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Sometimes a sick person changes his Hebrew name or adds to it.

Is there a problem (halachically or otherwise) with changing one's Hebrew name, for someone who is not sick? For example, he prefers a different name for whatever reason.

I am especially interested in halachic problems with this.

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2 Answers 2

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According to the Halacha a man a person has the right to change his name to whatever he or she likes.

But the menohg is not to do so without a valid reason, and only after consulting a prominent Rabbi, due to many complications that could arise in result of that, and for other reasons as well.

source: Kobas Ginas Verdimenter image description here

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One of the senior Rabbis in Israel - Rav Chaim Kanievsky (son of the famous Steipler Gaon) - occasionally changes people's names.

This is often done when their Biblical names come from wicked people - like Nimrod.

A friend of mine - a scion of a Rabbinic family - was told to change his name from Amir to Meir. (The reason given by Rav Chaim was that Amir was animal food; though we have not been able to find a source for this.)

We see in the Chumash that Hashem renamed Abram to Abraham and Sarai to Sara and Yaakov to Yisrael - even though they were not ill.

Other biblical figures also had multiple names. For example Moses - as mention on Wikipedia:

Moses' other names were: Jekuthiel (by his mother), Heber (by his father), Jered (by Miriam), Avi Zanoah (by Aaron), Avi Gedor (by Kohath), Avi Soco (by his wet-nurse), Shemaiah ben Nethanel (by people of Israel). Moses is also attributed the names Toviah (as a first name), and Levi (as a family name) (Vayikra Rabbah 1:3), Heman, Mechoqeiq (lawgiver) and Ehl Gav Ish (Numbers 12:3).

Conclusion: There does not seem to be a Halachic issue with changing one's name, but I have not found any primary sources for this assertion.

That said, I assume there are Halachic implications when changing one's name - like when writing Gittin - a Get has to have the accurate name(s) of both spouses to be valid.

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Re "Halachic implications" see e.g. judaism.stackexchange.com/q/35342. –  msh210 Mar 6 at 15:44
Re the animal food: Likely R. Chaim was referencing the mishna on Shabbos 76a: "עמיר כמלא פי טלה". –  jake Mar 6 at 17:16
there is a gemora on yoma where the amoraim deduce that certain people are wicked due to their name having a wicked connotation. perhaps Rabbi Chaim is basing himself on that. my question is what about if someone simply prefers a different name. can he change it to whatever he wants. –  ray Mar 6 at 18:37
and by himself. –  ray Mar 6 at 21:19

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