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Make Me An Ofir

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Topic: Offir as a Name

Name@Withheld wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

I am asking this question for a friend at work. His wife is expecting a baby boy and he asked me whether the name Ofir (Bereishet 10:29) is OK to use. He and his wife are both Jewish, anti-religious and want a name from the Bible. However, they do not want any names that sound too religious. For example he does not want the name Yeshayahu, etc. Ofir is the name of one of Yoktan's sons. They are asking for a rabbi's opinion because I told them sometimes people mistakenly choose names of wicked people or unclean animals. (He did say that the name Nimrod sounds nice and is becoming popular in Israel.) Ofir's lineage does not apparently lead to any righteous people mentioned in the Torah. Someone said that it is not good to use a name that is not of a righteous person. Can you shed light on what names should be used from the Tanach?


Dear Name@Withheld,

According to the Chida in the name of our Sages, one should avoid using names of people from before the time of Avraham. Ofir was before Avraham. However, many people are named Noach, which is apparently an exception.

Regarding names in general, the verse states "zecher tzadik livracha, v'shem reshaim yirkav." The Talmud sees this verse as a support for our custom not to use names of wicked people. Thus it's wrong to name a person Nimrod, especially since Nimrod tried to murder Avraham, the founder of the Jewish nation. It would be like naming a child Haman or Adolf.

How about Efraim?

Sources:

  • Mishlei 1:7
  • Tractate Yoma 38b


 
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