When a non-Jew converts to Judaism he/she usually changes their name to a Jewish name, so Why didn't Onkelus change his name upon becoming a Ger?

  • 3
    Maybe he did in fact?
    – msh210
    Commented Dec 28, 2018 at 6:39
  • 4
    How common is the practice today, that not doing so warrants a reason? How common was it at the time of Onkelus?
    – Tamir Evan
    Commented Dec 28, 2018 at 6:43
  • 1
    This is a very interesting question about today practice and a question about old practice. An hypothesis: Maybe he was very known with his first name and people continued to call him onkelos.
    – kouty
    Commented Dec 28, 2018 at 8:56
  • 2
    Also, why his conversion is always stressed "Onkelos HaGer"? Maybe the two are related?
    – Al Berko
    Commented Dec 28, 2018 at 9:37
  • 3
    [Tvunah.org](tvunah.org/… ) quotes the Maharsham that there is no issur for a convert to remain with his original name, although a change of name is advisable. Commented Dec 29, 2018 at 19:25

1 Answer 1


Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky was asked this question and he said since this was done in order to show that a person that came from the Roman royal family converted.

ושאלו את מרן שליט"א מדוע אונקלוס הגר לא שינה את שמו, והשיב שמאחר שאין זה הלכה אלא רק מנהג, לכן העדיף אונקלוס להישאר עם שמו, כי היה בכך כבוד שאונקלוס, שהיה מגזע הקיסרות הרומאית, התגייר

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