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

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24
votes
2answers
2k views

Abbreviations before/after names

What are the more common abbreviations one might see printed before or after a person's name, and what do they mean? Please include honorifics (R'=Rabbi) as well as memorial - or prayerful - suffixes ...
13
votes
5answers
460 views

Naming after bad people

Why have there been famous(ly righteous) Jewish people named after Yishma'el, who, Chaza"l tell us, was evil and an enemy of Jews? Has anything similar happened with Esav? Korach? Others?
6
votes
6answers
1k views

Why is the word for G-d in Genesis plural?

The word for G-d in Genesis 1:1 is plural in all the manuscripts, there's no debating that it's plural. So really it should read "In the Beginning Gods created the heavens and the earth". Why is this ...
23
votes
5answers
932 views

Am I allowed to give my kid a non-Hebrew (non-Jewish?) name?

I'd seen some poster that said it's horribly wrong to ever give your kid a non-Jewish/non-Hebrew name. Is that the norm?
10
votes
4answers
817 views

Is it permissible to name one's child with a name from the opposite gender?

Is a person allowed to name a boy with a girl's name and vice versa? I remember seeing that one musn't, although in Nach one finds these things a lot. I understand it is not best practice for ...
10
votes
4answers
460 views

Jewish names that are not common

Why is it that many names of Tanoim and Amoroim are not commonly used? These were big Tzadikkim yet their names are almost unheard of. For example Tarfon, Chisda, Pupa, Avtalion, etc.
6
votes
1answer
411 views

Where are the rules for naming parshiyot explained?

Here I asked about the naming of parshat Noach and parshat Toldot. Is there someplace where parsha-naming questions like this are addressed in general, or are answers to individual questions ...
5
votes
7answers
3k views

Which surnames are exclusively Kohanim's and why?

It is well known that is a person has a certain surname (last name) they are more likely to be a Kohen. Examples: Cohen - for obvious reasons Kahn Katz - stands for "Kohen Tzedek" What are some ...
18
votes
8answers
2k views

Phrasing of refuah prayer when praying for a non-Jew

How would you phrase a refuah (recovery from illness) tefillah (prayer) for a sick gentile? "Thomas ben [=son of] Mary"? "Thomas Smith"? Is it appropriate to include the name during the ...
10
votes
1answer
592 views

Mentioning Yeshu's name?

Is there a source for not verbally (or in writing, for that matter) mentioning the name of Yeshu (the father of Christianity)? If there is such a source, what exactly is forbidden to say? Is it only ...
5
votes
3answers
3k views

Complete list of verses corresponding to people's names?

There is a custom to say a verse corresponding to ones name at the end of the Amidah, as a Segulah not to forget his name on the day of Judgement. There are several sources for this practice, ...
15
votes
5answers
1k views

Prayer for Illness - Why use the mothers name?

Why when someone is sick do we say his mothers name not his father's?
8
votes
3answers
266 views

Meforshim Nick"names

It has become common practice to refer to most meforshim by acronyms of their name (eg Rashi, Rosh, etc.). When and why did this practice start, and is it proper?
16
votes
4answers
1k views

Did Moshe have an earlier name?

Moshe was given his name by Pharaoh's daughter after she drew him from the water. However, Moshe was already three months old when this happened. Did he have a name before Pharaoh's daughter found him?...
8
votes
1answer
577 views

Naming after the Patriarchs/Matriarchs and Biblical heroes

Nowadays it is very common for Jews to name their children after the Patriarchs, Matriarchs, and Biblical heroes. But it doesn't seem (to me) as though this was very common until well into the period ...
7
votes
6answers
1k views

ALL Names of God

Where can I find an exhaustive list of all of the names of Hashem (preferably שמות and כינוים) in Tanach and elsewhere? Is this too ill-defined a topic to have an exhaustive answer? Do the 70 in the ...
21
votes
1answer
574 views

Is there any source for not sharing a baby's name before the bris?

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?
12
votes
5answers
484 views

Why are parshat Noach and parshat Toldot named that way?

I was taught that the parshiyot are named for the first significant word (or, rarely, phrase) in the parsha, and obviously names have to be unique. This week's parsha begins "eileh toldot Noach" and ...
9
votes
2answers
417 views

מרדכי = Mord'chi?

When learning with Jews of the Syrian community, I noticed that they pronounced מרדכי (the name of the halachic commentary on the g'mara) as "mord'chi", as if the final vowel were a chirik. Why is ...
6
votes
4answers
499 views

Cheshvan or MarCheshvan?

The month of Cheshvan is called by many MarCheshvan. Are both correct or which one is more correct?
6
votes
2answers
183 views

Changing someone else's name

In parshas Shlach Moshe changes Yehoshua's name. Does this mean his name really changed? IE was he called up to the torah as Yehoshua? Were his kids "ben Yehoshua"? Are there any other examples in ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

What was the name of Rachel and Leah's mother?

What was the name of Lavan's wife, the mother of Rachel and Leah?
4
votes
1answer
151 views

Why refer to Isaac Luria as the Arizal, and not Arizatzal?

One of the common ways to refer to the R' Isaac Luria is "the Arizal". I understand this to mean, The Ari, zecher L'bracha (may he be mentioned/remembered for blessing). However, one usually refers ...
3
votes
1answer
138 views

Grandpa and Grandson together again [closed]

What are the names of TWO distinct grandfathers and their grandsons are mentioned in the weekday Shemoneh Esrei ?
7
votes
2answers
4k views

What does “Baruch shem k'vod malchuso l'olam vaed” mean?

A sentence commonly said during prayer is "בָּרוּךְ שֵׁם כְּבוֹד מַלְכוּתוֹ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד". How do we interpret it? What does it mean? It sounds like it means: Blessed is/be the name of the ...
8
votes
3answers
335 views

changing one's Hebrew name

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 ...
2
votes
1answer
162 views

Saying names of angels

I've heard you shouldn't say the names of angels, except for the four that surround us at night. What's the source and reason for this? Is it halacha or kaballah?
17
votes
2answers
524 views

What was wrong with the word Talmud?

The Wikipedia article on The Talmud says: and Pope Pius IV commanded, in 1565, that the Talmud be deprived of its very name. The convention of referring to the work as "Shas" (shishah sidre ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the correct pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton?

I come from Christianity.SE, where I asked almost the same question. Isaac Moses assured me that the question would not be disrespectful and could be asked here. God's name is written as the ...
13
votes
1answer
157 views

Bes El or Bes Kel?

There is at least one city mentioned in Tanach named Bes El, written as two words; that name currently belongs to a city in Israel and a number of synagogues and Reform temples. Does that "El" have ...
9
votes
1answer
166 views

Process by which one changes their name

Leaving aside the reasons why someone would change their name. Is there a process that a person needs to go through in doing so? At what point does the new name-change comes into effect?
8
votes
1answer
230 views

Writing the name chaya

In Hebrew, writing "chaya" with all its letters would result in spelling God's name "ya". Is this okay? How should it be spelled? With a ' instead of the hay? With a ' between the yud and the hay? ...
7
votes
2answers
689 views

What's the source for naming children after Alexander the Great?

I know many Jews whose actual bris-given name is Alexander, and this has been a popular name even among great tzaddikim of the past (such as R. Alexander Ziskind). I've heard a legend (mentioned on ...
6
votes
1answer
594 views

What was Avraham Avinu's mother's name?

What was Avraham Avinu's mother's name? Our shul received a paper with questions on Simhat Torah, with this question being one of the harder ones. Is there a midrash on her name?
5
votes
3answers
275 views

What are some examples of Jewish names? [closed]

What are Jewish sounding names that come from various occupations and locations? Please give the "rough" translation and background too.
4
votes
1answer
298 views

May one use the name of an avodah zara?

What is the source for not using the proper name of an avodah zara? How far does this halacha extend? For instance if thousands of years ago people worshipped an avodah zara named "XYZ" but no longer ...
25
votes
2answers
655 views

How does a son call up his father for an Aliyah?

Suppose a son is the Gabbai in a Shul and needs to call up his father for an aliyah (or his brother who is the son of his father). Does the son say his father's name? Does he say something else ...
20
votes
2answers
689 views

Why are none of the Pharaohs in the Torah identified by name?

Throughout the Torah, the various Egyptian Pharaohs are always referred to as simply "Pharaoh" or "the king of Egypt" (or both), but never with any other parts of their official titulary. By contrast,...
10
votes
1answer
127 views

What is the source of Yartzeit tablet?

Who invented the Yahrtzeit tablet (panel)? At first glance, this could not have been common before 150 years ago, as there is no room to place candles where the electric lights go. Who invented ...
8
votes
1answer
408 views

Why do some transliterate “Balaam” when the Hebrew is “Bilaam”?

I've noticed that most translations render the gentile prophet's name Balaam, while the Hebrew is Bilaam (difference in first vowel). JPS does this in its translation, and people even do it here on ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

What's wrong with using “Adoshem” for the name of G-d when singing?

If seen it written that many chazzanim use "Adoshem" when singing (if not in the davening) as it has the same number of syllables as what they would be saying, namely Ado-noi, but that this is ...
8
votes
1answer
301 views

Jewish names commonly used in a different form than found in Tanach

Some names are popularly used in a different form than the way they're spelled or pronounced in Tanach. A few that I can think of are: Nochum (נָחוּם) - is written in Tanach (Nah. 1:1) as נַחוּם (...
7
votes
3answers
275 views

Can a grandparent name a child differently than the parents?

We all know that Moshe Rabeinu had 7 names and was called Moshe which was the name Basya gave him. Recently I was in a Shul and there was a fellow there that had a grandaughter the previous week. The ...
7
votes
3answers
233 views

Must readers be called to the Torah by name?

"I was in one place recently where they are very strict about calling people's names before they approach the Torah and another place where the people just came up one-by-one, having arranged ...
6
votes
0answers
87 views

יהושע too soon [duplicate]

We all know that Moshe did not change הושע to יהושע until the story of the spies. Why in Beshalach, quite a bit before this, was his name written in full?
6
votes
2answers
299 views

Formal Hebrew honorific for one's mother

Many men, when going up for an aliya, tell the gabbai their name as, e.g. "Reuven ben Rav Yaakov", even if "Yaakov," the father, isn't actually a Rabbi." I believe the reason for this practice is to ...
5
votes
4answers
514 views

Is there a Possuk in Tanach that starts with a Samech ס and ends with a Aleph א?

I have a relative with the name סימא and she has been unable to find a Possuk in Tanach that starts with a Samech ס and ends with a Aleph א. Is there such a Possuk?
4
votes
2answers
174 views

When did the word challa start being used to mean our Shabbos bread?

In the Torah we seem to only find this word associated with Temple related breads. In Rabbinic writings the word challa was the word referring to the amount of dough separated to be given to a kohen. ...
4
votes
1answer
161 views

Mi Shebeirach for one that is ill - if you do not know the mother's name

Can one make a Mi Shebeirach for an ill person if they do not know the mother's name?
3
votes
1answer
101 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?