Ask the rabbi

  • Family and Society
  • Names and Name Changing

Naming children


Rabbi David Samson

9 Av 5763
When a man is called to the Torah, he is called as his father’s son (eg, Yitzhak ben Avraham). When a person is sick and a misheberach is made, he is blessed as his mother’s child (eg, Yitzhak ben Sarah) So, if both parents’ names are used in the course of a person’s life -- albeit in different circumstances -- it would seem logical that at a bris or when a baby girl is named, the kriyat hashem would include both parents: (eg, Viyikarei sh’mo biyisrael Yitzhak ben Avraham viSarah). Historically, though, this has not been done. Why not? Is there a clear halachic reason that babies have traditionally been given just their fathers’ names at birth, or is it, rather, a matter of custom? Thank you very much.
To my understanding - reference to the person in a Klal aspect - in public form or matters is done with the father's name, whereas reference in the personal context is done with the mother's name. Rabbi Ro'i Margalit
Rabbi David Samson is one of the leading English-speaking Torah scholars in the Religious-Zionist movement in Israel. He has co-authored four books on the writings of Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Hacohen Kook and Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook. Rabbi Samson learned for twelve years under the tutelage of Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook. He served as Rabbi of the Kehillat Dati Leumi Synagogue in Har Nof, Jerusalem, and teaches Jewish Studies at Mercaz HaRav Yeshiva Institutions.
Tzvi Fishman was a successful Hollywood screenwriter before making Aliyah to Israel in 1984. He has co-authored several Torah works with Rabbi David Samson and written several books on Jewish/Israel topics.
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