In the Old Testament, Rachel (רָחֵל) is the name of Jacob's favorite wife. She is described as being "beautiful in form and countenance".
Rachel is the mother of Joseph and Benjamin. She is the daughter of Laban, the younger sister of Leah (Jacob's first wife), and the youngest niece of Rebecca. Jacob is her first cousin.
Rachel is considered one of the four matriarchs, along with Sarah (Abraham's wife), Rebekah (Isaac's wife) and Leah (Jacob's first wife).
Jacob falls in love with Rachel during a stay with his Uncle Laban. He agrees to work for Laban seven years in return for Rachel's hand in marriage. At the wedding, Jacob does not notice that Leah, Rachel's older sister has been substituted as the veiled bride. Laban later excuses his actions by insisting that the older sister should marry first. He tells Jacob that in a weeks time he could also marry Rachel and work another seven years as payment for her.
After Leah has given birth to four sons, the still barren Rachel becomes jealous and gives Jacob her maidservant, Bilhah to be a surrogate mother for her. Bilhah has two sons by Jacob, Dan and Naphtali.
Rachel eventually has two sons of her own, Joseph and Benjamin. Joseph becomes Jacob's favorite. While en route to Canaan Rachel goes into labor with her second son, Benjamin. The midwife tells her that the child is a boy. Before dying from difficulties of childbirth, Rachel names her son Ben Oni,"son of my mourning", but Jacob calls him Ben Yamin, "son of the right" meaning "son of the south", as Benjamin is the only child born in Canaan.
Rachel is buried by Jacob on the road to Efrat, just outside Bethlehem. Today a site claimed to be Rachel's Tomb, located between Bethlehem and Gilo, is visited by tens of thousands of visitors each year.
Although Rachel is not referred to in the Quran, she is referenced in the collection of stories known as Qisas Al-Anbiya (Tales of the Prophets), where her life as wife and mother is described in similar form to the bible.
Variants of the name Rachel include Racha, Rachael, Rachaele, Rachaell, Rachaelle, Rachal, Rachalle, Racheal, Rachela, Rachelann, Rachell, Rachella, Rachelle, Rachyl, Rackel, Raechael, Raechel, Raechele, Raechell, Raechelle, Raechellia, Raeh, Rahel, Raschelle, Rashel, Rashele, Rashell, Rashelle.
The names Lahela, Raakel, Raakel, Rachele, Racquel, Racquell, Racquella, Racquelle, Rahel, Raicheal, Raicheal, Rakel, Raquel, Raquel, Raquela, Raquele, Raquell, Ruchel, Ruchelle are all forms of Rachel.
Rachel falls into the name categories animal, biblical.
Some famous bearers of this name include: Rachel Caron.
Hebrew names have their origins in either the Old Testament or modern Hebrew vocabulary.
Local language versions of biblical names of Hebrew origin such as Hannah and David are still widely internationally popular today.
Modern Hebrew names are often derived from Hebrew vocabulary, for example Aviva (spring) and Dov (bear).
Children of Jewish heritage are usually given a Hebrew name for religious purposes and are sometimes also given a local language version of that name for secular purposes.
By custom, Ashkenazi Jews (Jews of German or Eastern European descent) name their children after deceased relatives. This is in order to honor the deceased relative, keep their name and memory alive, and to form a bond between the soul of the baby and the deceased relative so that they can live on within the newer generation.
Sephardic Jews (Jews of Spain, Portugal and the Middle East) in contrast, name their children after living relatives or deceased relatives. The father's parents names are generally used first and then the mother's parents names.
Neither Ashkenazi or Sephardic Jews will name a baby after one of the parents.
After a child is born, the father is given an aliyah (religious honor to bless the reading of the Torah). After this a blessing is said for the health of the mother and child. If the baby is a girl, she is named at this time. If the baby is a boy, he will be named during his brit milah (ritual circumcision) generally eight days after birth.