The Deeper Meaning of the Name “Israel”

October 6, 2019

Isaiah 40 reminds us to “comfort my people Israel.” Today, “Israel” is a modern State, it is also a first name for many Jews and even some non-Jews, however, it’s origin, of course, is the Bible.

Israel is the name given to Jacob after wrestling and overcoming an angel as recorded in the Book of Genesis, showing his spiritual strength:

And he said: ‘Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel; for thou hast striven with God and with men, and hast prevailed.’  (Genesis 32:29)

Following the angelic name change, “Israel” in Scripture can refer both to the Land and the People of Israel, for God’s chosen people and His promised land, reflect the essence of the angel’s blessing.

Furthermore, the very word itself “Israel” has deep and profound significance in the Hebrew language. Israel (pronounced “Yisrael”) is spelled with five Hebrew letters: יִשְׂרָאֵל – Yud, Shin, Resh, Alef and Lamed (remember that Hebrew goes from right to left!)

If you notice, the first letter of the word “Israel” is the י – yud, which is the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet. The final letter in “Israel” is the tall lamed – ל, the largest letter in the alphabet.

The very name of the Jewish people, ישראל – Yisrael, alludes to both its humble beginnings as well as its lofty destiny.  Even though the People of Israel have been persecuted throughout history, and we have been made small by our enemies, in the end, God promises throughout the Bible that Israel will be raised high at the end of days. How fortunate are we to live in a generation that has seen the transformation of Israel from a persecuted people into a mighty nation!

When we follow Isaiah’s injunction and provide comfort to Israel, we are tapping into the deepest meaning of the Hebrew word for Israel and fulfilling the prophetic purpose of the Jewish people.

Rabbi Tuly Weisz

Rabbi Tuly Weisz is the founder of Israel365 and the editor of “The Israel Bible,” the first Bible dedicated to highlighting the relationship between the Land and the People of Israel. Rabbi Tuly is a columnist for Israel365news, the Jerusalem Post, Fox News and Newsmax who writes passionately about Israel, the Bible and Jewish-Christian relations. In addition to his writings, Rabbi Tuly has appeared alongside Alan Dershowitz on ILTV, on CBN’s “700 Club”, Daystar, Israel National News, TBN and numerous other television appearances. Rabbi Weisz attended Yeshiva University (BA), Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (Rabbinic Ordination) and the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law (JD) and served as the Rabbi of the Beth Jacob Congregation in Columbus, Ohio before making Aliyah to Israel. Rabbi Tuly lives with his wife and is blessed with 6 children and lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel.

Rabbi Tuly Weisz

Rabbi Tuly Weisz is the founder of Israel365 and the editor of “The Israel Bible,” the first Bible dedicated to highlighting the relationship between the Land and the People of Israel. Rabbi Tuly is a columnist for Israel365news, the Jerusalem Post, Fox News and Newsmax who writes passionately about Israel, the Bible and Jewish-Christian relations. In addition to his writings, Rabbi Tuly has appeared alongside Alan Dershowitz on ILTV, on CBN’s “700 Club”, Daystar, Israel National News, TBN and numerous other television appearances. Rabbi Weisz attended Yeshiva University (BA), Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (Rabbinic Ordination) and the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law (JD) and served as the Rabbi of the Beth Jacob Congregation in Columbus, Ohio before making Aliyah to Israel. Rabbi Tuly lives with his wife and is blessed with 6 children and lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel.

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