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Exodus 32:28-29 - Yisrael
#1
First, from the Everett Fox translation and commentary ...

Quote:28 Then he said:
What is your name?
And he said: Yaakov.

29 Then he said:
Not as Yaakov/Heel-Sneak shall your name be henceforth uttered,
but rather as Yisrael/God-Fighter.
for you have fought with God and men
and have prevailed.

29 God-Fighter The name may actually mean "God fights." Buber further conjectured that it means "God rules," containing the kernel of Israel's concept of itself, but he retained "Fighter of God" in the translation.

In a comparable translation and commentary, Robert Alter notes ...

Quote:striven with God ... In fact, names with the 'rl ending generally make Gos the subject, not the object, of the verb in the name. This particular verb, sarah, is a rare one, and there is some question about its meaning, though an educated guess about the original sense of the name would be: "God will rule," or perhaps. "God will prevail."

Finally, the JPS Plaut Commentary notes:

Quote:Striven שָׂרִיתָ (sarita), connected with the first part of יִשְׂרָאֵל (Yisrael). But the word may ay first have been יָשָׁרְאֵל (yashar-el, the one you God makes straight), as opposed to ya-akov-el, the one whom God makes limp.

There is so much that we don't know, even up to and including the name of B'nei Yisrael.
To be is to stand for. - Abraham Joshua Heschel
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#2
I think that what you quoted here is brilliant: that places יָשָׁר "upright" in distinction to עָקֵב "heel." I've also heard that the name Jacob may originally have been יַעֲקָבְאֵל Yaakovel (or something similar).
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