Is "Rahav (רהב)" an Appropriate Name for Israel's Next Sub?
By mid-2015, Israel expects to take command of its fifth Dolphin-class submarine, and integrate several unmanned surface vessels (USVs) into its littoral and blue-water defenses, Defense News said Tuesday.Now, there is a reference, albeit a negative one, that might prompt the naming of a submarine as "Rahav", as per Bava Batra 74b (Daf | Text | English):
The INS Rahav - one of a total of six – is considered to be one of the most advanced and cutting-edge diesel-electric submarines in the world, and possesses numerous capabilities fit for a large variety of missions.
Germany donated the first two submarines after the first Gulf War in 1991 and split the cost of the third with Israel. The fourth was received last year. In March 2012, Israel signed a contract for the sixth submarine, meaning that by the end of the decade the navy will have doubled its fleet.
The 68.6 meters, 2,400 ton submerged displacement Rahav carries ten swim-out torpedo tubes, according to Defense News, which noted that “published sources” said the craft is equipped with “DM-2A4 Seehake wire-guided torpedoes, UGM-84C Harpoon anti-ship missiles and Triton anti-helicopter missiles.”
But why use the name if it's referenced so negatively?ואמר רב יהודה אמר רב בשעה שביקש הקב"ה לבראות את העולם אמר לו לשר של ים פתח פיך ובלע כל מימות שבעולם אמר לפניו רבש"ע די שאעמוד בשלי מיד בעט בו והרגו שנאמר (איוב כו) בכחו רגע הים ובתבונתו מחץ רהב אמר ר' יצחק ש"מ שרו של ים רהב שמו ואלמלא מים מכסין אותו אין כל בריה יכולה לעמוד בריחו שנאמר (ישעיהו יא) לא ירעו ולא ישחיתו בכל הר קדשי וגו' כמים לים מכסים אל תקרי לים מכסים אלא לשרה של ים מכסיםRab Judah in the name of Rab further said: At the time when the Holy One, blessed be He, desired to create the world, he said to the angel of the sea: 'Open thy mouth and swallow all the waters of the world.' He said unto him: 'Lord of the Universe, it is enough that I remain with my own'. Thereupon, He struck him with His foot and killed him; for it is written: He stirreth up the sea with his power and by his understanding he smiteth through Rahab. R. Isaac said: From this it may be inferred that the name of the angel of the sea was Rahab. And had not the waters covered him no creature could have stood his [foul] odour; for it is written: They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My Holy mountain etc. as the waters cover the sea. Do not read: They cover the sea, but [in the sense]: 'They cover the angel of the sea.'
In addition, the commentators on the verse in Iyov (26:12) and on Yeshaya (51:9) say that Rahav is an alias for Egypt, based on Yeshaya 30:7:
Furthermore, the Zohar tells us that the ministering angel of Yishma'el is named "Rahav".וּמִצְרַיִם, הֶבֶל וָרִיק יַעְזֹרוּ; לָכֵן קָרָאתִי לָזֹאת, רַהַב הֵם שָׁבֶתFor Egypt helpeth in vain, and to no purpose; therefore have I called her arrogancy that sitteth still.
Is a submarine that is named for our first oppressor or our last oppressor appropriate?
This is besides the fact that "Rahav" itself means "arrogance". Is that the message Israel wants to portray to the world?