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Barack means Lightning, Rahm means Thunder

Aaron Keyak — November 6, 2008 – 6:49 pm | Barack Obama | Democrats | Israel Comments (24) Add a comment

Remember when it was reported that President-elect Barack Obama had a problem with the Jewish vote?

That is no more.

In one of President-elect Barack Obama's first Presidential decisions since Election Day he selected Representative Rahm Emanuel to be his Chief of Staff. We all know that Emanuel has "has a proven commitment to Israel’s security and served as civilian volunteer on an Israeli military base during the Persian Gulf War of 1991." We also know that Emanuel's "aggressive, pragmatic style of politics" makes him the perfect selection to be Obama's Chief of Staff.

But could have Emanuel's selection had something to do with his first name - Rahm?

In Hebrew, Rahm (רעם)* means "thunder" and Barack (ברק) means "lightning."

"If you are near...lightning you’ll hear thunder as one sharp crack" 

Thunder & Lightning = Change that can get it done


*Point of clarification: Ra'am- spelled reish, ayin, mem - means thunder, but it depends on how he spells his name. If he spells his name reish, mem, then it may mean something different (like "high, lofty, or loud") - and it looks like he may. (Thanks for the heads up Nava!)





Mel Feinberg | November 7, 2008 – 1:43 pm

Not clear that Barak should be associated with the Hebrew word for thunder- barak. It may be better derived from baruch- blessed. Either way works for me.


Michael Brook | November 7, 2008 – 1:45 pm

I like your Barack-Rahm, Lightning-Thunder match-up, but I must point out that Barack is from Swahili, which is turn is from Arabic, which shares the Semitic root with the Hebrew “baruch,” blessing or blessed.

Risa | November 7, 2008 – 2:08 pm

The choice of our friend Rahm is absolutely wonderful news. The consideration of Larry Summers is not.  He has a demonstrated anti-women history. I hope NJDC will be as vocal in its opposition to Summers as we are in support of Rahm.

The Town Crier | November 7, 2008 – 2:20 pm

Not to mention the fact that “Emanuel” is Emanu-El literally “god is with us”

Soylent Red | November 7, 2008 – 9:22 pm

Maybe they do in ancient Hebrew.

In modern Hebrew those words mean “Oh crap! We’re doomed!”

Getta | November 7, 2008 – 11:40 pm

I thought that Barack was Hebrew or Aramaic and meant blessing or blessed.

Deborah Lockett | November 8, 2008 – 7:39 am

Correction: “Rahm” and “Barack” mean “Compassionate” and “Blessed”, respectively.


Rahm Emanuel’s father, Benjamin, ... said his son is the namesake of Rahamim, a Lehi combatant who was killed.

“Rahamim” means “compassionate” (as in this Baby’s Name guide):

Rahamim Boy Hebrew Compassionate

“Barack” means “blessed”, as in the Arabic name Mubarak and the related Hebrew name Baruch:
Baruch Boy Hebrew Blessed

Kind regards
Deborah Lockett, translator
Canary Islands, Spain

Dusty | November 8, 2008 – 8:00 am

Rahm’s name is most likely spelled רם ...i’m israeli, no one is named “thunder”, no one….and רעם is pronounced ra-ahm anyways…not rahm.

Rob | November 8, 2008 – 10:52 am

He could also spell it reish het mem, meaning mercy. maybe that would calm down arab fears ;)

Deanna | November 8, 2008 – 11:50 am

I think I am as excited by this pick as I am anything. Together? Look out!

G | November 8, 2008 – 1:11 pm

Surely you must know by now that ‘Barack’ is Arabic for ‘Baruch’, ‘blessed’?!

Alexa | November 8, 2008 – 3:34 pm

Actually, Barack means “blessing”.

Baruch Adonai | November 8, 2008 – 10:03 pm

Um, no.

The name Barack is not Hebrew. The hebrew translation of Barack is Baruch, meaning “blessed.” Nice try, though. The hebrew name you show is Barak.

C | November 9, 2008 – 6:54 pm

The name of Barack is actually meant to mean ‘blessing’, as in Beracha.

ac | November 10, 2008 – 3:21 am

It does seem to be reish, mem (no ayin):,7340,L-3620040,00.html

But I’ll still think “Lightning and Thunder.”

Pete Goebel | November 10, 2008 – 11:06 am

“Barack” is an African form of the Hebrew “Baruch” which means “blessed”.

Miriam | November 10, 2008 – 1:30 pm

Acutally, Barak means blessed like “Baruch” the K represents a caf not a koof. Barak with a koof is lightning but it’s still really neat that their names mean Blessed and Lofty!! | November 10, 2008 – 9:57 pm

I agree that Rahm is an excellent choice. His name fits him. He is the real pitbull for Democratic and Jewish concerns. This choice should ally concerns about Obama’s intentions toward Israel and American Jews.

Ismaeel Marikar | November 11, 2008 – 1:10 am


Huck | November 11, 2008 – 4:55 am

Isn’t Lightnin’ the Stepin Fetch character from Amos And Andy?

nogs | November 12, 2008 – 6:57 pm

That’s simply not correct Hebrew. Ra’am means thunder, Ram means elevated, tall, high, great.

John Tyler, Author | January 26, 2009 – 4:11 pm

Lightning means Burraq in Hebrew.  Arabic = Barak.  Anglicised is Barack.
Islam believes their “Messiah” called al Mhadi or the 12th Imam, will appear riding on the back of a horse named ‘Lightning’.  Translated: Islam will rise to power riding on the back of Barack.”
This and a lot more is in the book, “America’s Two Holy Wars found on Americas Two Holy
Did you also know that the temple that will be built on Mt. Moriah was destroyed on August 4th 70 A.D.?  Guess what month and day Obama was born on?

Happy reading.  Get informed!

Gili | February 3, 2009 – 1:27 am

Nice coincidence except that it is a bit of a stretch.  Rahm (רם) means great or loud, Ra’am (רעם) means thunder.

Rick Raybourn | October 12, 2009 – 7:50 pm

So his names mean “lightning” heres what Jesus said about “lightning”  And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Luke 10:18

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