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For some reason, I have it ingrained in me that a baby boy's name before the bris is a secret and should not be shared. Are there any sources for this, or is it something made up?

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The time between birth and bris is considered a 'dangerous time' for the baby. A sick person can change their name to fool the Malach HaMavet, so perhaps not having a name at all could be considered a similar protection for the child. (no source) –  zaq Sep 14 '11 at 19:38
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It makes the brit mila a lot more exciting (no source) –  Baal Shemot Tovot Mar 29 '12 at 21:38
    
My rav told me not to speak the intended name out loud under any circumstances until the bris. –  yoel Feb 26 '13 at 21:21
    
@yoel Were you told to do that only after you and your spouse decided on a name, or did even the planning/suggestion stages have to happen on paper? –  Double AA Feb 26 '13 at 21:31
    
@DoubleAA that once we had settled on a name and were planning to give him a certain name, we shouldn't say it - but also my rav only told me this after the birth (the context was whether or not to fill out a birth certificate in the hospital, he said to wait) so maybe before the birth it's different? The implication was that it was out of concern for ayin hara, and I seem to recall that somebody brings that one who isn't concerned about ayin hara need not observe minhagim concerning it, so perhaps the above doesn't apply to somebody who isn't concerned with ayin hara to begin with. –  yoel Feb 26 '13 at 21:49

1 Answer 1

I don't know of a halachic reason, but I can think of some good practical reasons. With naming after people being a way to memorialize family members who have passed on, different family members may have different ideas about which family member is most important to remember. You really don't want to go into a Simchah with In-laws fighting with each other and with you over which deceased relative was more worthy of being remembered. The custom that parents must decide the name, combined with the practice of not announcing the name in advance minimizes (although doesn't eliminate) lobbying and arguing and hence bad feelings.

Not announcing the name in advance also leaves the parents' options open to change their mind up to the time of the Bris. I've known parents who went back and forth over which name to choose right up to the time of the Bris. If you announce the name in advance it makes it much harder to change your mind.

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Reminds me of the Chelm story of parents fighting ove which side to name the baby after. She wanted after her father (Moshe the horse thief) and he wanted after his father (Moshe the embezzler). The rabbi said, name him Moshe and we will see which side he takes after. I have heard of cases in which both sides pointed to a relative on its side that the baby was "obviously" named for. In actuality, the baby was named for a famous tzaddik (no relation). –  sabbahillel Jun 10 at 13:13

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