Piggybacking on this question...

I am wondering if there are any names (such as Alexander, or other names for which Jews have a special tradition to name children) that supersede the Ashkenazic custom to name children after deceased relatives. For example, may I name my son Alexander--even if neither my husband nor I have any known relatives named Alexander--as part of fulfilling the Jewish tradition to name children after Alexander the Great? Or is the latter tradition contingent on having previous relatives with the name (suggesting that that "tradition" per se was only applicable to one generation)?

If not Alexander specifically, are there any other special names for which we have traditions that may supersede the Ashkenazic naming custom?

1 Answer 1


You may name a child not after a relative or teacher. Source: several Ashkenazic talmide chachamim I know who have done so.

  • 1
    I'm wondering, then, why most Ashkenazim name their kids after relatives? Do they just want to? Or is it because they are not talmide chachamim and do not know that there is no such law?
    – SAH
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 7:53
  • I didn't say there's no reason to. I only said it's permissible not to.
    – msh210
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 14:36

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