Suppose a person's wife goes to the hospital to give birth and the husband remained home with the rest of the children. They made up that the nurse will call and let the phone ring once if it is a boy and twice if it is a girl. Friday night the phone rings twice, so the husband decides that on Shabbos morning he is going to name his newborn daughter. Motzei Shabbos he calls his wife and tells her "I named her this morning Raizel after your Great Grandmother". She responds "What! It was a boy!". Does this child that was named in error maintain this name for life?

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    Which brings up a very important point about using phones as signals: The ringing you "hear" at one end of the line is computer-generated, and does NOT correspond to the actual rings.
    – yydl
    Feb 3 '11 at 23:37
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    He for sure doesn't have to retain it for life! Judaism allows for name changes. It is often in the case of a sick person, but this sounds like a sha'at hadechak enough to warrant it.
    – Double AA
    Dec 22 '11 at 23:02
  • See also judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/12906.
    – msh210
    Jan 2 '12 at 23:37

I'll have to look for sources, but let's consider: the naming is done as part of a Mi Shebeirach that mentions "the new mother ---, and her daughter who was born at an auspicious time, and her name is ---." So if it turns out that the baby was a boy after all, then presumably the whole thing would be a patent falsehood and therefore of no halachic consequence.

  • I have my own thoughts yet have not been able to find a source, other than a story where they named the boy Chana and the Rav told them to change it to Chono. Feb 3 '11 at 20:07
  • I've heard of a similar story with a boy named Rochel whom the rav suggested be called Shepsel (which has the same meaning in Yiddish). But I think that in both of these cases they actually named him thus at his bris, under the mistaken impression that it's a male (or unisex) name. That's different than the case you asked about, where the baby's gender was unknown when the naming was done.
    – Alex
    Feb 4 '11 at 1:21
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    I've heard a story that there was a boy that was called Rochel, and Rav Kanevski told to ADD him another boy-name and not to cancel the girl name he got.
    – jutky
    Feb 6 '11 at 23:12
  • @jutky - Isn't this the simplest solution in any case? That is, to cancel the shem arisa by never using it, even when the child is a baby?
    – WAF
    Jun 23 '11 at 13:45

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