- Origin: Hebrew בְּצַלְאֵל
- Meaning: “in the shadow of God; under the protection of God.”
- Gender: masculine
- Pronunciation Eng: beh-ZAH-lel
The name is borne in Exodus 31:1-6 by the chief artisan assigned by Moses to build the Tabernacle, Ark of the Covenant, priests’ vestments and other equipment with the assistance of Aholiab. In Exodus 31:1, he is listed as the son of Uri.
The name itself is believed to share a similar etymological construction with the Akkadian male names ina-ṣilli-Bēl and ina-ṣilli-Nabu (in the shadow of Baal or Nabu).
The name has always been used in the Jewish diaspora in Europe and the Middle East. It was borne by the 16th-century Ottoman rabbi and talmudist Bezalel Ashkenazi, and it was the name of the father of the Maharal of Prague,(Judah Loew ben Bezalel circ. 17th-century).
The Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design & the Jewish art movement known as the Bezalel School both take their name from the character in the Bible.
Among Russian-Jews, Vasily would have been used as a Russified form, though the names do not share an etymological relationship.
Other forms include:
- Bezaleël (Dutch)
- Bezalel (English, German)
- Béséléel (French)
- Beseleel Βεσελεήλ (Greek)
- Bezaleèl (Italian)
- Becalel (Polish)
- Besaliel (Portuguese)
- Veseleíl Веселеи́л (Russian)
- Becalél’, Becal’ї́l Бецале́ль, Бецал’ї́л (Ukrainian)