Rabbi Yehudah Hechassid wrote in his testament (Testament of R. Yehudah Hechassid, sec. 23) that a man should not marry a woman whose name is the same as his mother’s, and a woman should not marry a man whose name is the same as her father’s. Some authorities say that this testament was only intended for Rabbi Yehudah Hechassid’s own descendants, and others argue that this is good advice for everyone (Piskei Dinim Tzemach Tzedek, Yoreh De’ah 116). How do people hold these days? Is a common name with a parent a deal-breaker, or is there a way around it, such as a name-change?

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    ...or is everything ok even without a name-change? – Double AA Apr 8 '13 at 17:10
  • See this article by Rabbi Yaakov Klass. – Fred Apr 8 '13 at 17:25

Rabbi JD Bleich is strongly opposed to the name-change business, it can create bona-fide halachic problems. Suppose Shprintza wants to get married, but her mother-in-law-elect is also named Shprintza. So we go through a name-change ceremony, she's not "Shprintza" anymore, she's "Gendendel." Great. A few months or years later, people feel they've fulfilled their religious obligation and everyone starts calling her Shprintza again. If G-d forbid she'd ever need a Get, this becomes quite messy.

Basically, in some Hassidic communities it's taken seriously; in Modern Orthodox circles it's ignored; for Litvish Yeshivish it probably depends on your circles. Someone asked Rabbi Moshe Feinstein about it -- "may I marry so-and-so, but what about her mother's name..." Rabbi Feinstein replied -- stuff like this, if it seriously bothers you, then you have to keep it; otherwise, you don't. If you're writing to me for a heter, that proves it doesn't seriously bother you, so go for it!

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    Any citation for the Rabbi Bleich opposition or the Rav Moshe story? – msh210 Apr 8 '13 at 17:32
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    @msh210 Citation for R' Moshe's opinion: Igros Moshe EH vol. 1, § 4. – Fred Apr 8 '13 at 17:38
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    @msh210 Rabbi Bleich's opinion is mentioned here: "Rav Bleich suggests that we should be very hesitant to add new times at any time. For, after the ksubah is written, and they give the Chasan an aliyah... he will say his name is Avraham ben pluni, and not Avraham Mordechai ben pluni. Also, it is questionable if the ksubah is good.... Even if they do call him Avraham Mordechai, what are you going to write on the get?... Therefore, why create problems when you really don’t have to?" – Fred Apr 8 '13 at 17:51
  • @Shalom: The Bleich article, Fred offers, suggests that a couple in this situation can simply go by nicknames (which they must use consistently). I understand that Rabbi Hillel Klavan's rebbetzin had to go by a nickname for that purpose to avoid confusion with her mother-in-law. – Bruce James Apr 8 '13 at 18:57
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    @Fred: I don't understand how a renaming creates problems for a get. The sofer routinely writes every name, English, Hebrew or otherwise, that the husband and wife has ever been known by. If someone was known as "Batman" to his friends, that name would be transliterated into Hebrew and listed in the get as an alternate name which would fully identify the person. – Bruce James Apr 8 '13 at 18:59

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