I have two Hebrew names. One of my sons has 3. Many people I know have 3; someone I called to the Torah had 4. At 3, people who have to address you often, (rebbes, teachers) seem to get confused. (can't quite explain why this would be worse than rembering the names of the other 25 in the class, but that's what it seems to be.)

Is there a limit to the number of names? If so, what is it, and why this limit?

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    The longest I can think of is in Yeshayahu 9:5 כִּי-יֶלֶד יֻלַּד-לָנוּ, בֵּן נִתַּן-לָנוּ, וַתְּהִי הַמִּשְׂרָה, עַל-שִׁכְמוֹ; וַיִּקְרָא שְׁמוֹ פֶּלֶא יוֹעֵץ, אֵל גִּבּוֹר, אֲבִי-עַד, שַׂר-שָׁלוֹם – Danny Schoemann May 27 '14 at 14:08
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    I believe the Noda Beyeuda discusses this that two names is a new thing,people only had one name originally,if one looks in tanach ,Mishna,and gemara one will notice everyone has one name,however there is a bal hatosfos which has two but some hold its a double loshon – sam May 27 '14 at 14:19
  • @sam beta.hebrewbooks.org/… Top of the page. Is that also the tosfos you had in mind – preferred May 27 '14 at 15:55
  • @preferred yup that's it..... Reb Yaakov Yisroel,basically the same thing,double lashon... – sam May 27 '14 at 17:28
  • I suppose I shouldn't use an example from fiction and say Manasseh Bueno Barzilai Azevedo da Costa. – Mike May 28 '14 at 1:47

Rav Moshe Shternbach (Teshuvos Vehanhagos 3:297) quotes the Chazon Ish as saying that one should only give more than one name to a child if he is planning on actually referring to that child by all of his/her names. He felt that giving a child extra names just to name him/her after someone else without planning to use those names for anything other than being called up to the Torah is inappropriate.

(My experience has been that this isn't really followed, though...)

  • But one does use nicknames and not the actual names often. And there seems to be some reason for it. Maybe he would say you have to use a nickname for both – preferred May 28 '14 at 8:08

My husband actually has a friend named Pele Yo'etz Kel Gibor Aviad Sar Shalom. His younger siblings only have one name apiece.

I don't think that there's a halachik limit.

-Rebbetzin HaQoton

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    No way his third name is "Kel". Maybe "El". We wouldn't name someone with God's name. – Double AA May 27 '14 at 16:59
  • @DoubleAA - Not completely... Shalom is one of God's names, yet there are many called by that name. And, there are many names ending in "El", not a problem. (Though I did hear about someone who was so "machmir" on this that he called himself "Kelikahu". – DanF May 27 '14 at 19:27
  • That name sounds familiar... oh yeah, he's a son of Yeshayahu (maybe) mechon-mamre.org/i/t/k/k1009.htm. I wonder how many names that's considered - it might just be considered one name since the navi uses it for only one person (as opposed to the custom nowadays, where multiple names are named after different people, like Chayim Yaakov Meir or whatever) – הנער הזה May 27 '14 at 19:36
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    Yes, his name is El. It just seemed strange to write Hashem's name on its own (unlike, for example, in a name like Eliyahu.) Pardon my "frum reflexes." - Rebbetzin HaQoton – Reb Chaim HaQoton May 28 '14 at 5:40
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    Jonathan son of Uziel, who translates the verse differently, would hold that it is God's name, but he would also say that the only human name here is Sar Shalom, Prince of peace: judaism.stackexchange.com/a/34229/4682 – Baby Seal May 28 '14 at 13:26

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