Since the origin of this name has already generated so much
debate, I hope no one will mind if I throw more fuel on the fire.
Alexander Beider's authoritative Dictionary of Ashkenazic Given
Names traces this name, which he spells Beyle, to the form Bel(l)a,
borrowed by Jews in France, Italy, and Spain >from their Gentile
neighbors in the Middle Ages. It is derived >from either the French
"belle" (beautiful), or Isabella, the Spanish form of Elizabeth.
According to Beider, the similarity to the Czech word "bela" for
"white" and to a Czech Christian name derived >from this adjective
reinforced the name's popularity among western migrants, but they
were not its origin. The Hebrew name Bilha can be either an
independent name found in the Bible, as Henriette Moed Roth pointed
out, or a Hebraized spelling of Beyle chosen to fit the Biblical name.
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