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Many people, especially in previous generations, have names which contain a vernacular component (eg. Yiddish names et c.).

According to some shittot (see references to the Chattam Sofer here) one should not use a vernacular name as part of one's shem kodesh (the name by which one is called to the Torah).

According to these opinions, is one permitted/required to remove one's vernacular name, and does this require a formal process of some sort, or merely a cessation of the name's use?


My name is completely Hebrew, so this question is unable to apply to me personally.

  • Are you considering "MiFrankfurt" to be completely Hebrew just because of the prefix? – Double AA Feb 9 '17 at 6:12
  • Like "Yitzchak Isaac" or "Tzvi Hirsch"? – Shokhet Feb 9 '17 at 6:13
  • The way it was explained to me many years ago, there were two general things done. One was inclusion of the town or region where someone resided. That has always been done like is found by many of the Sages in Talmud. The second thing is what the Chatam Sofer was objecting to. There was a decree from Napoleon Bonaparte as he conquered Europe. He required all people to change their names to the format that he wanted. This was viewed by many to violate the idea of not following in the ways of the gentiles. It also contradicted one of the merits mentioned for why the exodus from Egypt occurred. – Yaacov Deane Feb 9 '17 at 14:42
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    I know of at least one person whose halakhic opinion I highly respect who holds that Yiddish can be considered different from other vernaculars for this purpose. – Daniel Feb 9 '17 at 15:36
  • @DoubleAA, "MiFrankfurt" is just a web handle :) – Noach MiFrankfurt Feb 9 '17 at 16:25

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