In this weeks parsha it says (Shemos 2:10):

"וַיִגְדַּל הַיֶּלֶד וַתְּבִאֵהוּ לְבַת־פַּרְעֹה וַיְהִי־לָהּ לְבֵן וַתִּקְרָא שְׁמוֹ מֹשֶׁה וַתֹּאמֶר כִּי מִן־הַמַּיִם מְשִׁיתִהוּ׃"

“When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, who made him her son. She named him Moses, explaining, I drew him out of the water.”

Later on and for the rest of history, everyone calls him by the name Moshe, even G-d! Why would Moshe keep this name if it was given to him by an Egyptian, not his mother nor was it given by G-d?

  • 1
    It was what he was used to?
    – Double AA
    Dec 26, 2018 at 17:14
  • 1
    For me, this is a sign of a pure functionality of Moshe. His name is a part of the history. His real name is not important in Torah, it's skipped.
    – kouty
    Dec 26, 2018 at 17:20
  • 1
    He was used in Egyptian language
    – kouty
    Dec 26, 2018 at 17:22
  • 1
    הכרת הטוב......
    – Loewian
    Dec 26, 2018 at 18:12

2 Answers 2


The Midrash Rabba in place says:

"אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְמשֶׁה חַיֶּיךָ מִכָּל שֵׁמוֹת שֶׁנִּקְרְאוּ לְךָ אֵינִי קוֹרֵא אוֹתְךָ אֶלָּא בַּשֵּׁם שֶׁקְּרָאַתְךָ בִּתְיָה בַת פַּרְעֹה (שמות ב, י): וַתִּקְרָא שְׁמוֹ משֶׁה, וַיִּקְרָא אֶל משֶׁה."

As Batya converted and called herself a Hebrew name - בת-יה (G-d's daughter) she also prophecized Moses' name (ברוח הקודש אמרה) and G-d agreed to use that name exclusively.

NB, as for the name itself, the other Midrash in place says that the name was used exclusively as it is a reminder (and an opposition/reaction to) for Pharaoh drowning of the Jewish children in Nile.

  • 3
    “As Batya converted and called herself a Hebrew name - בת-יה (G-d's daughter) she also called Moses' name in prophecy (רוח הקודש)” This doesn’t seem to appear in the Midrash Rabbah you quoted. Is this your own idea?
    – Joel K
    Dec 26, 2018 at 17:11
  • What do you mean she “called it” in prophecy?
    – Yaakov
    Dec 26, 2018 at 17:11
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    Note that this quote doesn't explain the reason why Moshe was called by the name given to him by Batya, it just confirms that G-d supports using that name. Dec 26, 2018 at 17:17
  • 1
    @JoelK No, I don't have ideas of my own on the Torah. Practically everything I express is from my Rabbi's books Beis Gnozai on the Torah. I would love somebody to find a Rabbinical source for Batya calling herself בת-יה (in Hebrew!), AFAIK it was רוח הקודש just as Moses' name.
    – Al Berko
    Dec 27, 2018 at 0:47
  • 1
    @Salmononius2 You're right. I added a NB.
    – Al Berko
    Dec 27, 2018 at 0:50

According to Ibn Ezra there, Moshe was the Hebrew translation to the Egyptian name "Monios". He says that he learned this from ancient Egyptian texts and Greek books. He suggest that perhaps Bas Pharaoh learned Hebrew, or maybe she asked a Hebrew for the proper translation. Following this logic, it seems that Pharaoh, other Egyptians, etc. would call him Monios and only Basyah (Bas Pharaoh), other Hebrews, and G-d knew him as Moshe.

Moshe had other names as well, given to him by different people. According to R' Meir, Yocheved named him Tuvia (Sotah 12a). Citing the Gemara (Megillah 13a), Yalkut Shimoni (166) says that Moshe was given a name by each of his family members for different reasons. He was called "Yered" by Miriam, "Chever" by Amram, "Yekusiel" by Yocheved, "Shemaiah" by the Jewish people, "Avi Zenuach" by Aharon, "Avi Socho" by his nursemaid, and "Avi Gedor" by Kehas ben Levi. He was also known as "Ben Nesanel" and "Aviasar". See there and the original Gemara.

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