Question:

I just had a baby boy and named him Moshe Chaim. We named him Moshe because he was born minutes after Pesach ended and we thought it was an appropriate name to name our baby after Moshe Rabbenu. Chaim was because my mother was nifteres this past year and we wanted to signify that despite our painful loss, life continues.

My sister 20 years ago gave birth to a boy and named him Moshe after his paternal grandfather. After my sister heard what we called our newest son, she was very upset and has not spoken to me since the bris. She is not frum and has claimed that because we have named the baby the same name as her son, her son’s life will now be shortened because our Moshe was named the same name.

Is it a problem that we named our son Moshe Chaim? Should we have consulted with my sister prior to the bris?

Answer:

Based on what you are writing I don’t see any problem whatsoever with naming your child the name you gave him. It is the accepted practice throughout Ashkenazi, Sefardi, and Chasidic communities that when a father passes on that his children name a child of theirs after him, and as far as I know there is absolutely no problem with it. It is considered an honor to the parent and it does not at all diminish the life of the child, in fact it only promotes it, because naming the child after a parent is kibbud av v’em, which the torah says prolongs a persons life. In most Jewish families there will be numerous cousins that have the same first name. In your situation the names of the two cousins are not even for the same person. It seems that your sister must have heard this idea from someone, or there is some sort of mistake being made here. I think that what your sister is afraid of is simple unfounded, and she should be told that she has nothing to worry about. Her sons life will not be diminished at all because you gave his cousin a similar name. In fact the opposite may be true, that when people make peace with each other, and live in harmony, that promotes people’s lives.

Best Wishes

P.S. Please see Pischei Teshuva Y:D 116 that there is only a suspicion of ayin hora to name two brothers after the same person, but not two cousins.

Tags: Jewish names

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