Friday, May 20, 2011

Naming Children

Even for someone who is not very mystically inclined, naming a child awakens mystical concerns. Jewish thought through the ages places great significance to names, starting from the bible and ending with Kabbilistic meanings. Names have an elemental power - they somehow transcend mere social purposes to convey elemental power. Names are commonly  believed to influence a person's fate and character.  In the bible Angels have hidden names that give those who know them power over them:

יֹּאמֶר מָנוֹחַ אֶל-מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה, מִי שְׁמֶךָ:  כִּי-יָבֹא דבריך (דְבָרְךָ), וְכִבַּדְנוּךָ.17 And Manoah said unto the angel of the LORD: 'What is thy name, that when thy words come to pass we may do thee honour?'
יח  וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה, לָמָּה זֶּה תִּשְׁאַל לִשְׁמִי--וְהוּא-פֶלִאי.  {פ}18 And the angel of the LORD said unto him: 'Wherefore askest thou after my name, seeing it is hidden?' {P}

And so it is with some anxiaty that my wife and I are searching for a name for an expected child. Below is a collection of rules - some concioucly adopted, and others revealing themselves only after reflection, on how to choose a name for an Israeli child:

  1.  No naming children after anyone who died young. - espousing the belief that the name itself is somehow endowed with the curse of a short life. My objections that many people with a similar name have lived long and happy lives has been refuted by the claim that the act of naming someone in memory of the unlucky deceased links their fates. A possible solution to this problem is adding a second name signifying long life.
  2.  No names of anyone who has sinned in the bible and is remembered in ill repute.
  3.  No names for boys that are primarily names for girls. This rule does not apply the other way round.
  4.  No names of any former boyfriends/girlfriends. Also no names of anyone you ever disliked.
  5. No names that are corny. This rules out all the names that involve "Gift", Light, happiness or anything  kitschy.
  6.  Names in Hebrew should at least sound normal in English. I.E the Hebrew name MORAN is out of the question. (As is Dror - sound like draw, Shy, Guy (especially if your last name is penus like this famous Israeli celebrity).
  7.  You must think of how the name sounds when your family name is added.
  8.  No Facebook inspired names.
Suggestions for names that comply with all said rules, will happily be received in the comment section. 

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