I've heard that one should not name a baby after an individual who passed away young. Is this accurate or is this just a rumor? And what if that person was killed during the Holocaust?


It is indeed true that traditionally we do not name a child after someone who died young. In an instance where one wishes to name a child after such an individual, another name should be added to the child's name, and the added name should be the first one. For example, if the person who died young was named Rivkah, the child can be named Chaya Rivkah.

The above only applies if the deceased passed away from some sort of accident, or was the victim of foul play. It does not apply if the person died of natural causes.

Another exception to this rule is a tzaddik (a holy individual) who died at a young age. According to many there is no issue with naming a child after him or her. In view of the individual's holiness, it is certain that no "bad mazal" will affect a child named after him or her.1

All those killed in the Holocaust were martyrs who sanctified G‑d's name in unparalleled fashion. As such it is the accepted custom and considered a great honor to name children after these holy people.2

Best wishes,

Rabbi Baruch S. Davidson