Naming Our Baby

I am a happy warrior from Nigeria who has been a committed listener of your program on YouTube. I am happy to say that your teachings have improved my knowledge in immeasurable ways as I continue to apply the principles of ancient Jewish wisdom I learn from your teachings.
My wife is currently pregnant and by God’s special grace, we will soon be receiving the blessing of our first son in our family. I will like your input in principles of ancient Jewish wisdom with regards to choosing a name for a child.

We will be glad to hear back from you in this regard as we prepare to choose a name for our son and set him up for a Godly life in line with Bible based ancient wisdom.

Thank you for all your teachings and in advance for a guide in child naming.

Ikenna O.

Dear Ikenna,

What a wonderful time in your life and how wonderful that you are approaching this new stage with seriousness and planning. Names are, indeed, important and we’d like to share some principles.

In a deep sense, a name positions one in the universe and makes relationships possible. Whenever tyrannical regimes depersonalize their population with the goal of turning them into socio-economic cogs in their masters’ machines, they give people numbers rather than names. Most armies give their recruits numbers. The Nazis tattooed numbers onto the arms of their Jewish victims. So, names are very important.

One option to consider is naming your child after someone who embodies character traits with which you hope the child will be blessed. In a mystical way, carrying someone’s name can, indeed, affect the child’s development. Parts of the Jewish community only name after someone who is no longer alive, while other segments of the community name after a living person.

In a similar vein, granting a name that means something conveys your hopes that your child will embody that trait. For example, if a name means strength or kindness, it is a way of blessing the child with that attribute.

You can hardly go wrong with a Biblical name and there are so many from which to choose.

It is the parents’ prerogative to name the baby. We believe that God grants parents a special insight into the baby’s soul. Sometimes, parents spend close to nine months sure that they want to use a certain name and then, when they look at the living baby, they realize that the name doesn’t match this specific child. They then come up with a name that is truly more suited to the new baby. Tune into that instinct. Don’t feel you have to name your son on the very day he is born. It’s just fine if you take a few days while you try to sensitively tune into the spiritual reality of this new soul entrusted to you. We wait to name our sons until their 8th day of life. Occasionally parents don’t get it right, and often in those situations, later in life, the child acquires a nickname, a name with which he feels more comfortable than he did with his given name.

We pray that your wife delivers in a good time, with good health for both mother and baby.


Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin

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