This question may sound strange but it relates to the power of names on Judaism.

Typically, when a Jew is named after respected figures from Jewish history, it's done because we hope for our children to live up to the characteristics of such individuals.

  • The humbleness of Moses
  • The faith of Abraham
  • The beauty of Esther
  • etc.

That being said, people are human and they don't always live up to the names they are given. Some even go in the opposite direction in certain cases.

My question is simple. If a Jew is named after respected individuals, can it be argued that they have to be careful in how they act because their mistakes are simultaneously tainting the name they share with such respected figures?

If someone named Moses does something terrible and they are seen in the community as having done something terrible, does the fact they share Moshe Rabbeinu's name inadvertently cast an insult on the person they're named after?

  • 6
    Live up to the beauty of Esther? How can one work on that? And is that really her best quality??
    – Double AA
    Jul 17, 2019 at 23:27
  • 2
    I knew a Yehoshua who was more sun than moon. It caused him him great consternation. Jul 17, 2019 at 23:29
  • 2
    “Can it be argued...” - from a halachic perspective? Otherwise it can certainly be argued.
    – Oliver
    Jul 17, 2019 at 23:52
  • Maybe so, and maybe that would explain the rarity of certain Biblical names (such as Avraham, Moshe, David) in the Talmudic era - maybe people were afraid that giving their child such names would set too high a bar for them?
    – Meir
    Jul 18, 2019 at 0:02
  • 1
    I recently researched the concept of naming children, but the source are not directly related to this question (because it's not true). I've posted it as a separate question and answer; see Minchas Elazar quoted there, which is the closest to the assertion in the question.
    – chortkov2
    Jul 18, 2019 at 8:14


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