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 thru out of Judaism?

  • 11
    Note that this is in fact done by Sefardic Jews.
    – HodofHod
    Feb 16, 2012 at 5:22
  • 3
    @HodofHod: but not between parent and child (so no "Sr." and "Jr.").
    – Alex
    Feb 16, 2012 at 15:41
  • 1
    @Alex, Interesting, I did not know that. Thanks!
    – HodofHod
    Feb 16, 2012 at 15:58
  • So Safardic Jews will name after the living but not after parents. Feb 16, 2012 at 18:43
  • Sefardim would name their child after its father or mother if they passed away. Remember it's not often the father or mother die between the birth and naming/Bris. But it does happen and I know a couple of cases... Jan 3, 2017 at 14:26

2 Answers 2


Naming children after the living is only discouraged among Ashkenazi Jews; among Sefardim it's not uncommon.

(From Aish.com)

Sephardi Jews also name children after relatives who are still alive. This source is from the Talmud, which records a child named after Rabbi Natan while he was still alive (Shabbat 134a)

The reasons why Ashkenazim don't are: (From Chabad.org)

  1. Since it is a widespread custom to name children after deceased parents, grandparents and great-grandparents, naming after a living one could appear as though you're waiting for that person to die, G-d forbid.
  2. Out of respect for our parents, we don't refer to them by their proper names. Some say that when in the presence of a parent, you shouldn't use that parent's name even to refer to somebody else. For example, if your mother is named Sarah, you shouldn't refer to your friend who is also named Sarah by name in front of your mother. If we would name our children after our living parents—well, you can imagine the conundrum, and inevitable trip-ups.

Sources are brought at the bottom of that page.

For more information, check out those two links.

  • In the Sephardi world it's an honour -ultimate nachas- for the grandparents to hear their grandchildren being named after themselves. Jan 3, 2017 at 14:29

Among Ashkenazim it is generally regarded as an 'Ayin Hara' (Evil Eye). Among Sephardim it is the opposite - it is regarded as a way to confuse the angel of death, because he cannot take the wrong person.

(Source: several Sephardim I've spoken to about the subject)

  • Can you add a link/translation for "Ayin Hara"? Feb 17, 2012 at 5:14
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    @andreifreeman I hope that helps.
    – Seth J
    Feb 17, 2012 at 5:29

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