What’s in a Name

The Gemara in Brachot makes a reference to the significance of giving a child a name. It refers to the name ראובן and the name רות.

In the case of ראובן, Leah was suggesting that the name meant, ראו בן, that is, look at my son how amazing he is. When Eisav lost the birthright, he complained that he was cheated. But even though ראובן lost his birthright when he sinned with בלהה, he showed no hard feelings to Yosef, and even tried to save him from his brothers.

In the case of רות, the root of the word (no pun intended) comes from ריוהו which means, “sated”. The reference is to her descendant, David, who sated Hashem with songs and praises.

When parents name a child, G-d inspires them to select a particular name that has significance not known to the parent. Many years later, the appropriateness of that name may become apparent to all.

What’s in a name? A lot more than we realize!