1) If a patient is sick with a serious illness, his or her name may be changed.

2) Some say that a name cannot be changed by ordinary people, but only by someone of special qualities. But this is only to change the first and principal name. But if a name is merely being added, anyone can do it.

3) When changing a man’s name, the usual custom is to name him Chayim, Shalom, Rephael, Azriel, and the like; this serves as an auspicious omen that he will be recover from his illness.

4) When changing a woman’s name, some say that the name should not be changed to Rachel, Bas Sheva, Tamar, or Leah; instead, the name should be changed to Chanah, Sarah, or Yocheved.

5) Some have the custom when changing a patient’s name to open a Chumash; the patient is then given the first name of our ancestors that appears on the right hand side of the volume. But if the name that appears is the name of a rasha, the patient is not given this name. Others say that it is not proper to open a Chumash as a means of casting lots.

6) When changing a name, the added name becomes the first name. However, if he does not recover from the illness, then, when his sons are called up to the Torah, the original name should be mentioned before the added name.

7) When changing a patient’s name, some say that it should be done in the patient’s presence, and with a minyan, after reciting several chapters of the Psalms and praying for the patient. Others say that the name should be changed when one of the relatives is called up to the Torah in shul; he takes hold of the Torah scroll, a mi shebeirach is recited, and then the name is changed.

8) Some have the additional custom of changing the name of the patient’s parents by selling a sick child to a different family, or to the entire congregation. This will save the patient from the Divine decree that “the son of … is to die.” From this day forth, he is no longer the son of …, but the son of someone else.

9) A sinner who returns and does teshuvah should have his name changed.

10) If someone has been married to his wife for ten years, and she has failed to produce a child, some say that her name should be changed, and that this will help her to conceive.