When it comes to naming our children, Jews follow many different customs. Sephardic Jews often honor living grandparents by naming their babies after them. Ashkenazi Jews name after deceased loved ones, with the idea that we will remember the departed from the actions of our children as they emulate their positive qualities.
Rabbi Shraga Simmons, in an article on Aish.com, brings us the Kabbalistic idea “that naming a baby is a statement of her character, her specialness, and her path in life. For at the beginning of life we give a name, and at the end of life a ‘good name’ is all we take with us.”
While we hope that children will carry on a good name, we also hope that our children will make a good name even better by their own actions.
Some are very strict with the practice of not revealing a baby’s new name publicly until the bris for a boy or a baby naming for a girl, which traditionally takes place during a public reading of the Torah on a Monday, Thursday or Saturday. While several explanations for this practice are offered, I like the one that suggests that once a name is publicly announced, it will discourage anyone looking to be helpful from suggesting any alternative names.
I look forward to learning the name of my new granddaughter at her naming tomorrow morning.