The ever popular Feige vs Tzipporah discussion #general


I must say that all this talk about the 'real' meaning
of a name has me confused. There are always many
postings reminding us that people can take one name in
the local language and have an entirely different
Hebrew/Yiddish name. Certainly this is true in the US
for the past 125 years. If someone says his name is
Edward but Tzvi in Hebrew, who am I to argue?

I would agree that if parents give a girl the name
'Feige', named after an ancestor [who quite possibly
was also named after an ancestor,] it is probable that
at some point the name was meant to mean 'Violet'.

However, if in subsequent generations, girls were
given the name in honor with an [incorrect]
understanding that it meant a bird or 'Tzipporah', and
then ketubbot were recorded with 'Tzipporah' over even
2 or 3 generations, then the family tradition would
have become Feige/Tzipporah even if there is no direct
linguistic correlation.

I would suggest a change to Mr. Bernet's advise from
"Again, proceed with caution..." to "proceed with an
open mind.." because we do not know what the parents
of the child intended.

Shellie Wiener
San Francisco, CA
In a message dated Wed, 10 Nov 2004 14:51:53 EST,
Michael Bernet [] said:

==Touche'! There are many women's names that have been
Yiddishized and then been attributed to Hebrew
origins. I gave one example correctly;
Veigele/Voigele is not the Hebrew Tziporah (bird) but
from the German Veilchen, >from the Old French word for

==We must remember that when we discuss possible
folkloristic attributions, anecdote and "creative"
photographs are more likely to reflect popular
beliefs and attributions than scientific inquiry...

==Again, proceed with caution...

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