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Moshe's Birth Certificate

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Topic: Moshe, Name

Luiz Carlos Vago from Sao Paulo Brazil wrote:

Why did the daughter of Pharaoh have the zechut [merit] to give the name to Moshe Rabbeinu? Why didn't his mother Yocheved, who must have given him a name, prevail over her naming?

Darren Sevitz wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

The Torah says: "And Amram married Yocheved, and she bore him Aharon and Moshe...." Moshe was only given his name by Pharaoh's daughter much later. Was Moshe given the same name by his parents when he was born? Or a different name, or no name at all? Thank You.

Dear Luiz Carlos Vago and Darren Sevitz,

The Midrash relates that Moshe had 10 names. His father called him Chever, his mother called him Yekutiel, his sister Miriam called him Yered, etc.

Yet the name given by Pharaoh's daughter was the one chosen by G-d. The Chumash never refers to him by any name other than Moshe. Why?

Pharaoh's daughter saved Moshe's life and adopted him and cared for him as her very own son. Therefore, she merited that her name prevailed. Moshe himself may have used this name out of gratitude to her.

Another reason the Torah calls him Moshe is the significance of the name itself. The name "Moshe" means that just as he was rescued and drawn from the water, so too he will he rescue others from hardship, and that is what he did.


  • Shemot Rabbah 1:26
  • Vayikrah Rabbah 1:3

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