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Naming After One Who Died After the Child’s Conception

Naming After One Who Died After the Child’s Conception

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Question:

My daughter was pregnant when her father-in-law passed away. As Ashkenazi Jews, is it okay for them to name the baby after his grandfather? Some people have told me that it's inappropriate since she was already pregnant at that time that he died. What do you think?

Answer:

This question actually hits very close to home. A few years ago, my daughter gave birth to a baby on a Monday night. My mother-in-law (my daughter's grandmother) passed away two days later, on Wednesday night. On Thursday, a half hour after the funeral, the baby was given the name of her great-grandmother. Not only was it not inappropriate, it was considered a great merit for the soul of my mother-in-law that a child was named after her so quickly.

(It is proper, however, to wait until after the interment before naming a child after a deceased individual.)

So, by all means, if your daughter and son-in-law wish to name the baby after his grandfather, they should feel free to do so. In fact, for your son-in-law to name the child after his father is a beautiful way for him to fulfill the precept of honoring his father, even after his passing.

I hope this has been helpful. Please feel free to contact me if you want to discuss this any further.

Chaya Sarah Silberberg,
Chabad.org

Chaya Sarah Silberberg serves as the rebbetzin of the Bais Chabad Torah Center in West Bloomfield, Michigan, since 1975. She also counsels, lectures, writes, and responds for Chabad.org’s Ask the Rabbi service.
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Anonymous gauteng, South Africa February 22, 2010

Niece and Uncle Is it appropriate for a brother to name his soon to be born child after his late brother that passed two months ago?
The person that passed on was the father of my child and we are still trying to deal with his passing.

I just want to know if it is unfair for me to be against this or not. i'm not up for this and infact it is not fair for them to be replacing him so short after his passing Reply

Chaya Sarah Silberberg West Bloomfield, MI September 12, 2009

Naming a Child after someone living There are different customs regarding this practice:
1. The Ashkenazic custom is not to give a name after someone who is still alive. However, if it is acceptable to give a name after someone who is deceased, even if there is someone else in the family who has the same name. For instance - I have a son and three grandchildren with the same names, all of whom were named after my deceased father.
2. In the Sephardic community it is quite acceptable. In fact, it is considered an honor for a living person to have a child named after him. Reply

Anonymous near Chicago September 12, 2009

Is it ok to name a child after someone who is living? Reply

Judy Resnick Far Rockaway, NY July 23, 2009

Grandson & Great-Grandson I was four months pregnant when my dear father Joseph Kluger passed away on May 31, 1985 (11 Sivan). I gave birth to a son on October 27, 1985 and of course I named him Yosef Chaim after my father's Hebrew name. I was very moved when my oldest married daughter also named her second son Yosef Chaim after beloved Grandpa Joe. So Joseph Kluger now has both a grandson and a great-grandson named for him. I felt very honored to be able to name a child for my father. I have never heard of any restriction on not naming a child after a deceased person if the child was in utero when the person died. It is very meaningful to all to be able to continue the memory of a beloved parent. There was also a beloved rabbi in our community who was named for by many families having babies after his passing; five years later, the kindergarten was filled with little boys all bearing the same name "Shlomo." Reply

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