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. She indeed got married shortly thereafter, but her new husband’s name was Shimon! What should she do about her vow?

I saw an answer to this question in Parsha Potpourri, quoting Toras’cha Sha’ashuai, which had been quoting Rav Shach. I do not have access to that sefer. If you have another answer that is fine too, but I would like to see the answer of Rav Shach.

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    Not naming a child after a parent seems to be a Minhag, not a halacha. As such, it certainly should not prevent the woman from fulfilling her vow.
    – HodofHod
    Commented Jul 22, 2012 at 17:03
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    Annulling a vow is fairly simple. Can't see why this wouldn't be the first course of action here.
    – Dov F
    Commented Jul 22, 2012 at 17:07
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    This is all just because she doesn't want to have a husband and son with the same name? It's not like she's naming the son after the father.
    – jake
    Commented Jul 22, 2012 at 17:25
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    What's wrong with doing that? My mother, aunt, grandmother, and great-grandmother were all given have the same Hebrew name. -1 Commented Jul 22, 2012 at 18:01
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    @AdamMosheh If you think the question is based on a false premise, then explain what that is in a comment or answer, but don't downvote someone because they didn't know your grandmother.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jul 22, 2012 at 19:32

4 Answers 4


From http://www.shemayisrael.com/parsha/alport/archives/matos67.htm

ונבח הלך וילכד את קנת ואת בנתיה ויקרא לה נבח בשמו 32:41-42

Rav Aizik Ausband was once faced with a dilemma. His father-in-law, Rav Avrohom Yitzchok Bloch Hy”d, was one of the leaders of the Telz yeshiva who was tragically murdered in the Holocaust. Rav Ausband’s wife was pregnant, and if the baby was a boy, he wished to commemorate the memory of his father-in-law by naming the baby Avrohom Yitzchok.

The problem was that Rav Ausband’s full name is R’ Yitzchok Aizik. Since the prevalent custom is not to give a child the same name as his parents, Rav Ausband wondered whether he was permitted to have a son named Avrohom Yitzchok. Should this be avoided because both names would contain “Yitzchok,” or does the fact that each would have an additional name make it acceptable?

Rav Ausband presented his query to Rav Eliezer Silver, who replied that the Torah “explicitly” answers this very question at the end of Parshas Matos. Yair conquered the villages in Gilad and renamed them Chavos-Yair – the villages of Yair. Rashi explains that because Yair had no children, he named the villages after himself to memorialize his name.

The Torah continues and recounts that Novach captured K’nas and its suburbs and renamed them Novach in his name. Why isn’t the expression “in his name” also used in conjunction with Yair naming his villages Chavos-Yair? We even find later (Devorim 3:14) that Moshe mentioned that Yair called the cities על שמו – after his name.

Rav Silver answered that because Novach gave his exact name to his conquered territory, the Torah says that he called them “in his name.” Yair, on the other hand, added an additional name in calling his villages not “Yair” but “Chavos-Yair.” Moshe considered this a memorial to Yair’s name, but the additional name makes it a new name which can’t be considered “in his name.” As a result, the names Yitzchok Aizik and Avrohom Yitzchok, each of which contains an additional name, are considered two different names and may be used by a father and son!

Perhaps in this case, the woman should name the son Shimon with another name to avoid the issue. Alternatively, if the husband already has a middle name, she can name the son just Shimon.

  • How does this help in the instant case, where the father and the tana have exactly the same name?
    – msh210
    Commented Jul 22, 2012 at 19:05
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    Give the name Shimon with an additional name. Commented Jul 22, 2012 at 19:06
  • ? Devarim 3:14 records that Chavos Yair is called by his name!
    – b a
    Commented Jul 27, 2012 at 20:19
  • @GershonGold But if she gives the son an additional name which is not considered equivalent to just "Shimon" couldn't you say that she hasn't fulfilled her vow to name her son after R' Shimon b. Yochai?
    – Daniel
    Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 14:11
  • @Daniel: Ask your local Orthodox Rabbi Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 14:13

I finally found the Sefer Lulei Toratcha stories with Rav Shach on the parsha.Parshas Matos 30:4.

Rav Shach answered that she should name the child Shmayah since it is similar to the name Shimon and in this way she can be miskayim the neder a little bit.

  • Just took 3 years to find it.
    – sam
    Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 2:17
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    Better late than never!
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 2:26

Rabbi Zamir Kohen (founder of "Hidabroot" in Israel) states in his book "Sefer HaTzofen" ("The Code Book") that Yemenites are accustomed to name their children after themselves (e.g. Yosef ben Yosef) and that there is no technically Halakhic restriction in doing so.

It would appear that avoiding doing so is a matter of custom and not Halakhah. Therefore, the OP could either consult a Rav as regards the name "Shime'on ben Shime'on" or annulling such a vow. Good luck!


If you're Sephardic, there's nothing wrong with doing that! My mother, aunt, grandmother, and great-grandmother were all given have the same Hebrew name. I think that you should not be worried about this, so try not to get so discouraged over it. Unfortunately I also don't have access to Rav Shach's answer. Perhaps you can find the book "Parsha Potpourri," quoting Toras’cha Sha’ashuai on Hebrewbooks.org. Good luck!

(See comments below regarding the prohibition or permissibility of Ashkenazic Jews to follow Sephardic traditions.)

  • 2
    are you sefardi? Commented Jul 22, 2012 at 18:55
  • @ShmuelBrin - I would have to ask her again to be 100% certain, but I remember that one of my aunts told me a few years ago that my grandmother's family is descended from Jews who were forced to flee from Spain because of the Inquisition to stay Jewish. My mother's family obviously does have many Ashkenazi minhagim, but I think they are in fact partially Sephardic. (at least spiritually if not genetically) Commented Jul 22, 2012 at 19:08
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    It seems from here that the Sephardic tradition is to name new babies after living relatives. This source mentions naming (according to Sephardic tradition) even after a father. Thus the question only applies to Ashkenazim. Commented Jul 22, 2012 at 19:37
  • related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/9153/1059 Commented Jul 22, 2012 at 19:46
  • @AvrohomYitzchok - Some state that you should follow the minhagim of your rabbi and not the minhagim of your parents. According to that opinion, there is nothing problematic about this. After all, aseh lekha rav! Commented Jul 22, 2012 at 19:49

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