This is an article that appeared in the "Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society" (Fall 1997.) I referred to it in a post that discussed Jewish names that are abbreviations, and the author kindly sent me a copy. The article is thorough and engaging; Some format static was introduced by my inexpert conversion of the document from pdf to html. I have neither the skill nor the inclination to fiddle around with it, and the errors are inconsequential.
I have added my own remarks in and after the footnotes, and my interpolations, annotations, and addenda are clearly marked as such by being in bold italics.
2. In his commentary to Genesis 2:19
3 P'ninei Ha'Chasidut. (Blog note: this idea is also found in the Ohr Hachaim Devarim 29:19. By the way, the "Likutei He'aros" on the Ohr Hachaim there credits a sefer called "Ohr Habahir" for the oft searched for statement that the father is given divine inspiration, Ru'ach Hakodesh, when he chooses a name for his son. But I'll tell you that in my opinion, and in my personal experience, headstrong and/or stupid always trumps Ruach Hakodesh; when a Brass Band is playing, it's hard to hear the Kol Demama Dakah.)
4 Shir HaShirim Rabah, Chapter 4 (Blog note: Also in Vayikra Rabba in Parshas Emor #32)
5 Responsa Maharam Shick, Y.D., Chap. 169.
6 Based on Leviticus 20:24 (Blog note: The Maharam Shik's opinion on this matter is by no means normative. He tends toward the extremes when dealing with issues that touch upon haskala.)
7 Hilchot Akum 11:1 (Blog note: The Rambam he brings is a weak raya, especially since the Rambam doesn't mention the issue of Jewish names.)8 T.B. Yoma, 38b
9 Mishle, 10:7
10 Lamentations, 2:20
11 Do'eg Ha'Adomi, who lived during the time of Sha'ul HaMelech, was originally a great scholar and head of the Sanhedrin. He engaged in lashon ha'ra (slander) against David HaMelech and helped poison the relationship between Sha'ul and David. Do'eg died at age 34. The Talmud says that he had no share in olam haba (the world to come).
12 Nachal Tet, 14.
13 Tzafnat Pa'ne'ach, No. 275.
14 E.H., No. 21.
15 Iggerot Moshe, Vol. IV, No. 66.
16 Shorshei Minhag Ashkenaz, by R. Binyamin Shlomo Hamburger, B'nei Brak, 5755.
17 Encyclopedia Judaica, Vol. 12, page 810.
18 Iggerot Moshe, E.H., Vol. 3, No. 35. (Blog note: As the author mentions, Reb Moshe says the same svara as the Maharal, although he says it noncommittally-- he says it is a reasonable pshat, but he is not comfortable stating it as a matter of halachic fact. Also, while the author quotes Reb Moshe as saying "While it may not be desirable to give your child a secular name, there is no issur (prohibition) involved", in fact Reb Moshe calls it "megunah," shameful--unless it is given to honor or memorialize a family member who had a non-Jewish name; see below, Additional notes, #3.)19 G'vurot HaShem, Chap. 43.
20 Rashi's noted student and author of Machzor Vitry.
21 Shorshei Minhag Ashkenaz, loc. cit.
22 Tshuvot Rabbeinu Tam, No. 25.
23 Shorshei Minhag Ashkenaz.
27 Hungary, 1807 - 1879.
28 Responsa Maharam Shick, Y.D., No. 169. (Blog note: Shick is an old gentile German name. For example, Conrad Shick was a German protestant missionary who lived in Jerusalem in the eighteen hundreds. And see http://www.houseofnames.com/xq/asp.fc/qx/schick-family-crest.htm where it is clear that Shick has a long history as a German gentile name. I don't think the Maharam's father thought he was inventing a name. I think the Maharam's father chose the well known name of Shick because he could invest it with a dual meaning. Among gentiles, it is a common German name. Within his own family, he let it be known that it means "Shem Yisrael Kodesh." It would be like naming a child Mickey and saying it stands for Mi K'amcha Yisrael.) 29 Ibid. O.C. No. 70.
30 T.B. Gittin 11b.
31 Iggerot Moshe, E.H. Vol. 3, No. 35.
32 Shorshei Minhag Ashkenaz.
34 T. B. Brachot 7b.
35 Midrash Tanchuma.
36 Ibid., Parshat Ha'azinu. (Blog note: R' Eliezer Papo in the Pele Yoeitz, Letter Shin, D'H Shem Tov, says that if one is interested in the benefit the child can derive from the influence of a name, one should give his child a name that commemorates some chesed Hashem did for the father, rather than taking a family name. For example, Rav Gifter's daughter's name is Rebbetzin Shlomis Eisenberg, and Reb Moshe's son's name is Rav Sholom Reuven Feinstein, because they were born either during or immediately after WWII. See also below in Additional Blog Notes #4.)37 T.B. Yoma 83b.
38 Deuteronomy 32:20.
39 Midrash Tanchuma, Parshat VaYak'hel.
Additional Blog notes:
1. See the Comment section, below, for an interesting discussion of the names of Mordechai and Esther, which, are certainly not Hebrew, and which some consider reminiscent of the names of certain pagan deities.
It can be argued, however, that the comparison to Gittin is incorrect: what we call a 'name' for Gittin may be totally irrelevant to what is called a name for the purposes of our discussion. The determination of the name in a Get is based exclusively on clarity in identification. The din that Shemo uShemah are de'oraysa by a get doesn't really require names at all. If the people had unique and prominent physical characterisitics, we could write a get with no names at all, but instead just write "the man with three eyes and the woman with the horn in middle of her forehead." On the other hand, the idea discussed in this article, the preference of using Jewish names, involves two entirely different issues: Ethnic pride/Religious affiliation (in other words, that a Jew should use a Jewish name because it shows pride and affiliation with Judaism, while a non-Jewish name shows indifference, as Rashi says in Shemos when Moshe Rabbeinu did not correct the daughters of Yisro when they referred to him as an "Ish Mitzri,", or the Maharam Shik's "chukos ha'amim,") and the spiritual advantage of the inner essence of whatever the Hebrew name signifies, whether it is a trait or a reference to some bygone tzadik, (as we find by Adam, whose naming of the species in Hebrew was a portentous event that reflected and reinforced their essential reality and spirituality.)
Again: Defining 'name' in the context of Gittin, therefore, is a matter of eliminating, as far as possible, potential ambiguity in the mind of the reader, and clarity in publicizing exactly who was divorced. Defining 'name' in the context of the article, being a two-pronged analysis, might not be that simple. If it is a matter of ethnic pride/religious affiliation/chukos ha'amim, then perhaps we should define 'name' as that which one chooses to use in daily life. If it is a question of the connection with and influence of the spiritual elements of the name, the deeper meaning and history of the name, perhaps all that matters is the fact he uses it to be called up for aliyos.
And since when are Surnames names at all? Perhaps "name" in our culture only refers to the individual's given name, not the family name, which, in a sense, is no different than identifying the person by calling him Hirshel Varzhaner to indicate that he's from Varzhan.
Once you have decided which of the above aspects of a name you are examining, you have to determine what the person's real name is- because not everything people call you is your name, and what they called you at the bris might not be your name either.
As the Medrash Rabba Koheles 7:3 on Tov sheim mi'shemen tov says, every man has three names: the name his mother and father called him (she'karu lo aviv ve'imo), the name his friends called him (she'karu lo chaveirav), and the name he is given in the heavenly record of his deeds and behavior (she'karui lo be'sefer toldos briyaso).
3. Reb Moshe says that initially, parents who gave their children secular names were strongly decried by the Gedolei Hador, but over time certain names gained acceptance. But, and this is an important 'but', he also says that once a name is in a family, "kevod hamishpacha" is more important than the general preference for a Hebrew name, and therefore one should take the name of the family member even if it is not Jewish.
4. The question of whether to name a child for an event or for a relative is literally antedeluvian: it has been discussed since before Noach. The Medrash in Breishis Rabbah Parshas Noach 37:11 on the naming of Peleg, "Ki beyamav niflegah ha'aretz" says the following:
5. Reb Moshe, in his Igros YD 3:97 has a fascinating teshuva. The case was that the mother did not tell the father that she gave birth to his child. I assume they were separated for six or seven months, or divorced, or never married. When the boy was born, she arranged the bris without telling her ex about it, and the child was named without the father's input. This sounds weird, but you can see it happening in bitter divorces. where one party leaves town. And, if you know about the battles even happily married couples sometimes have about names, you can be sure that this mother was determined to eliminate her ex's input on this important decision. Obviously, the Millah is valid. But what about the name? Does the father lose the right to name his child?
6. Naming a child is a very important and auspicious event. There is an amazing Drisha in Yoreh Dei'ah at the end of 360 that states the following: When one has a choice of which of certain events involving mitzvos to attend, there are rules of priority. For example, if there is a choice of attending a levaya, or a wedding, or a bris, the Tur there discusses the order of relative importance. The Drisha states that in those cases where a bris has top priority, attending the naming of a girl has equal status. Although he does not cite his source, this comes from the Eliah Rabba. It is clear that this shittah holds that the importance of attending a bris is not the milah, it is the fact that the child is named at that time. Therefore, he holds, attending the naming of a girl has exactly the same significance and importance.