Double forenames, the MaHRSHaL and the name Schneur #rabbinic


Mr L Reich <lreich@...>
 

Until about the 15th Century a single Hebrew forename was the
accepted practice amongst Ashkenazi Jewry. I have often wondered why
and how the current custom of double and multiple Hebrew forenames
arose.

Recently I came across a passage in the talmudic commentary "Yam
shell shlomo" (Gittin 4:26)for which I will now give a rough
translation. This piece is of interest to genealogists on several
counts. This Hebrew work is by the 16th Century Rabbi and Rosh
Yeshiva, R' Shlomo Luria of Lublin, a.k.a. as the MaHRSHaL, one of
whose reponsa (No. 29) is a keystone in rabbinical genealogy.

Quote: "... I heard >from Moshe Lorch that when he got divorced (and
needed to write a Get with the correct names) he appeared before the
MaHRiL (famous 15th Century halachist). He (Lorch) told the MaHRiL
that his father was nicknamed Zalman, but had the Hebrew name of
Shemariah. The MaHRiL was puzzled, since Zalman and Shemariah don't
normally go together. "Maybe your father had another name such as
Shlomo or Yekusiel, which often go together with the nickname
Zalman?"

The MaHRiL arranged for two researchers to travel to the cemetery in
Magenca (Mainz) where Lorch's ancestors were buried. They discovered
the gravestone of Lorch's father's father's father. This also bore
the names of Zalman and Shemaria. Satisfied with the evidence, the
MaHRiL arranged the Get.

The MaHRiL was asked why does a single Jewish nickname (Shem
Ha'Laaz) often have several Hebrew counterparts? For instance for
the nickname Zalman, one finds Yekusiel, Meshulam, Shemaria, etc.?
He answered as follows. "Certainly, strictly speaking, there is a
one to one relationship between nicknames and Hebrew names. But
sometimes a man and his wife disagree about naming a child; each one
wanting a name >from their own ancestry. Occasionally, a compromise
is reached by one side getting the Hebrew name and the other the
nickname.

The MaHRSHaL adds the following. "And I, the small one, know that my
grandfather (z'kayni), R' Menachem Tzion, whose father was called
Meir, and whose father-in-law was called Uri, had a son and the same
argument arose.

The solution was to call the baby Schneur, meaning "two lights",
since both Meir and Uri are connected with light..."

Incidentally, the earlier and later sections surrounding this
excerpt >from the Yam shel Shlomo are a mine of information about
Hebrew nicknames.

Leslie Reich


Larry Tauber <ltauber@...>
 

On 2005.09.05, Leslie Reich wrote

The MaHRSHaL adds the following. "And I, the small one, know that
my grandfather (z'kayni), R' Menachem Tzion, whose father was called
Meir, and whose father-in-law was called Uri, had a son and the same
argument arose."
I had always seen that the MaHaRSHaL's (R. Shlomo LURIA) paternal
grandfather was R. Avraham LURIA and his maternal grandfather was
R. Yitzchak KLAUBER. Do you know the exact relationship? Did the
MaHaRSHaL mean by "z'kayni" great-grandfather, making Menachem
Tzion the father-in-law of R. Avraham LURIA or R. Yitzchak KLAUBER
or R. Yitzchak KLAUBER's father? Or perhaps even his wife's
grandfather?

Larry Tauber
New York


Mr L Reich <lreich@...>
 

On 2005.09.05, I had written:

The MaHRSHaL adds the following. "And I, the small one, know that
my grandfather (z'kayni), R' Menachem Tzion, whose father was called
Meir, and whose father-in-law was called Uri, had a son and the same
argument arose."
On 2005.09.09, Larry Tauber <ltauber@ctswlaw.com> replied

I had always seen that the MaHaRSHaL's (R. Shlomo LURIA) paternal
grandfather was R. Avraham LURIA and his maternal grandfather was
R. Yitzchak KLAUBER. Do you know the exact relationship? Did the
MaHaRSHaL mean by "z'kayni" great-grandfather, making Menachem
Tzion the father-in-law of R. Avraham LURIA or R. Yitzchak KLAUBER
or R. Yitzchak KLAUBER's father? Or perhaps even his wife's
grandfather?
Yes, I was a little puzzled about this myself.

One of Larry Tauber's suggestions is probably right.

Leslie Reich