Should we speak out?

August 13th, 2015 Posted by Ask the Rabbi No Comment yet

Question:

A friend and her unmarried daughter just named the new born baby ‘Delilah’. We believe that names are important and this namesake is a strange pick. My wife asked me whether she should say anything to this Bible-believing Grandma. Do you have an opinion about this?

∼ Mark

Answer:

Dear Mark,

We certainly do have an opinion and it is one that we often voice to ourselves: When someone does not ask your opinion, you should not give it. While, obviously, there are exceptions to this rule they are fewer and farther between than most of us imagine.

This Bible-believing Grandma must be having a difficult time dealing with her daughter’s out-of-wedlock birth. It sounds from your letter that she will be a full time support network for this new, little one. Her hands will be full and she will need her friends’ embrace over the years to come.

There is no reason for your wife to place herself in the position of critic. Certainly, this woman knows who Delilah was and has her own reasons for choosing this name—or else she already is uncomfortable with it but feels it is not worth a fight with her daughter.

If the baby grows up to have an acquaintance with and love for the Bible, she herself will probably choose a nickname by which to be known. Being present in her life as examples of warmth and joy is the best thing your wife can do.

Giving advice once it has been requested,

Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin

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