Jewish Baby Names

Jewish Baby Names.

merit mentioned is that they didn’t change their names.

This is considered significant, because all their names alluded to their ultimate redemption.Moreover, it is said that by maintaining their own language, the Jews effectively separated themselves from the Egyptians, which decreased their involvement in idolatry.The same can be said for keeping their Jewish names. (For a chassidic perspective on how the Jews’ keeping their Jewish names led to their redemption.

In general, the Hebrew name of every object is the conduit for its divine energy. The Arizalteaches that the same is true of every person’s name: it is the channel through which the soul’s energy reaches the body. It is said that parents receive a glimmer of divine inspiration when they give their child a Jewish name.

A baby boy is named at his brit (circumcision). If the brit is delayed, some authorities maintain that the name should be given when the father is called to the Torah, before the brit. However, the more prevalent custom is to wait until the brit is performed. If the child is a firstborn and a pidyon haben (“redemption of the firstborn”) ceremony is being held, some authorities say he should be named at that ceremony. If the baby is ill, and people would like to be able to pray for the baby using his name, he should be given a name earlier.

A baby girl is named at a Torah reading following her birth. It is theChabad custom to name a baby girl at the first possible Torah reading.(Torah readings take place on Mondays and Thursdays, as well as onShabbat and other special days on the Jewish calendar.) Some people have the custom of waiting until Shabbat to name the baby, when it can be done in the presence of the greater community. The naming is usually accompanied by a feast to celebrate the soul’s entering the body at that time.

Among Sephardim, the ceremony of naming a daughter is called zeved habat, or “presentation of the daughter.” A special mi shebeirach prayer is recited along with several other prayers, followed by a celebratory meal.