(c) 2000 Dr Hendel; 1st appeared in Bais Medrash (c) Torah.Org
Date: Sun, 13 Aug 2000 17:55:06 -0400 (EDT)
From: Russell Hendel <  rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu>
Subject: Re: Yitro

Manmfogel in Bais Medrash Volume 2 Number 27 asks
<  <  Can you give me the 7 names of yitro. Also can you give me the reasoning
for putiel being Yitro and therefore Pinchas' mother. Did Moshe Rebainu's
instruction to kill all midianite women apply to her also?>  >

This is a sifrah which is PARTIALLY brought down by Rashi. I fully discuss
this on the Rashi website. I show that the Sifrah listed all POSSIBLE NAMES
of Yithro while Rashi listed those names he thought ACTUALLY applied to him
Please visit the urls http://www.rashiyomi.com/ex18-01b.htm and
http://www.rashiyomi.com/h1n25.htm (URLS should be lower case).

Here is a brief summary of my findings. 1st Yithro definitely had at least
4 names. Indeed it is common in the Bible for one person to have many names
and as the Sifrah points out it is also common for names to be changed by
adding a letter.  (eg Avram-Abraham (Gn17-5), Saray-Sarah (Gn17-15),
Hosha-Yhoshua (Nu03-16))

So YITRHO had 2 names:YTR-Ythro (Ex04-18,Ex18-01). Yithro also definitely
had two other names: CHVV (Nu10-29) and KAYNI (Ju01-16)  Next we review 2
conjectural names which may have referred to Jethro.  The name RUEL "could"
have referred to EITHER Yithro or his father (cf Ex02-18 and Nu10-29).
Similarly the name CHVR (which literally means FRIEND) could refer EITHER
to Yithro himself or else it could refer to an organization, >  The friends
of Kayni<  , which Yithro founded to get people to worship G-d (Cf Ju04-11 vs

Finally we deal with the enigmatic name PUTIEL (from E-L, G-d).  I should
make it clear that the identification of this name is conjectural.  The
name occurs only once in the Bible and the corresponding root never occurs.
  From context PUTIEL refers to G-D and would denote a G-d fearing person:
either (a) Jethro (which had occurred a few chapters earlier (Ex06-25 vs
Ex02; Ex03) (b) Joseph who is known for his resistance to his masters' wife
overtures (c) to both (maternal and paternal ancestry).

In conclusion Yethro had between 4-7 names. In accordance with the Rambam's
statement that there is never controversy on matters of Mesorah I assume
that 4 of these names are definite while 3 are conjectural.

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA
Dept of Math; RHendel@Towson.Edu
Moderator Rashi is Simple; http://www.RashiYomi.Com