to Jewish tradition, the naming of your child is a charming
thoughtful spiritual moment. Based on kabalistic teachings,
the name you select for the baby will have a strong effect
upon her life. Yet even greater, the Talmud tells us that
parents receive one-sixtieth of prophecy when picking a name.
An angel comes to the parents and whispers the Jewish name
that the new baby will embody.
this still doesn't seem to help parents from agonizing over
which name to pick! So how do we choose a name? And why is
the father's name traditionally not given to a son -- e.g.
Jr., or Ben Herman II? Can a boy be named after a female relative?
Can the name be announced before the Bris?
Jews - only name a child after a friend or relative
who has passed away. This will keep the name and memory alive,
and in a metaphysical way forms a bond between the soul of
the baby and the deceased relative. This is a great honor
to the deceased, as its soul can achieve an elevation based
on the good-deed of the namesake. The child, meanwhile, can
be inspired by the good qualities of the deceased -- and make
a deep connection to the past.
(Noam Elimelech - Numbers)
if you would like to use the name of a relative who passed
away, but another living relative has the same name? In that
case, if the living relative is closely related to the baby
-- parent, grandparent, or sibling -- then you should not
use the name.
Jews - name children after a friend or relative who
are still alive. This source comes from the Talmud, which
records a child named after Rabbi Natan while he was still
people choose a name based on the Jewish holiday that corresponds
with the birth. For example, a baby born at Purim-time might
be named Esther or Mordechai. A girl born on Shavuot might
be named Ruth. Likewise, names can also be chosen from that
weeks Torah portion. Many names and events are mentioned in
each Torah portion, offering a spiritual connection between
the baby and that particular biblical figure.
find in the Bible, Leah named her fourth son Judah. This comes
from the same root as the word "thanks." The letters
can also be rearranged to spell out the holy Name of God.
The significance is that Leah wanted to particularly express
her "thanks to God." (Genesis 29:35) If you want
to name a male after a female, you should try to keep as many
of the letters of the name as possible.
Esther, the hero of the Purim story is a name that comes from
the word "hidden." Esther was known to be a very
beautiful woman (she was chosen to be queen), but whatever
her external appearances, her hidden internal qualities were
even more beautiful.
is important to choose a name that will have a positive effect,
since every time it is used the person is reminded of its
meaning (Midrash Tanchuma - Ha'Azinu 7). The person who is
called Judah is constantly reminded of how much gratitude
we should have toward God!
English & Hebrew names.
parents pick Hebrew and English names that compliment each
other. The names may:
a) Sound alike or start with the same letter
b) Be variations or equivalencies of the same name
c) Have the same meaning
have the custom to avoid using the name of a individual who
died at a young age, or suffered an unnatural death. The reluctance
stems from the fear that the misfortune may, in a spiritual
method, be carried over to the new bearer of the name. Although
"dying young" is a relative term, Rabbi Feinstein
offers some guidelines:
an individual died a natural death and left children, this
is not considered "bad fortune" which would rule
out the use of the name. The prophets Samuel and King Solomon
both died at the young age of 52, yet traditionally Jews have
always used their names. Then again, if a person died an unnatural
death, then Rabbi Feinstein suggests that the name be altered.
It may be for this reason that when naming after the prophet
Isaiah -- who was murdered -- many Jews omit the last letter
of his name in Hebrew, Yeshaya instead of Yeshiyahu. (Yam
Shel Shlomo - Gittin 4:30)
Rabbi Y. Kamenetzky, a renowned scholar from the previous
generation considered the age of 60 the demarcation between
young and old. The Talmud (Moed Katan 28a) relates that Rabbi
Yosef made a party when he reached 60, celebrating the beginning
we don't announce the new name until the ceremony. This is
based on the fact that God changed Abraham's name in conjunction
with his circumcision -- at age 99 (Genesis 17:15). Also,
the boy only receives the full measure of his soul at the
circumcision, and a person cannot truly be "named"
until attaining that completion. (See Zohar - Lech Lecha 93a,
Ta'amei Minhagim 929)