Thread Rating:
  • 1 Vote(s) - 5 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Taking on a Hebrew name?
> I've read somewhere that it means "my people" or "my nation"

That is correct.
B"H. Question: I feel a need to change the name that I go by publicly, and maybe even change my legal name also. What is the Torah perspective about this for Noahides?


The general principle of this subject is that a person has authority and freedom of choice over his name.

However, this is a matter that should not be taken lightly. A person needs to keep in mind that his internal spiritual-life force is bestowed to him from the Heavenly realms, while the physical things that maintain his physical life, like food and drink, etc., are only external factors. A person's name is one of the conduits through which those spiritual influences come into, sustain and effect his life. But the person's degree of righteousness or sinfulness in G-d's eyes is the most immediate issue at hand, so the person needs to get those things in order as his highest priority. Many Gentiles find that repenting from past sins and sinful ways, and accepting to serve the One G-d as a pious Noahide (both of which they are obligated to do, regardless of what is happening in their lives on an external level), and increasing in deeds of goodness and kindness, brings more fulfillment and blessings into their lives.

There is good reason to just stay with the name that one is given at birth by one's parents, because (a) parents may be gifted with ru'ach hakodesh (spiritual insight) in the matter of choosing the name for their child, and (b) everything happens by Divine Providence. But on a case by case basis, a particular name that is inappropriate for a particular person may be channeling negativity or other challenges into that person's life.

If a person is experiencing a lot of difficulty in his life, it might be that the name that he was given is contributing to that. But it might have more to do with the people that he is associating with, and/or the location that he's living in (and/or his actions or lack of self-refinement, as mentioned above). Or, his name might be causing him embarrassment or internal conflict (for example, if he was given a name of, or based on, a false deity). In any case, it does sometimes happen that a person feels that he needs to consider changing his name. But since a name change may have spiritual (and therefore leading to physical) consequences for his life, which he is not privileged to see beforehand, it's worthwhile for him to seek advice from a (and hopefully his) reliable, trusted and spiritually sensitive Rabbi or spiritual adviser ("mashpia"), as to whether he needs to change his name, and if so, what he should consider changing it to.

Also note that if it is someone else who is urging the person to change his name, the person needs to be very cautious as to whether that other person really has his best interests at heart, or if that other person might have some hidden, and less than good, agenda in mind.

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)