanan further said in the name of R. Jose: No word of blessing that issued from the mouth of the Holy One, blessed be He, even if based upon a condition, was ever withdrawn by Him. How do we know this? From our teacher Moses. For it is said: Let me alone, that I may destroy them, and blot out their name from under heaven; and I will make of thee a nation mightier and greater than they. Though Moses prayed that this might be mercifully averted and it was cancelled, [the blessing] was nevertheless fulfilled towards his children. For it is said: The sons of Moses: Gershom and Eliezer . . . And the sons of Eliezer were Rehabia the chief . . . and the sons of Rehabiah were very many. And R. Joseph learnt: They were more than sixty myriads. This is to be learnt from two occurrences of the term ‘manifold’. Here it is written: were very many, and elsewhere It is written: And the children of Israel were very fruitful and increased abundantly, and became very many. (Soncino translation)

According to this passage, then, the name is בני רחביה (Children of Rechavia).

  • Very interesting, though. My question was more about alternative names that HKB"HU kept for different versions of Am Israel. Of course, Moses had children and grandchildren. Don't you think it's weird they were not called בני משה? BTW, did they stand alone as a family within Levi's tribe, are they mentioned elsewhere?
    – Al Berko
    Commented Aug 6, 2018 at 12:24

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