Many people do not name after a person that passed away in an accident, was killed or died young.* Is there an issue with naming after someone who dies from the Coronavirus, which is an epidemic, and may perhaps be considered a bad omen?

* See Hidabroot, Aish, Chabad.

  • OK now it works. Must have been a temporary glitch. In any case, I do not think that it deal with your question because it is talking about someone who dies young and this is an event that effects many people. Note the example given there about the Holocaust which was a cataclysm that affected the entire Jewish nation. This disease is a cataclysm that affected the entire world. – sabbahillel Mar 27 '20 at 19:02
  • @Sabbahillel throughout history there were many plagues. I am sure this must be discussed somewhere. Although my links are about people dying young, others do not name after an accident victim or someone who was killed. My question remains. – Gershon Gold Mar 27 '20 at 20:57
  • Why do you expect that this would be different from your first sentence? – Alex Aug 24 '20 at 23:00

There's an argument -- I believe I heard it on a Rabbi Frand tape ... maybe in the name of Rav Moshe Feinstein ... that we don't name after those who had particularly bad fate. Something like the Holocaust, though, was no longer a matter of individual fates, and therefore it would be permissible to name after those who perished in it. (Devil's advocate, I spoke with some Klausenberger Chassidim who would add a middle name or otherwise make a change when naming after someone who died in the Holocaust -- so it's not a universal position.)

By that logic, one could very well argue that dying in a pandemic is no longer about one particular person's bad fate.

  • 2
    There's a minhag that if you want to use the name of someone who died tragically, you alter the name a bit or add a second name that has to do with life or health, for example (one that I'm personally familiar with), adding the second name Chaim. – Harel13 Mar 28 '20 at 18:33
  • Who’s “we” in your first sentence? – Oliver Dec 23 '20 at 2:55
  • @Oliver R' Moshe Feinstein has a responsum about naming after someone who died of natural causes in their 50s and whether this concept would apply; he mentions it there. I don't know off-hand its provenance. – Shalom Dec 23 '20 at 10:37
  • @Shalom Thank you but that wasn’t my point. “We don’t name” - it’s not a universal tradition. “Some” might be more on point. Some will give the name of a parent/grandparent regardless of their fate; or after a righteous person who suffered in ill fate (e.g. King Saul) some will still give the same name while others will add. IOW, there are rarely an blanket “we do X” vis a vis name-giving. – Oliver Dec 23 '20 at 14:30
  • @Oliver thanks -- "those who have such a practice, and are therefore asking whether it applies in the case of a pandemic..." – Shalom Dec 23 '20 at 21:24

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