Chayyim (Hebrew: חַיִּים Ḥayyīm, Classical Hebrew: [ħajˈjiːm], Israeli Hebrew: [ˈχa.im, ħaˈjim]), also transcribed Haim, Hayim, Chayim, Chaim (English pronunciations: HYM, KHYM, KHAH-yeem) is a name of Hebrew origin; which means "life". Its first usage can be traced to Middle Ages. It is a popular name among Jewish people. The feminine form for this name is Chaya (Hebrew: חַיָּה Ḥayyah, Classical Hebrew: [ħajˈjaː], Israeli Hebrew: [ˈχaja, ħaˈja]; English pronunciations: HAH-yah, KHAH-yah ).
"Chai" is the Hebrew word for "alive". According to Kaballah, the name Hayim helps the person to remain healthy, and people were known to add Hayim as their second name to improve their health. (Among Serbians, the name "Vuk", meaning "Wolf", as well as Idir ("he will live") among Kabyles, was for similar reasons given to weak and ill neonates.)
In the United States, Chaim is a common spelling; however, since it is not phonetic, Hayim is often used as an alternative spelling. The "ch" spelling comes from translation of the Hebrew letter "chet", which also starts words like Chanukah, Channa, etc., which can also be spelled as Hanukah and Hannah. It is cognate to the Arabic word حياة (ḥayāh ), with the same meaning, deriving from the same Proto-Semitic root.
L'Chaim in Hebrew is a toast meaning "to life". When a couple becomes engaged, they get together with friends and family to celebrate. Since they drink l'chaim ("to life"), the celebration is also called a l'chaim.
Hebrew letters are also used as numerals, and the Hebrew letters that spell "chai" also stand for the number 18. Thus, 18 is considered a lucky number in Jewish culture. It is common to give gifts and contributions to charity in multiples of $18.
People named Haim
Notable people with the name include:
- Aaron ben Hayyim (fl. 1836), Russian exegete
- Aharon Ibn Hayyim (1545–1632), Biblical and Talmudic commentator
- Alana (born 1991), Danielle (born 1989) and Este Haim (born 1986), members of the American band HAIM.
- Chaim Dönnewald, German Entrepreneur and Social Engineer
- Chaim Herzog (1918-1997) Israeli president
- Chaim Koppelman (1920-2009), American printmaker
- Chaim Topol (born 1935), Israeli actor
- Chaim Weizmann (1874-1952) Israeli president
- Corey Haim (1971-2010), Canadian actor
- David Bar-Hayim (born 1960), Israeli rabbi
- Emmanuelle Haïm (born 1967), French harpsichordist and conductor
- Gene Simmons (born 1949 as Chaim Witz), Israeli-American co-founder of Kiss
- H.M. Wynant (born 1927 as Haim Weiner), American actor
- Hayyim Tyrer (died 1813), rabbi
- Karima Mathilda Haim or Mathilda May (born 1965), French actress
- Mordechai "Moti" Haim, Former Israeli footballer, father of the band members of HAIM.
- Ofir Haim (born 1975), Israeli football player
- Paul Ben-Haim (1897–1984), Israeli composer
- Philippe Haïm (born 1967), French film director, writer and composer
- Nahshon Even-Chaim or Phoenix (born 1971), Australian computer hacker
- Haim Saban (born 1944), Israeli-American media mogul
- Salim Haim (1919-1983), Iraqi dermatologist
- Solayman Haïm (1887-1970), Iranian lexicographer, translator, playwright and essayist
- Stephanie Haim (born 1991), Australian football player
- Tal Ben Haim (born 1982), Israeli footballer
- Tal Ben Haim (born 1989), Israeli footballer
- Werner Haim (born 1968), Austrian ski jumper
- Yehuda Ben-Haim (1955–2012), Israeli boxer
- Yehoyada Haim (born 1941), Israeli diplomat
- Yosef Hayyim (1832–1909), Sephardic Rabbi
- Ze'ev Ben-Haim (born 1907), Israeli linguist
- Zemah ben Hayyim (fl. 889-895), Gaon of Sura
- Zigi Ben-Haim (born 1945), American-Israeli sculptor and painter
- Alana Mychal Haim (born 1991), American rock musician of the band HAIM
- Danielle Sari Haim (born 1989), American rock musician of the band HAIM
- Este Arielle Haim (born 1986), American rock musician of the band HAIM