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What name I should use when I am called to the Torah?


Shalom Staff,

This is my second attempt to receive an answer about this question. My original question to you was not about what I’m called at this point because I have two first Hebrew names and I recognize Ariel as my name, even though it may or may not be the name I should be called to the Torah as. Right now, I’m called to the Torah as Haim Zushe ben Israel Ze’ev, but like I tried to fully explain to you in my last email, I’m not sure if that is the name I should be using to be called up to the Torah. So if you review the details of my last email, or if I have now adequately filled in the rest of the blanks for you, then you will be able to answer me if I should be called up to the Torah as Ariel Yochanan ben Israel Ze’ev or Haim Zushe ben Israel Ze’ev. It is very important that I get the right b’sach din on this.
Thank you,
Shabbat Shalom – Ariel

For the sake of posterity and to save time, here is the previous email I sent to you:
I need to know what Hebrew name I should use when I am called up to the Torah. I was given the name Haim zushe (ben Israel Ze’ev) at my Brit Milah; When I had my Bar Mitzvah at 13 years old, The Rabbi, who was a reform Rabbi, changed my name – with a Minyan consisting of 7 men and 3 women – to the name of Ariel Yochanan. The reason he changed my name is that he wanted me to have a more Zionistic sounding name, being that the Rabbi who conducted my Bar Mitzvah was an Israeli and a Sephardi. I am also a Sephardic Jew. I prefer to use the name Ariel Yochanan ben Israel Ze’ev when I am called up to the Torah, but I don’t know if that would be Halacically correct. Can you please clear up the matter for me on this question? Thank you.



My apologies that I didn’t get back to you sooner.

Regarding your question, essentially whatever you do will be alright, the reason is because Chaim Zushe is your real name, but on the other hand, at this point in time you are not known as Chaim Zushe but as Ariel (Yochanan). The fact that the Reform Rabbi made a ceremony with an invalid minyan will not affect the halacha here. The point really is that factually you are called and known as Ariel, therefore if you be called to the torah with that name that would also be valid. Nevertheless the name Cham Zushe was the name that you were given at your bris, and from a kabalistic angle, the name that a person was given at their bris has a certain amount of roach hakodesh in it, and in a way defines the person. Therefore what would be best, is that you should get called to the torah as Chaim Zushe Ariel. (If you are also known as Yochanan add that too, otherwise you can drop the Yochanan since it isn’t your real name, and you aren’t called by it.)


E:H 129-1, 14, Poskim.

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