Fathers can, and have, named their sons Ismael. So why would they not be allowed to name their son Esau? The reason for Esau and Ismael being similar is because both names are generally identified with as siblings of patriarchs that cause trouble and are undesireable.

Typically, Esau is portrayed as unfavorable in rabbinic interpretation of Genesis. I am not sure, but I would think there would be a halachic issue with naming a child after someone evil (I could not imagine that any Jew would be allowed to name their child, say, Amalek). This question is two fold because it asks a preliminary question, "Is Esav 'evil' or 'bad' in the Jewish mindset and is this falsifiable?"

  • 4
    possible dupe? judaism.stackexchange.com/q/73/759
    – Double AA
    Mar 12, 2015 at 6:18
  • Yoi ask my a father name? Is this to assume a mother can? Mar 12, 2015 at 7:02
  • I learnt (IIRC indirectly from the Lubavitcher Rebbe) that the naming of a son is the only chance ordinary Jews have for prophecy. If a father named his son Esau, presumably this would reflect on the life of the son. It seems to me a strange choice, but so do Nimrod and a few others, even Nadav and Avihu. I wouldn't expect it, but I'm not sure there is a prohibition, if the father insisted even after it was explained to him that maybe it's not appropriate.
    – Epicentre
    Mar 12, 2015 at 8:11
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    Yishmael did tshuva. The name Yishmael was chosen by Hashem, that's why it was used. Esav and his name do not have these redeeming traits.
    – user6591
    Mar 12, 2015 at 9:56
  • Yishmael is a special case as the name was given by G-d himself. (The angel who appeared to Hagar). It's true the name Eisav was given to him by a Patriarch but that still isn't enough.
    – CashCow
    Mar 12, 2015 at 15:50


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