Wednesday, January 4, 2017


Most of the Oilam answered that שלא שינו את שמם 
applies to a Goyishe names. The only time there 
is a problem is when changing to a Goyishe name. 

I would like to take a different approach and say. 

Perhaps the concept of שלא שינו את שמם only applies
to not changing the name of a person who has already  
a name.*

One may**, however, name a child who never 
had a name with a made up name and possibly even 
a non-Jewish name.The rule of שלא שינו את שמם won't 
apply in such a case.

This might explain the Gemoro in Gittin 11b that says
 מפני שרוב ישראל שבחוץ לארץ שמותיהן כשמות עכו"ם 
and explain why throughout the ages Ashkenazim
have names in Yiddish, Polish, Russian and Sephardim
have names in Spanish & Ladino etc.

Harav R. Chaim Kanievsky Shlita is very Makpid not
to name newly invented modern Hebrew names. He 
claims that it's not a name at all and one must change 
it to a proper name. 
R. Chaim considers only names that appear in תנ"ך or
in בית שמואל (E.H. Hl. Gittin) or established names from
previous generations, as proper Jewish names.

His Psak is based on a Midrash Rabah (Breishis 37:7)
"The Rishonim who knew their Yichus and had Ruach
Hakodesh they were allowed to name after events
that occurred. We who are not at that level may only
name names of our forefathers."

When asked why modern Hebrew names are different 
than the names in Yiddish etc. that were given back in 
Europe. R Chaim insists that they must have had their 
own reasons and it is not applicable to modern Hebrew 
names of today.

R. Chaim has a very strong opinion on the matter. He
refers to those who name their children with modern
Hebrew names as משוגעים

*One of the Meforshim on the Midrash (שה"ש פ"ד) writes
"Being there are רמזים of the גאולה in the  names of
the שבטים, therefore, they were Zoche to go out of Mitzrayim 
by not changing their names(seems even changing to a
Loshon Hakodesh name would have been problematic)

** When I write "may" I mean that there is no problem 
with  שינו את שמם but you still may not do it because 
of the Breishis Rabah 37:7

1 comment:

  1. 1) The Loshon שלא שינו sounds better for changing an existing name rather than not giving a (Goyishe) name.

    2) The Midrash explaining שלא שינו says they didn't call Reuvain Rupis and Shimon Lulini etc. The Midrash doesn't say they didn't call their children Rupis, Lulini etc. Seems only if they had already a name then they didn't change it


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