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What Does the Name Shoshana Rachel Mean?

What Does the Name Shoshana Rachel Mean?

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Question:

My daughter's Jewish name is Shoshana Rachel. What is the significance of that name? It is her birthday over Shabbat and I would like to explain it to her.

Answer:

I hope you receive this response in time to share it with your daughter on her birthday.

Her name is comprised of two beautiful and meaningful names.

Shoshana is a Hebrew word, meaning "rose." In Song of Songs (2:2) G‑d refers to the Jewish nation as a Shoshana: "As a rose among the thorns, so is My beloved among the daughters." The commentators explain this to mean that "As a rose among the thorns which pierce it, but it remains constant in its beauty and its redness, so is My beloved among the daughters. They entice her to pursue them to stray like them after strange gods, but she remains firm in her faith."

Rachel is one of the Matriarchs of Israel. Rachel was the younger daughter of Laban. After seeing Rachel at a well, our Patriarch Jacob told Laban that he would work seven years for the Rachel's hand in marriage -- "and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her."1 Rachel became the wife of Jacob, the mother of Joseph and Benjamin, and one of the four matriarchs of the entire Jewish nation.

In Hebrew, the word Rachel means a lamb or sheep. A lamb is a symbol of purity and gentility.

Click here to read more about the quality of sheep.

For more about our mother Rachel, see:

Rachel and Leah: Two Destinies, Two Worlds, or see Rachel in our Knowledgebase.

Wishing you a great Shabbat and lots of nachas,

Rabbi Baruch S. Davidson

P.S. I'm not sure whether this Shabbat is your daughter's Jewish birthday or her secular one. To add to the links that I hope you will read and enjoy, click here for more about the significance of Jewish birthdays.

Click here for a useful tool which converts secular birthday dates to their corresponding Hebrew dates.

FOOTNOTES
1.

Genesis 29:20.

Rabbi Baruch S. Davidson is a member of the Chabad.org Ask the Rabbi team.
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Discussion (2)
May 17, 2010
Re: Shani
The explanation mentioned is brought in Rashi on the verse.
Eliyahu
May 16, 2010
do you know exactly who comments on the verse in shir hashirim?
shani
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