In light of the recent story in the news of a baby born an orphan. :(

Who names him (and performs the bris)? I assume the grandparents, but is there any tradition of which side has priority?

(I am aware of the halacha that the whole community is responsible for the bris, if the parents can't. I'm asking about the name, so this applies to a girl as well.)

  • Why did you tag brit-milah and mention the bris at all?
    – Double AA
    Mar 4, 2013 at 4:13
  • @DoubleAA I figured the halachos (or minhagim) of naming might be found near those of a bris.
    – Ariel
    Mar 4, 2013 at 4:52

1 Answer 1


Regarding the Milah, the Shulchan Aruch states (YD 261) that if the father doesn't circumcise his son, the obligation to ensure he is circumcised devolves onto the local Beit Din.

Regarding the name, the Ritva (Responsum 158) seems to take it for granted that an orphan son will be named after the now-dead father. Presumably the same would apply for mother-daughter. I don't know if this is common practice or not, but the Ritva is cited approvingly by R Yosef Karo (Beit Yosef YD 265).


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