Questions tagged [names]

Questions about the purpose, meaning, halachos (rules), etc. of names.

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Abbreviations before/after names

What are the more common abbreviations one might see printed before or after a person's name, and what do they mean? Please include honorifics (R'=Rabbi) as well as memorial - or prayerful - suffixes ...
Seth J's user avatar
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Complete list of verses corresponding to people's names?

There is a custom to say a verse corresponding to ones name at the end of the Amidah, as a Segulah not to forget his name on the day of Judgement. There are several sources for this practice, ...
Menachem's user avatar
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17 votes
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900 views

Naming after bad people

Why have there been famous(ly righteous) Jewish people named after Yishma'el, who, Chaza"l tell us, was evil and an enemy of Jews? Has anything similar happened with Esav? Korach? Others?
WAF's user avatar
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10 votes
6 answers
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Why is the word for G-d in Genesis plural? [duplicate]

The word for G-d in Genesis 1:1 is plural in all the manuscripts, there's no debating that it's plural. So really it should read "In the Beginning Gods created the heavens and the earth." Why is ...
android.nick's user avatar
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28 votes
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Am I allowed to give my kid a non-Hebrew (non-Jewish?) name?

I'd seen some poster that said it's horribly wrong to ever give your kid a non-Jewish/non-Hebrew name. Is that the norm?
Shalom's user avatar
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23 votes
9 answers
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Phrasing of refuah prayer when praying for a non-Jew

How would you phrase a refuah (recovery from illness) tefillah (prayer) for a sick gentile? "Thomas ben [=son of] Mary"? "Thomas Smith"? Is it appropriate to include the name during the ...
Jeremy's user avatar
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13 votes
4 answers
1k views

Jewish names that are not common

Why is it that many names of Tanoim and Amoroim are not commonly used? These were big Tzadikkim yet their names are almost unheard of. For example Tarfon, Chisda, Pupa, Avtalion, etc.
Gershon Gold's user avatar
12 votes
4 answers
2k views

Is it permissible to name one's child with a name from the opposite gender?

Is a person allowed to name a boy with a girl's name and vice versa? I remember seeing that one musn't, although in Nach one finds these things a lot. I understand it is not best practice for ...
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8 votes
7 answers
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Which surnames are Kohanim's and why?

It is well known that is a person has a certain surname (last name) they are more likely to be a Kohen. Examples: Cohen - for obvious reasons Kahn Katz - stands for "Kohen Tzedek" What are some ...
Naftali's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
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Where are the rules for naming parshiyot explained?

Here I asked about the naming of parshat Noach and parshat Toldot. Is there someplace where parsha-naming questions like this are addressed in general, or are answers to individual questions ...
Monica Cellio's user avatar
21 votes
6 answers
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Did Moshe have an earlier name?

Moshe was given his name by Pharaoh's daughter after she drew him from the water. However, Moshe was already three months old when this happened. Did he have a name before Pharaoh's daughter found him?...
zaq's user avatar
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17 votes
5 answers
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Why are parshat Noach and parshat Toldot named that way?

I was taught that the parshiyot are named for the first significant word (or, rarely, phrase) in the parsha, and obviously names have to be unique. This week's parsha begins "eileh toldot Noach" and ...
Monica Cellio's user avatar
10 votes
3 answers
646 views

Process by which one changes their name

Leaving aside the reasons why someone would change their name. Is there a process that a person needs to go through in doing so? At what point does the new name-change comes into effect?
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18 votes
6 answers
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Prayer for Illness - Why use the mothers name?

Why when someone is sick do we say his mothers name not his father's?
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17 votes
5 answers
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What is the correct pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton?

I come from Christianity.SE, where I asked almost the same question. Isaac Moses assured me that the question would not be disrespectful and could be asked here. God's name is written as the ...
StackExchange saddens dancek's user avatar
13 votes
2 answers
2k views

Mentioning Yeshu's name?

Is there a source for not verbally (or in writing, for that matter) mentioning the name of Yeshu (the father of Christianity)? If there is such a source, what exactly is forbidden to say? Is it only ...
AEML's user avatar
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1 answer
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Name changed due to illness - Does this necessitate a new Kesuba?

A man or a lady were ill and a name was added to their previous name. Would there be a need to write a new Kesuba? Is the Halacha the same by a man who has an added name as by a woman who has an added ...
Gershon Gold's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
826 views

Was Pharoh's daughter named Basya or Bisya?

Was Pharoh's daughter named Basya or Bisya? Sources please!
Gershon Gold's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
976 views

Idolatrous origin of the name TAMMUZ

The Gemmorah in Jerusalem Rosh Hashana 6a explains the process of adopting the Babylonian names on Months instead of Biblical ones. דא"ר חנינה שמות חדשים עלו בידם מבבל R'Hanina said: the names ...
user16403's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
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Why identify personalities in midrash?

As noted previously on this site (quoting Mail-Jewish), there's a general tendency in midrashim to claim two persons in Tanach are the same. This is familiar to anyone who has studied Rashi's ...
msh210's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
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May one use the name of an avodah zara?

What is the source for not using the proper name of an avodah zara? How far does this halacha extend? For instance if thousands of years ago people worshipped an avodah zara named "XYZ" but no longer ...
not-allowed to change my name's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
715 views

When an adopted child is called to the torah, how are they named?

When an adopted child is called up for an aliyah, how are they referred to? Are they called ben-(adopted parents' name) or something else? Are there any qualifiers involved? I'm given to understand ...
Goodbye Stack Exchange's user avatar
28 votes
2 answers
1k views

How does a son call up his father for an Aliyah?

Suppose a son is the Gabbai in a Shul and needs to call up his father for an aliyah (or his brother who is the son of his father). Does the son say his father's name? Does he say something else ...
yydl's user avatar
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21 votes
2 answers
954 views

What was wrong with the word Talmud?

The Wikipedia article on The Talmud says: and Pope Pius IV commanded, in 1565, that the Talmud be deprived of its very name. The convention of referring to the work as "Shas" (shishah sidre Mishnah)...
Menachem's user avatar
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19 votes
1 answer
780 views

When did usage of "Hashem" to refer to G-d gain traction?

It seems as though virtually all seforim (especially those written by Acharonim and earlier) refer to G-d as either Hakodosh Boruch Hu or Ribono Shel Olom, and never as "Hashem." Similarly, I don't ...
Qoheles's user avatar
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11 votes
1 answer
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Is there a halachic problem with saying "Christ" as a name?

Since (according to the Gra (YD 147:3), cited in this answer), there is no issue in saying the name "Jesus," would there be an issue in saying the name "Christ"? This name might be ...
Chiddushei Torah's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
878 views

Naming after the Patriarchs/Matriarchs and Biblical heroes

Nowadays it is very common for Jews to name their children after the Patriarchs, Matriarchs, and Biblical heroes. But it doesn't seem (to me) as though this was very common until well into the period ...
Seth J's user avatar
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9 votes
3 answers
368 views

Meforshim Nick"names

It has become common practice to refer to most meforshim by acronyms of their name (eg Rashi, Rosh, etc.). When and why did this practice start, and is it proper?
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What was the name of Rachel and Leah's mother?

What was the name of Lavan's wife, the mother of Rachel and Leah?
Gershon Gold's user avatar
9 votes
3 answers
374 views

Must readers be called to the Torah by name?

"I was in one place recently where they are very strict about calling people's names before they approach the Torah and another place where the people just came up one-by-one, having arranged ...
WAF's user avatar
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6 votes
4 answers
669 views

Cheshvan or MarCheshvan?

The month of Cheshvan is called by many MarCheshvan. Are both correct or which one is more correct?
Gershon Gold's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
879 views

Why would people assume that "Afriki" is Africa?

Follow up on this question. Other than the name being similar to the English one, why would one assume that אפריקי in the Gemara has anything to do with Africa? The names are similar, but is there ...
ezra's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
396 views

Did Rabbi Akiva Go To Africa?

The Gemara in Rosh Hashana 26a says: ואמר רבי עקיבא כשהלכתי לאפריקי... Rabbi Akiva said: when I went to Afriki Is this referring to the continent of Africa? Was Africa in this time period ...
Shoel U'Meishiv's user avatar
34 votes
4 answers
3k views

Is there any source for not sharing a baby's name before the bris?

For some reason, I have it ingrained in me that a baby boy's name before the bris is a secret and should not be shared. Are there any sources for this, or is it something made up?
user avatar
28 votes
4 answers
3k views

Why Yehoshua **Bin** Nun and not Yehoshua **Ben** Nun

The Torah refers to Yehoshua as Yehoshua Bin Nun. (See here for an example). Why Bin Nun and not Ben Nun? Are there any places in Tanach where he is referred to as Ben Nun? Is there anyone else in ...
Menachem's user avatar
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26 votes
3 answers
2k views

Why are none of the Pharaohs in the Torah identified by name?

Throughout the Torah, the various Egyptian Pharaohs are always referred to as simply "Pharaoh" or "the king of Egypt" (or both), but never with any other parts of their official titulary. By contrast,...
Alex's user avatar
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16 votes
3 answers
342 views

Why name but five creations?

God is described as creating many things in B'reshis chapter 1: animals, people, stars, plants, etc. However, about only five of his creations does it say that he called them by a name: "וַיִּקְרָא ...
msh210's user avatar
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13 votes
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Why can't Ploni Almoni be a real name, in Ruth?

The verse states (Ruth 4:1): וּבֹעַז עָלָה הַשַּׁעַר, וַיֵּשֶׁב שָׁם, וְהִנֵּה הַגֹּאֵל עֹבֵר אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר-בֹּעַז, וַיֹּאמֶר סוּרָה שְׁבָה-פֹּה פְּלֹנִי אַלְמֹנִי; וַיָּסַר, וַיֵּשֵׁב Now Boaz ...
Double AA's user avatar
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11 votes
3 answers
2k views

changing one's Hebrew name

Sometimes a sick person changes his Hebrew name or adds to it. Is there a problem (halachically or otherwise) with changing one's Hebrew name, for someone who is not sick? For example, he prefers a ...
ray's user avatar
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11 votes
4 answers
2k views

Why do we comfort a mourner with Hamakom Yenachem Eschem?

Why, when comforting a mourner at the completion of a Shiva visit, do we refer to G-d as Hamakom? We say Hamakom Yanachem Eschem - why not Hashem Yenachem or Elokim Yenachem?
Gershon Gold's user avatar
10 votes
3 answers
9k views

Etymology of the Name Feivel

Where does the Jewish name Feivel (or Feivish) come from? What does it actually mean?
yydl's user avatar
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9 votes
6 answers
2k views

ALL Names of God

Where can I find an exhaustive list of all of the names of Hashem (preferably שמות and כינוים) in Tanach and elsewhere? Is this too ill-defined a topic to have an exhaustive answer? Do the 70 in the ...
WAF's user avatar
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9 votes
3 answers
444 views

Can a grandparent name a child differently than the parents?

We all know that Moshe Rabeinu had 7 names and was called Moshe which was the name Basya gave him. Recently I was in a Shul and there was a fellow there that had a grandaughter the previous week. The ...
Gershon Gold's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
844 views

מרדכי = Mord'chi?

When learning with Jews of the Syrian community, I noticed that they pronounced מרדכי (the name of the halachic commentary on the g'mara) as "mord'chi", as if the final vowel were a chirik. Why is ...
msh210's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
303 views

Earliest Sources To Avoid Pronouncing the Name 'Samael'

What are the earliest explicit sources that reference the practice of not pronouncing the name 'Samael'? I ask since I have heard many people doing this. It is referenced here: http://www.yeshiva.org....
mevaqesh's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
260 views

Changing someone else's name

In parshas Shlach Moshe changes Yehoshua's name. Does this mean his name really changed? IE was he called up to the torah as Yehoshua? Were his kids "ben Yehoshua"? Are there any other examples in ...
user avatar
7 votes
4 answers
4k views

Why is it called "Zos Chanukah"

Why is the eighth, and last, day of Chanukah called "Zos Chanukah" and what is it significance?
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6 votes
2 answers
604 views

Formal Hebrew honorific for one's mother

Many men, when going up for an aliya, tell the gabbai their name as, e.g. "Reuven ben Rav Yaakov", even if "Yaakov," the father, isn't actually a Rabbi." I believe the reason for this practice is to ...
Isaac Moses's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
256 views

Why refer to Isaac Luria as the Arizal, and not Arizatzal?

One of the common ways to refer to the R' Isaac Luria is "the Arizal". I understand this to mean, The Ari, zecher L'bracha (may he be mentioned/remembered for blessing). However, one usually refers ...
Menachem's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
577 views

Can a Jew name a child after a (deceased) non-Jew (non-relative)?

Can a Jew name a child after a (deceased) non-Jew (non-relative)? Is there any prohibition against it?
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