Do you know what your name (shem – שם) means in Hebrew? Some names have more than one meaning. A great example is the name “Karen” – קרן. In Hebrew, “קרן” means “ray” (as in ray of sunshine), “horn” or “antler”, “foundation”, and is a free kick in soccer!
In Judaism, a name is important and is meant to be a description of a person’s personality or traits, however this applies to nearly all languages and religions. Choosing a name is a long and often difficult process.
So how do you choose?
There are a few common ways to choose a name:
- Some names are chosen simply because they sound nice. Many parents like going through name books and simply choosing a few names that have the “right” ring to them. Usually though, after that’s done, many like to check what the name means in various languages – just to be sure.
- It is common in many cultures around the world to name a child after a loved one who has passed away. In some cases, children are even named after a living relative.
- Many people choose a name that means something – either by its literal meaning in a certain language, or who it represents in the bible.
Here are a few common names and their meanings in Hebrew:
Abigail – אביגיל – my father is joy
Adam – אדם – man
Barak – ברק – lightening or shine
Daniel – דניאל – God is my judge
Ella – אלה – goddess
Ethan – איתן – strong
Jacob – יעקב – he will follow
Jessica – יסכה – foresight (the power to see the future)
Natalie – נטלי – a gift from God (from the abbreviation “נתן טוב לי ה'”)
Nathan – נתן – he gave
Noah – נח – rest, comfort
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