What is the Hebrew name of Eve, the first woman? And what is its deeper meaning?
The Aish Rabbi Replies:
The original biblical name of Eve is "Chava." As with most of the names in the Torah, the Torah explains the significance of this name, which was given to her by Adam.
"The man called his wife's name Chava, because she had become the mother of all the living" (Genesis 3:20). The root of this name is connected with the word Chaya which means living, and the word "Chai" which means life. "Chava" is in causative form – i.e. she caused all the people in the future to live. (source: "Rashi" Genesis 3:20 with "Siftei Chachamim")
The Midrash Talpiot explains that Adam could speak all the languages that would ever come into existence. Nevertheless, one day he saw that the animals were crying, and he couldn't figure out what they were saying. Chava said to him, "They are crying because they are hungry." Adam immediately recognized that she was right and gave her the name "Chaya" because she was a nurturer.
Similarly it is stated in the Talmud, "She was called Chava because she nursed the whole world. (Avodah Zara 43a).
Alternatively, "Chiva" is a snake. The snake affair was alluded to in her name (Klei Yakar – Genesis 3:20).
The name Chava, is usually translated into English as Eve, because the first letter "Chet" and "Heh" are sometimes exchanged. Thus, the two E's in eve, are instead of the 'Chet" and "Heh."