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

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23
votes
2answers
486 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 ...
22
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 ...
21
votes
4answers
587 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?
21
votes
2answers
465 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 ...
20
votes
1answer
323 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?
19
votes
2answers
352 views

Naming after the living. Why is it considered bad?

This is a fairly straight forward question. I am under the impression that this is bad. This is why you don't see many Moishe Abromowitz, III. Why is this bad, and why isn't that practice carried ...
16
votes
8answers
1k 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
458 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
742 views

Why Yehoshua **Bin** Nun and not Yehoshua **Ben** Nun

The Torah refers to Yehoshua as Yehoshua Bin Nun. (See here for an example). Why Bin Nun and not Ben Nun? Are there any places in Tanach where he is referred to as Ben Nun? Is there anyone else in ...
15
votes
2answers
430 views

How do you pray for a sick baby who has not yet been named?

Is it possible to say a Mi SheBerach for a sick baby who has not yet been named? If so, how is it done? And if one cannot say a Mi SheBerach, is there another prayer that can be said? What if there ...
14
votes
6answers
391 views

Silent letter in Yisachar

Why don't we pronounce the second ש in יששכר?
14
votes
5answers
556 views

Prayer for Illness - Why use the mothers name?

Why when someone is sick do we say his mothers name not his father's?
14
votes
4answers
277 views

Why did Avraham name his son before the Bris (circumcision)?

Why does the Torah seem to imply that Avraham named his son before the bris? First: וַיִּקְרָא אַבְרָהָם אֶת שֶׁם בְּנוֹ הַנּוֹלַד לוֹ אֲשֶׁר יָלְדָה לּוֹ שָׂרָה יִצְחָק And Abraham called ...
14
votes
5answers
281 views

Rabba bar bar Chana

There is a rabbi in the Talmud referred to as רבה בר בר חנה. Why is he called that way? It says that Rabba was the grandson of Chana. Who was Chana? Was it(?) a woman? Why wasn't he called after his ...
14
votes
1answer
980 views

What meaning do the names of the ten sons of Haman have?

Is there a meaning behind the names of the ten sons of Haman who were killed and hung (Esther 9:7-9)? They are: פַּרְשַׁנְדָּתָא Parshandasa דַּלְפוֹן Dalphon אַסְפָּתָא Aspasa ...
14
votes
1answer
195 views

Calling a father Abba, when his name is Abba

May a child call his father Abba - if his name is Abba?
14
votes
1answer
346 views

Time-frame for naming a newborn girl

I have heard many differing Minhagim as to the time-frame for naming a newborn girl. There are those that name at the first possible opportunity and some that wait till the second Shabbos. Many others ...
13
votes
4answers
736 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

Origin of the term Yoshke?

I have often heard Jews refer to Jesus as "Yoshke". Is the origin of that appellation based on halachic issues regarding mentioning names of foreign deities, or some other Jewish law or custom? When ...
12
votes
5answers
348 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?
12
votes
3answers
316 views

When/where did the practice of “recycling” names begin?

Perhaps this had never bothered anyone in the past, but for someone like myself who delves into genealogy, the fact that there are family naming patterns is a great boon. Of course, we can go only so ...
12
votes
2answers
415 views

Why are the descendants of Rav Pappah mentioned in the text of the Siyum for a tractate of Talmud?

Who are the descendants of Rav Pappah mentioned in the text of the Siyum for a tractate of Talmud, and why are they so important that we mention them all by name? Why don't we mention any other great ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the significance of bears in Judaism? Why has Dov (or Dov Ber) been such a common Jewish name?

I understand, to some extent at least, why lions are an important symbol in Judaism. After all, in the beginning of the Shulchan Aruch we are told we should rise like a lion to serve our Creator, and ...
12
votes
3answers
249 views

Why name but five creations?

God is described as creating many things in B'reshis chapter 1: animals, people, stars, plants, etc. However, about only five of his creations does it say that he called them by a name: "וַיִּקְרָא ...
12
votes
2answers
188 views

Promised to name son Shimon - now husband is Shimon!?

A woman who desperately wanted to get married traveled to Meron, the burial place of Rebbi Shimon bar Yochai, and vowed that if she found her match, she would name her first son Shimon in his merit. ...
11
votes
5answers
233 views

Males named מיכל?

Where does the male name מיכל (as in יחיאל מיכל) come from? Is it a diminutive/corruption/translation/elision of מיכאל, derived therefrom in some other way, or simply a false cognate?
11
votes
5answers
345 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
240 views

Why is Yitzchak spelled with a “sin” in Tehillim 105:9?

I just came across this strange variant spelling this morning. I've been in the habit of reciting Tikkun HaKlali recently and saw this in Artscroll's Tehillim this past Shabbat. Thinking it was a ...
11
votes
2answers
159 views

“Avram” for when he was young?

The Gemara in Brachot 13a teaches us that we should only refer to Avraham as Avraham and not as Avram. תני בר קפרא כל הקורא לאברהם אברם עובר בעשה שנאמר (בראשית יז) והיה שמך אברהם רבי אליעזר אומר ...
11
votes
1answer
654 views

What is a “Sephardic Jew”?

My name is Paul Avila (yea, I know, doesn't sound Jewish at all) I was born in the Azores Portugal and moved to the United States when I was 2. People always ask me if I am Persian. Never ...
11
votes
2answers
469 views

What is a “Rabbi Meir Bal Hanes” tzedaka?

I have seen several Tzedaka organizations calling themselves something like "Colel Chabad (or Kupas Ha'Ir) Rabbi Meir Baal Haness Charity". What does it mean that it is a "Rabbi Meir Baal Haness" ...
11
votes
1answer
448 views

Does one choose one or two pesukim for names?

What posuk does one choose at the end of shmonei esrei if one has two names? do you use two pesukim? or take the posuk that starts with the first initial of the first name and ends with the last ...
11
votes
2answers
154 views

David called “hamelech”, “hamelech David”, and “David”

My son noticed in Ⅱ Sh'muel chapters 5–6 that, although David is generally called "David", there are times he's called "hamelech" (="the king") or "hamelech David" (="the king David"). (I'm ...
10
votes
4answers
324 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.
10
votes
3answers
294 views

Jarchi = Rashi?

Is Rabbi Solomon Jarchi the same as Rashi? I saw Jarchi on the Internet on a Google search awhile ago, that it was Salomo son of Isaac, a French Biblical commentator and was wondering if it was the ...
10
votes
4answers
572 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
3answers
201 views

Why “Moshe Moshe”?

When Hashem appeared to Moshe at the burning bush in parshot shamot perek gimil why did he call Moshe's name twice? He could have just said "moshe" ONCE!
10
votes
3answers
202 views

Is there value in gender-adapted names?

There are various Hebrew names in use that are feminizations of pre-existing masculine names. (The opposite case may exist as well, but I can't think of any examples.) Examples: Yaakova Rafaella ...
10
votes
4answers
268 views

What's the origin of having more than one name?

I suppose this is more of a history question: as in when did Jewish people start naming their children with more than one name? But I would also be interested in knowing the circumstances behind it? ...
10
votes
3answers
312 views

Referring to Non-Jews

What's the most diplomatic and politically correct way to refer to non-Jews. Both in conversation, and in terms of this site?
10
votes
1answer
194 views

How to call up a ger who converted with his father?

In general a Ger is called up as [name] Ben Avraham. However, what if the Ger converted as a child together with his parents? I would think it is the same but I recently saw someone who is in that ...
9
votes
1answer
201 views

Why was Rabbi Yitzchok Alfasi known as the Rif - rather than the Ria? (הרי"ף - רבי יצחק אלפסי)

Rabbi Yitzchok Alfasi was known as the Rif. The Roshei Teivos of his name is רי"א, and as far as I know there is no other historic figure known as the רי"א. Then why was he known as the Rif?
9
votes
2answers
190 views

Avram-Avraham; Yaakov-Yisroel; Yitzchok-?

Why from the three Avos, Avraham and Yaakov had their name changed, and not Yitzchok?
9
votes
3answers
893 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
510 views

“Veadar” as the name of the extra month in leap years?

In older books and other publications that describe the Jewish calendar, it's quite common to see the extra leap month referred to as "Veadar." (One example is here.) But I have yet to hear that ...
9
votes
3answers
222 views

What is the etymology of סמאל?

I've heard that סמאל (Samael, a "bad" angel) is related to the word שמאל (left). Is there any basis for this, and are there any other explanations for his name? The Hebrew Wikipedia claims that it is ...
9
votes
2answers
342 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
201 views

Names of the books of Tanakh

When did the books of Tanakh get their canonical names? I understand that Five Books of the Torah were named after the first words in them, and that most of Navi was named after their authors, but ...
9
votes
1answer
102 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
5answers
3k views

Etymology/connection between Ari, Aryeh, Yehudah, Leib, and Leibel

What is the relationship between the following names that often go together is some combination? Ari/Aryeh Yehudah Leib/Leibel I've encountered many men, young and old, with the following first ...