Volume 41 Number 50
                 Produced: Mon Dec 22  6:08:42 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bad manners and the benefit of the doubt
Double Names (6)
         [Joseph I. Lauer, Martin Stern, Ira L. Jacobson, Michael Kahn,
Yehuda Landy, Alex Heppenheimer]
Good Manners (2)
         [Kibi Hofmann, Joshua Seidemann]
Michael Berg Translation of Zohar
         [Andrew Marks]
Reproving a respected Rabbi
         [Leah Aharoni]


From: Anonymous
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2003 15:04:10
Subject: Bad manners and the benefit of the doubt

A propos the discussion about bad manners, I would like to hear your
thoughts about the following incident.

A few weeks ago we hosted our next door neighbors for a Shabbos
meal. The husband is a young talmid hacham, who has published several
books which have received enthusiastic haskamot from the most
illustrious rabbeim in this country (most of whom seem to know him
personally). My husband has a great respect for this Rav and attends his
weekly shiur.

The man walked into our house, pulled a book off the shelf and proceeded
to read it all through the seuda, while my husband made kiddush (he
asked to make his own - which is fine), and between the courses. His
wife seemed to ask him to put the book down a few times (though they
spoke in their native language, which we do not understand), but he
ignored her.

Once he finally got rid of the book, we had some conversation and he
made a few references to his books.

Personally I felt quite disgusted, but I am aware of the obligation to
give this person a benefit of the doubt. Any suggestions how such rude
behavior could be excused?


From: Joseph I. Lauer <josephlauer@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 2003 01:21:32 -0500
Subject: Double Names

    I took the liberty of forwarding to Prof. Aaron Demsky of Bar-Ilan
University the postings in MJ 41:37, 42, 43, 44, 45, and 47 concerning
"double names".  I thought that he might be interested in the posted
exchanges as he is, among other things, Director, Project for the Study
of Jewish Names, and the editor of These Are The Names- Studies in
Jewish Onomastics vols. 1-4 (Ramat Gan, 1997-2003).

    I received the following from Prof. Demsky and post it with his
permission to the MJ list in the hope that it will be of interest to its

    Dr. Demsky's Email address is <demskya@...>

    In passing, I should note that in addition to the information
contained in the following as to how to obtain information regarding the
series and the contents of the four volumes of These Are The Names,
interested persons can view my postings on the ha-Safran list at
http://www.JewishLibraries.org/ (12/14/03 by Yossi Galron) and the ANE
[Ancient Near East] list at
for some information regarding the contents of vols. 3 and 4 and an
order form.

    Best wishes!
    Joseph I. Lauer
    Brooklyn, New York

----- Original Message -----
From: Demsky

Thank you for informing me about the discussion of double names and the
opportunity to share some of my thoughts on this fascinating topic.

There are different types or categories of double or multiple names in
Jewish onomastics:

In the biblical period we already find this development. Two or more
different names in Hebrew for the same person - or for God for that
matter - each given for a different reason, indicative of some change in
life/status - spiritual (e.g., Jacob/Israel) or fortune (Ruth/Mara), or
Divine manifestation (YHWH, El, Shaddai). Another pair is a throne
(titular) and birth name (e.g., Shlomo/Yedidiah; Zedkiah/Mattaniah).

Another type is the Hebrew/vernacular double name which appears when an
Israelite is in Exile. The first biblical example is
Joseph/Zophnat-Phaneah.  More examples are to be found in the Babylonian
and Persian exilic community: Esther /Hadassah; Daniel/ Beltshazzar,

I would take exception to some of the biblical references mentioned in
your discussion, like Evil-Moradakh which is a single Babylonian name
"Man of Marduk"; or Avi-Gedor which refers to the residence of a Judean
clan that settled (or "fathered") the village of Gedor (Jedur, south of
present day Kfar Etzion). "Avi" is formulaic in biblical genealogies
especially in the Book of Chronicles. The name Avigdor is indeed a
midrashic development that became a proper name (compare Yinnon).

In rabbinic times, there was a radical decrease in the number of names,
so we find double names where the second element defines the first name
sometimes by adding a (physical) characteristic, e.g., Shmuel Hakattan;
or Abba Arikha "Big Daddy", better known by his titular name Rav.

As noted, from the 16th century the phenomenon of double names becomes
characteristic of Ashkenazic Jewry. The reference is to Alexander
Beider, A Dictionary of Ashkenazic Given Names (Bergenfield, 2001),
pp. 5ff. In particular, he discusses the combination of a shem qoddesh
and a kinnui, i.e., a sacred name (Hebrew) and a vernacular name,
usually in Yiddish or a derivative from a European language.

A sampling gives us double names based on translations: Aryeh Leib;
Hebrew/vernacular:Yitzhaq Isaac; diminutives: Yaacov Koppel; symbolic
names based on Jacob's blessing to his children and grandchildren:
Benjamin Wolf>Zeev; Yehudah Leib>Aryeh, etc.

I would add another two types:1) Consecutive words in the Bible: Yaacov
Yosef; Hayah Sorah, etc. 2) Moshe Mordecai, first given to a boy born of
the seventh day of Adar the traditional birthday and yahrzeit of Moshe
Rabeinu.  The child's brit would take place eight days later on Shushan
Purim.  Therefore he would be given the double name Moshe Mordecai.

There's a lot more that could be said about double names. Some of these
points and others have been discussed in the series that I've edited,
These Are The Names- Studies in Jewish Onomastics vols. 1-4 (Ramat Gan,

For further information re this series and the contents of the four
volumes, please contact Dina at the Bar-Ilan Press office

Professor Aaron Demsky
Dept. of Jewish History
Head, Rivlin Institute of Land of Israel Studies - Yad Ben Zvi Branch
Director, Project for the Study of Jewish Names, Bar-Ilan University
Ramat-Gan 52900, Israel
Tel; 972 3 531 8676 (Office)

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2003 16:01:04 +0000
Subject: Re: Double Names

on 17/12/03 11:05 am, Kibi Hofmann <kibi@...> wrote:
> Certainly there is a possibility of misunderstanding from some of the
> German Jewish families, where the son was often named after the father
> without the traditional "ben" (son of) in between the names - Rabbi Shimson
> Rafael Hirsch was really Shimshon _son_of_ Rafael Hirsch, yet the name is
> often given to (yekkish) children as a double-barrelled one.

    In some German-Jewish circles a double-barrelled name was considered
as a single name and not as a composite of two names. Thus it was not
unknown for a son to have a name which included part (or the whole) of
his father's name despite the custom among Ashkenazim not to name after
a living relative. An example is the Wurzberger Rav, Yitschak Dov
Bamberger, who had a son called Yitschak Seckel (Seckel being a
diminutive kinnui of Yitschak) who was not born posthumously.

    Incidentally when we make a shinui hashem for a very ill person, the
new name is added to the original one, and the latter is not deleted as
might have been expected if the name were changed. This seems to conform
to this perspective on double-barrelled names.

    Martin Stern

From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2003 13:51:36 +0200
Subject: Re: Double Names

Dr. Josh Backon stated the following on Tue,  16 Dec 2003 18:41 +0200:
      There is a double name (R. Yirmiah Bira'a) in the gemara in
      Gittin 34b.

This is a reference to the fact that the amora was from Biri in the
Upper Galil.  If that is the type of name that is regarded as double, we
also have R' Yudan `Antodraya, R' Yudan MiGedlaya, R' Yudan Qapodqaya.
And even without that leniency, we have Bag Bag and He He.

How about Rav Yom Tov Kahana Ga'on?  How many names does that count as?

What about the father of R' Yosse ben Yehuda Ish Kefar Habavel, or
Ya`qov Ish Kefar Nevoraya?

Or the two Rav Kohen Tzedeqs: Rav Kohen Tzedeq bar Rav Yossef and Rav
Kohen Tzedeq bar Rav Ibomai?

IRA L. JACOBSON         

From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2003 23:18:38 -0500
Subject: RE: Double Names

I did read interesting research done on the history of jewish names done
on stuff found in the Cairo Geniza by a scholar named
Goitan. Interestingly, he writes that Rav Yehuda Halevi, like many good
Sfardim had a grandson named after him. In one of his poems he wrote how
can Yehuda (the grandfather) forget about Yehuda (the grandson).

From: <nzion@...> (Yehuda Landy)
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2003 14:12:24 +0200
Subject: Re: Double Names

Marduk was the name of a babylonian idol, thus it is hard to count it as
two names. This applies also to Marodach (Marduk) Baladan (Yeshayahu

What about Tuiglath Pileser? N'tan Melech is also probably one name.

Bi'ra'a means that he was from the town of Bira. Something more of a
last name.

Yehuda Landy

From: Alex Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2003 09:23:12 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: Double Names

In MJ 41:45, Dr. Josh Backon wrote:
> There is a double name (R. Yirmiah Bira'a) in the gemara in Gittin
> 34b.

It seems to me that "Bira'ah" is actually an adjective, "from Bira,"
rather than a second name. There are many other similarly formed names
in the Gemara, such as R' Beroka Choza'ah (from Choza'ei) in Taanis 22a,
and R' Chana Bagdasa'ah in Kesubos 7b; in the latter case Rashi
explicitly states that he came from a place called "Bagdas" (Baghdad?).

A better example might be "Yochanan ben Yonasan Aryeh of Kfar Shichaya"
(Yevamos 122b), where it would seem that "Yonasan Aryeh" is a double
name. However, if I recall correctly, the commentaries explain that
Aryeh is a nickname ("lion-like") rather than a proper second name.

Kol tuv,


From: Kibi Hofmann <kibi@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2003 13:32:04 +0200
Subject: Good Manners

In mail-jewish Vol. 41 #45, Yehonatan Chipman wrote:
>But it doesnt sound to me like deliberate rudeness, but rather a lack od
>proportion and common sense sometiems encountered in products of the
>yeshiva world.

Isn't that the whole point? Clearly the entire Torah can be interpreted
in ways which make one's behaviour not just a little rude but actually
monstrous. If one is supposedly "in learning" and has so little feel for
the nuances of correct Torah-standard contact, what is the point?

My father o'h used to tell us about a certain "rebbe" of his (not
officially a Rabbi, but a learned man nonetheless) who gently chided him
"What's the point of all this learning you do? Surely it's so that you
end up thinking like Chazal!" I think there is quite a deep point
involved in that statement - the Torah Sh'b'al Peh (Oral Law) is of
course in a written form and has ben for over 1500 years - nevertheless
the format is particularly dense and abstruse, as any novice trying to
pick up a gemara knows. I highly doubt the rabbis of the Talmud were
less capable than Rambam of organizing texts into thematic groups.

A Brisker will spend pages explaining why the Ramban cited one law in
place A instead of B, and certainly the Rambam worked very hard at his
organization, but I am sure that the Talmud is written with just as much
precision - the specific way of learning the Talmud requires should
mould one's mind to think like the rabbis did long ago.

Of course, the fact that someone is officially "in learning" doesn't
mean he's picked up a sefer in the last year, so I guess the point is


From: Joshua Seidemann <quartertones@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2003 05:28:08 -0800 (PST)
Subject: re: Good Manners

Just a tale to add to that pot that, I think, is sadly representative of
at least a portion of the training that is being dispensed in our
schools.  I was at a shul the other night (for a sunset-based
mincha/ma'ariv combo) and the rabbi approached another fellow and me to
ask whether we could assist with a shiva minyan several blocks away.
The fellow, in the garb of the pre-20s or 20ish yeshiva student, said,
"I don't know, I'm worried about making z'man mincha."  Bulletin: a
person may assume that the mora d'asra of the shul has considered
z'manei tefillah when scheduling a shiva minyan (also, in emergent
situations, one may rely upon utilizing 10 minutes past shkiah), and
it's hardly the place of a bochur to correct the rav.  In this instance,
faulty technical knowledge was compounded by a faulty (or at least IMHO)
sense of respect.


From: Andrew Marks <ajm58@...>
Subject: Re: Michael Berg Translation of Zohar

 >Does anyone know about the Michael Berg translation of the Zohar into
 >English?  It includes the commentary of the Ba'al haSulam. Are there any
 >problems with it?
 >happy chanuka

Michael Berg is one of the majors leaders of the Kabbalah Centre "cult."
My rav has poskened that his works may not be read.


From: Leah Aharoni <leah25@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2003 13:38:14 +0200
Subject: Reproving a respected Rabbi

You might want to show him the source for the halacha that he had
violated, tell him that you have a difficulty understanding it, and ask
him to explain it to you. Alternatively, send him a copy anonymously.

Leah Aharoni
English/Hebrew/Russian Translator
Telefax 972-2-9971146, Mobile 972-56-852571
Email <leah25@...>


End of Volume 41 Issue 50