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Taking the “–el”

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Finding God in your name.

Taking the “–el” photo

One of the many (many, many — some say even 72) names of God in Jewish thought is “El.” This Divine name ends up in almost as many human names. Here are some of the most popular, and some of the most interesting, followed by their meanings and their original Hebrew pronunciations (with “ch” as in “challah”):

Ariel: “God is my lion.” (AH-ree-el)
Daniel: “God is my judge.” (DAH-nee-el)
Elijah: “God is my Lord” (el-ee-YAH-hu)
Elisha: “God is my salvation” (el-ee-SHAH)
Elizabeth: “God is my oath” (el-ee-SHEV-a)
Emmauel: “God is with us” (ee-MAH-noo-el)
Ezikiel: “God will strengthen” (yih-CHEZ-kel)
Gabriel: “God is my might.” (GAHV-ree-el)
Joel: “The Lord is God” (YO-el)
Michael: “Who is like God?” (mee-CHAH-el)
Mitchell: (variant of Michael)
Nathaniel: “God gave to me.” (nah-TAH-nee-el)
Rapahel: “God is my healing” (reh-FAH-el)
Samuel: “God hears” (SHMOO-el)
Yael: “The Lord is God” (yah-EL)

And, of course:
Israel: “He who wrestles/strives with God.” (yis-RAH-el)

But even:
Ishmael: “God hears me” (yee-SHMAH-el)
Jezebel: “Not exalted.” (ee-ZEH-vel)

Some rarer ones:
Amiel: “God of my people” (ah-MEE-el)
Azrael: “God is my hope” (AHZ-rah-el)
Chaniel: “God favors me” (cha-NEE-el)
Gamaliel: “Compensation of God” (gahn-LEE-el)
Kal-El: “The voice of God”
Lemuel: “Belonging to God” (Lemuel Gulliver, in Gulliver’s Travels)
Othniel “God is my sign” (OHT-nee-el)
Petuel: “Vision of God” (peh-TOO-el)
Raziel: “God is my secret” (RAH-zee-el) [Aramaic]
Reuel: “Friend of God” (reh-OO-el)
Uriel: “God is my light” (OO-ree-el)
Uziel: “God is my strength” (OO-zee-el)

(Various angelologists list various combinations of the above-mentioned archangels, such as Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, and also these: Anael/Aniel, Ananiel, Barachiel, Cecitiel, Chamuel, Jegudiel, Jophiel, Marmoniel, Oriel, Oriphiel, Raguel, Remiel, Saraqael, Selaphiel, Simiel, Suriel, and Zadakiel.)

Not every name that ends in “-el” follows this pattern, however:
Hershel: “Deer” (HERSH-’l) [Yiddish]
Hillel: “Praised.” (HILL-el)
Rachel: “Ewe, lamb” (rah-CHA-el)

And some aren’t even Hebrew, but just happen to have an “-el” in there:
Denzel: A town in Cornwall, England
Ellen/Eleanor: variant of Helen, “sunbeam” [Greek]
Elvira: “Foreign” [German]
Gadiel: “God is my fortune” [Arabic]
Lionel: “Lion” [Latin]
Muriel: “Sparkling sea” [Irish]
Rigel: “Foot” [Arabic] [Like the Hebrew “regel.” Rigel is a star in Orion’s foot.]

Lastly, the least Jewish name with an “el” has got to be:
Noel: “Christmas” [French]

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