Questions about the purpose, meaning, halachos (rules), etc. of names.

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Is there any attestation to the name “יעל” spelled with an Aleph?

Larry Gonick's Cartoon History of the Universe includes the story of Yael killing Sisera. The author renders the name with the common "Y" to "J" substitution as "Jael" and, in an aside, mentions that ...
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1answer
60 views

Why is it called Berachah Me'Ein Shalosh, and not Arba'?

Why is the blessing recited after eating the 7 Species of Israel called Berachah Me'Ein Shalosh, (one that is equivalent to three) and not Berachah Me'Ein Arba' (one that is equivalent to four)? The ...
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1answer
78 views

“פְּנִיאֵל” and “פְּנוּאֵל”

Is the פְּנִיאֵל of BeReishis 32:31 the same as the פְּנוּאֵל of 32:32? If so, why the change in term used to refer to it? If not, is there a story behind the two places with such similar names?
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1answer
117 views

Moshe being called Moshe Rabbeinu

We refer to Moshe as "Moshe Rabbeinu". (It's interesting about the avos as well that we say, for example, Avraham Avinu; however, I'll keep that for a separate question.) When was the first time (and ...
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3answers
187 views

Conventions for derivation of Hebrew names

How is a Hebrew name chosen for a person whose legal name is English (or other vernacular)? Is the name chosen based on phonetic resemblance to one's English name, a resemblance in meaning, or mere ...
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1answer
97 views

“Ramba”m“ or ”The Ramba“m”?

I often hear the Hebrew abbreviation for Maimonides appended to a definite article but don't quite understand why it should be there when the unabbreviated name would (I think) never warrant such an ...
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1answer
301 views

Can a man marry a woman with the same name as his mother? (Or vice-versa?) How?

Rabbi Yehudah Hechassid wrote in his testament (Testament of R. Yehudah Hechassid, sec. 23) that a man should not marry a woman whose name is the same as his mother’s, and a woman should not marry a ...
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80 views

Why is Korach's rebellion referred to as בְּנֵי לֵוִי?

In Bamidbar 16:7, Moshe chastises Korach and his congregation saying, רַב לָכֶם בְּנֵי לֵוִי. However, other than Korach himself being from Levi, the rest of the co-conspiritors seemed to be mainly ...
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1answer
68 views

What's “מיי׳” short for?

The En Mishpat Ner Mitzva on the Bavli (in the standard edition, anyway) refers to the Mishne Tora (Yad Hachazaka) as "מיי׳". What is this an abbreviation of? (I have an ...
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72 views

Naming a baby after a living non-relative

As an Ashkenazi Jew, can I name my child after someone who is alive if they are not a relative or are you not supposed to name a child after the living, regardless of your relationship with them or ...
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1answer
115 views

Naming after non religious relatives

Is it appropriate to name your children after relatives who were not Frum? Assuming that the relatives were good people and would fall under the category of "tinok sh'nishba". Would it be better to ...
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1answer
76 views

Margaliyos family tree

Many famous rabbanim have had the last name מרגליות. A couple that come to mind are ר' ראובן מרגליות and ר' אפרים מרגליות. Are they related? Where could I find genealogical information on such people? ...
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19 views

Expounding a student's name

The Gemara in Berachos 39a has the following account: תני תנא קמיה דרב נחמן בר יצחק מניח הפרוסה בתוך השלמה ובוצע ומברך אמר ליה מה שמך א"ל שלמן א"ל שלום אתה ושלמה משנתך ששמת שלום בין התלמידים ...
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34 views

Why do we call people up to the Torah by name?

In shul, if a guest is honored with an aliyah, I watch as the gabbai walks over (or sends someone) to get the guest's name, then call that same person up by that name. Once the guest has been told ...
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106 views

Non-Jew who takes a Jewish name

Let's say someone goes through an invalid conversion, and now they incorrectly think they are Jewish. They pick a Jewish name for themselves, and they are called up to the Torah by that name and use ...
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Grammatical origins of names in Tanach

Almost all nouns in Hebrew fit into one of several standard "templates". For example, מִבְחָן comes from the root בחנ combined with the pattern מִפְעָל (already used by many other words). There would ...
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63 views

Why don't Ramaniote Jews use the hei in names?

I am named after my grandfather and great grandfather on my mother's side, both of whom were Ramaniote. My name, therefore, is "Avram Mosh" (אברם מוש) instead of "Avraham Moshe" (אברהם משה). I've been ...
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31 views

saying the word “Jesus” [duplicate]

The standard practice seems to be avoiding saying the word "Jesus" due to the halacha of שם רשעים ירקב, but some people seem to be willing to say it. Is there a heter for this? (Also, would this heter ...
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94 views

Anywhere in Tanach where brothers-in-law have the same name?

Is there anywhere in Tanach where brothers-in-law have the same name? Either two sisters married men with the same name, or a woman married someone with the same name as her brother. There is a ...
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91 views

Origin of Yisha'yahu (Isaiah/יְשַׁעְיָהוּ)'s name

Does Jewish tradition teach us anything that might explain the origin of the name Yisha'yahu/Isaiah/יְשַׁעְיָהוּ? I am referring to the prophet who bore the name. If his name means, as it seems to, ...
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52 views

Why are rabbonim referred to by the names of their seforim?

Many rabbonim who published important seforim are coloquially referred to by the names of one of the seforim. Why is this? When did it start?
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53 views

Why do we use the Babylonian month names? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why use Babylonian calendar instead of our own? The Torah refers to the months of the near numerically, the names we employ for things like contracts, birkat hachodesh ...
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33 views

What are the halachot of identity theft or misrepresentation online? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: False portrayal on an anonymous Q&A site Is using a misleading name or avatar online halachically permissible?
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4answers
204 views

Is it idolatry to use the english word “God” to refer to Hashem?

Shabbos 67b says "Gad" (גד) was the name of an Amorite idol, and we shouldn't use it. Shouldn't this apply to the name "God" as well? eg. "God forbid"
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2answers
184 views

From the Torah itself how do we know that various names of God points to the same God?

Jews believe that God, while having many names, is actually one. So the idea is that El Elyon, Elohim, El Shadai, YHWH, Adonai, El, are just names mostly referring to the same being. Is there any ...
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134 views

Magicians of Egypt (sometimes referred to as Jannes and Jambres)

Exodus 7:11 ESV Then Pharaoh summoned the wise men and the sorcerers, and they, the magicians of Egypt, also did the same by their secret arts. Exodus 7:11 Hebrew Study Bible (Apostolic / ...
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2answers
180 views

Is IshBoshet, Saul's son, his real original name?

Boshet means shameful or abomination. Did his parents name him that? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ish-bosheth In short, the question is whether that's his original name.
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185 views

Why is the name 'Yerushalayim' absent from the Torah?

Bereishit Rabbah (56:10) tells us that Yerushalayim was named as a unification of Avraham's "Yireh" after the akeidah and Malkhitzedek (who was really Shem) who greeted Avraham after saving Lot who ...
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201 views

Why is Eretz Yisrael called “Eretz Tzvi”?

Why is Eretz Yisrael called "Eretz Tzvi"? What does this mean exactly? Why? and Where does it say this?
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1answer
516 views

Why are we allowed to refer to “Yisra'el” as “Ya'akov”?

The Torah states (Bereshis 35:10) that when G-d blessed Ya'akov, he says, "Your name shall no longer be called Ya'akov, but Yisra'el shall be your name". If so, why does God, and we are allowed to ...
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1answer
61 views

Naming an orphan

In light of the recent story in the news of a baby born an orphan. :( Who names him (and performs the bris)? I assume the grandparents, but is there any tradition of which side has priority? (I am ...
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348 views

Why does Esther change her name?

Esther is initially called Hadassah (Esther 2:7). Why does she change her name, ostensibly even before she is brought to the king's harem?
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1answer
207 views

The male name Yona

It is most common for the name Yona to be used for males. There are many female Yona's too. In Parshas Noach the Pasuk says V'Hayona Lo Motzo Monoach which is a Loshon Nekeiva (female dialect). How ...
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1answer
57 views

Why does the Gemara sometimes use the word Ben and sometimes use the word Bar?

Why does the Talmud sometimes refer to someone as Ploni ben Ploni, and other times as Ploni bar Ploni? Classic example: In Bava Batra 14b the gemara says Rabbi Shimon ben Yocahi In Bar Ilan's ...
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1answer
60 views

Source of the name Achira - What did עינן have against his brother?

The nasi of Shevet Naftali's name was Achira (אחירע), which translates to "my brother is evil." What did Enan (his father) have against his brother, that he should give his son such a name?
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1answer
155 views

Pronunciation of Esther's cousin's name.

I have seen a couple of places where Mordechai’s name is spelled with a kamatz katan under the daled. Has anyone else seen this and do you know which is more accurate: Mordechai/ Mordachai/ Mordochai ...
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2answers
165 views

Yarden's River Name

Why is it called ירדן?
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2answers
79 views

Secular Names for Days of the Week

Is there a problem using the secular names for the days of the week? If so, is it 1) because they originally come from Polytheistic gods or 2) simply because the people forbidding them are of the ...
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2answers
119 views

What Set Oholiab and Bezalel apart?

In Exodus 31, Gd designates Bezalel son of Uri son of Hur the Judite, Oholiab son of Ahisamach the Danite, and 'all the wise-hearted' to construct the tabernacle. Why are Bezalel and Oholiab ...
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1answer
142 views

Is the last name Logan Jewish?

My last maiden name is Logan and I want to know if I am of Jewish descent. Logan was my grandmother's last name and she was from New York. I attend synangogue on Saturday having always been drawn to ...
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1answer
98 views

When an adopted child is called to the torah, how are they named?

When an adopted child is called up for an aliyah, how are they referred to? Are they called ben-(adopted parents' name) or something else? Are there any qualifiers involved? I'm given to understand ...
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1answer
48 views

How is סדר טהרות properly pronounced or pointed?

The last seder of the Mishnah is טהרות, but I can find no agreement on the vowels for this word. Some variations I have seen: טְהָרוֹת טַהֲרוֹת טָהֳרוֹת There may be others. Which answer makes the ...
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1answer
74 views

chassan/kallah signing the kesubah or tenaaim

I have seen bridegrooms and brides sign their names on their kesuba or tenaaim (prenup) before the chuppah (wedding ceremony). It seems maybe to be a chassidish custom, though I'm not sure. Is there ...
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1answer
197 views

Responding to “that's not a Jewish name”

My ancestry is not eastern-European, and sometimes when I meet people in a Jewish setting and we introduce ourselves, I'm met with "that's not a Jewish name" (referring to my last name, mostly). I ...
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1answer
67 views

Mishebeirach for someone who doesn't want their mother's name used

Suppose someone really dislikes his mother and does not want to be known as (for example) "יוסף בן רחל". He's sick, and people wish to pray for him in a Mishebeirach. Do his wishes have to be ...
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1answer
167 views

Who was Nehorai?

Is anything known about the Tanna named Nehorai? He had a son R' Yosei (also a Tanna). There's also a R' Nehorai ben Shemayah (or Shema'yah? I'm not sure). Are they the same person? Is anything known ...
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1answer
62 views

Why name Yitzchak after something that is perhaps negative?

The episode in Bereishit 18:12-25 of Sarah laughing at the news of having a child in a year is often seen as a negative thing. יב וַתִּצְחַק שָׂרָה, בְּקִרְבָּהּ לֵאמֹר: אַחֲרֵי בְלֹתִי ...
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1answer
52 views

Number then Names

וְאֵת שְׁנֵי בָנֶיהָ אֲשֶׁר שֵׁם הָאֶחָד גֵּרְשֹׁם כִּי אָמַר גֵּר הָיִיתִי בְּאֶרֶץ נָכְרִיָּה וְשֵׁם הָאֶחָד אֱלִיעֶזֶר כִּי אֱלֹהֵי אָבִי בְּעֶזְרִי וַיַּצִּלֵנִי מֵחֶרֶב פַּרְעֹה Why tell us how ...
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39 views

Naming children after opposite gender [duplicate]

Are there any issues with naming a boy after a woman, or a girl after a man? We do see many examples of people making male names more feminine e.g. Daniella, Gavriella. I once heard that the latter ...
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32 views

Is there a reference that explains the literal meaning and etymology of the names of the Hebrew months?

Is there a reference that explains the literal meaning and etymology of the names of the Hebrew months? I am looking for something that explains both the common Babylonian names as well as the Tana"ch ...