Motze’ie Shabbat: What’s in a Name?

Names and their meanings are very important in Jewish culture. Because of this, very special care is given when choosing a child’s name. My friends at the Hebrew Conversation Group I attend told me when I began coming that I needed to choose a Jewish name. The one man suggested Delilah, which I promptly rejected due to the fact that she is NOT a character in Scripture I particularly wish to be associated with. We reached a consensus with Devorah—a Biblical figure I have a lot more respect for!

I once heard someone say they looked at the naming of children as a chance for a parent to prophecy over their child. Certain strains of Jews do not generally name their children after a living relative, and some men avoid marrying women with their mother’s name. In The Jewish Book of Why, by Alfred J. Kolach, he says “if a man were to marry a woman with the same first name as that of his mother, and his mother were to die, the man would not be able to name his future child after her because his wife (still living) carried that same name.” Complicated? Yes!

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