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The first Yehudis is mentioned in this week’s sedrah 26 (34–35).

“And Esau was forty years old, and he married Judith, the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath, the daughter of Elon the Hittite. And they were a vexation of the spirit to Isaac and to Rebecca.”

Rashi explains that they worshipped idols.

Why would anyone name their daughter Yehudis after this? But see here where it says that

“According to this account, Yehudis was a daughter of Yochanan the High Priest, father of the Hasmonian family.”!

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possible dupe judaism.stackexchange.com/q/73/759 Because it's a nice name. –  Double AA Nov 13 '12 at 19:47
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^^ are the above two comment votes to be interpreted as close votes or agreeing that Yehudit is a nice name? (My fault for putting them in the same comment.) –  Double AA Nov 13 '12 at 23:03
    
@DoubleAA perhaps the question is similar but my answer only applies to Yehudis in which case this question is not a duplicate! By the way thanks for editing! –  yehuda Nov 13 '12 at 23:09
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2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Rashi to Genesis 36:2 brings down that Yehudis was not her real name. Rather Esau called her that in order to pretend to his father that she had accepted on herself the to be a proper Yehudi.

So seeing as

A) Yehudis was not her real name and
B) that the name itself seems to be a very worthy name (from the fact that Esau chose that name to trick Yitzchok),

it makes sense that people still use that name.

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There are many names that were names of both Reshaim and Tzadikim. So long you are naming after the Tzadik there is no problem.

Harav Shmuel Eliyahu

כדאי שהשם יהיה שם של אנשים טובים וישרי דרך. אנשים צדיקים. אם קוראים על שם אדם מסוים. ראוי לבחור אדם שהוא חיובי שומר מצוות. בעל מידות טובות וכד'. לכן לא מומלץ לכתחילה לקרוא "מתן" שהוא שם של כהן לעבודה זרה. למרות שמשמעות השם היא חיובית. כן לא טוב לקרוא לכתחילה בשם "ענת" או "נבו" שהם שמות שהוזכרו בהקשר שלילי בתורה. שמות עם משמעות כפולה - אם יש שם שהוא גם שם של צדיק וגם שם של רשע כמו למשל "נעמה" או "ישמעאל" מותר לקרוא בו ויכוונו לרבי ישמעאל שהיה כהן הגדול ולא לישמעאל שהיה פרא אדם. יכוונו לנעמה אשת נח ולא לנעמה אחות תובל קין שחטאה והחטיאה את הנפילים. כן השם "יהודית" שהייתה אחת שהיא רשעית – אשת עשיו. ואחת צדקת שהצילה את ישראל בימי הבית השני. כן אבשלום, אלעד הם שמות שמשמעותם חיובית אע"פ שהיה אדם שלילי שנקרא בשם זה.

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Source that intention is the relevant factor? –  Double AA Nov 13 '12 at 19:53
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The next one after 26 (34) seems not to have been named after a tzaddekes! –  Avrohom Yitzchok Nov 13 '12 at 19:55
    
Tosafos Yeshanim Yoma 38b –  Reb Chaim HaQoton Nov 13 '12 at 20:03
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Also, if the Rasha came first, how did the first Tzadik come to be called that way? –  Double AA Nov 13 '12 at 20:07
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@RebChaimHaQoton Interesting, but that would suggest that Yishma'el is the exception not the rule. (Also, perhaps that should be an answer to judaism.stackexchange.com/q/73/759) –  Double AA Nov 13 '12 at 20:10
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