What’s My Name?

Question

I didn’t know my Hebrew name, so I asked my parents and they told me that they never gave me one. Does that mean I can’t have a Hebrew name?

4 months

Answers

  1. Naming is taken very seriously in Judaism. We find that the names of all the important and central figures of the Torah were significant and given for a reason. This is because a name is bound with, and has an effect on, the spiritual character of a person. It is therefore of utmost importance to choose a name which fits this lofty purpose.

    Choosing a name is a very personal thing, which makes it somewhat difficult for me to make a suggestion without knowing you. Personally, I would suggest that you look at the Biblical names to see if one or more of them contains the ideas that you would like to encapsulate. Many names in the Tanach contain lessons and messages that might very well be what you are looking for. For a similar reason, I suggest that you consider a name of a person whose character traits you admire, who is a role model to you.

    Having said that, many people choose a Hebrew name that is similar sounding to their English name. This is a widespread practice and is perfectly acceptable.

    Another point to keep in mind is that we are taught to choose names that are “normal” and acceptable to each generation. One should not choose an unusual name that will likely lead to embarrassment.

    I wish you much happiness and success — and enjoy your new Hebrew name, whatever you choose!

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team