Monday, April 30, 2007

Emor, Vayikra 21:7. Isha Zonah V’chalalah Lo Yikachu. Jewish Names that are Abbreviations.

There's too much to talk about in this week's parsha, so I'm going to take advantage of my anonymity to post a fluff piece this week, at least for the time being.

I don't know about other languages or cultures, but it's fascinating that so many Jewish names are acronyms-- abbreviations that are pronounced as a word. Here is a list of the names I am aware of.
Azulai --- Isha Zonah V’challalah Lo Yikachu
Babad --- Ben Av Beis Din
Brill --- Ben R’ Yehuda Levoei or R’ Yomtov Lipmann
Charlap --- Kvod Harav Roshi L’Polen
Katz --- Kohen Tzedek
Mazah --- Mizera Aharon Hakohen
Segal --- S'gan Levi
Shalit --- Shivisi Hashem Le'negdi Tamid if it ends with a Tof, or Sheyichyeh L’orech Yamim Tovim if it ends with a Tes
Shatz --- Shliach Tzibbur
Shick --- Sheim Yisrael Kodesh
Shub --- Shochet U’bodeik
Tatz --- To’ein Tzedek
Zak --- Zera Kodesh

Let's go back to the first on the list, Azulai. This is a name found among Sefardi Kohanim, and a local Rav Azulai was the one that first mentioned the derivation of his name. I must say that the logic for choosing this particular phrase, (which prohibits kohanim from marrying women whose kedusha status has been diminished or sullied by certain events,) is passing strange. It would be the equivalent of calling a Yisroel "Limbi"-- Lo yavo mamzer bik'hal Hashem.

Note: There is a fascinating article by Dr. Steven Oppenheimer, DDS, in "Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society" Fall 1997 called "Secular Names"in which he discusses and analyzes the various opinions regarding having Jewish and non-Jewish names, both first and last. I have posted it elsewhere: check the labels for "names."


  1. Interesting stuff.

    Charlap --- Kvod Horav Roshi L’Polen

    I've heard that Charlap stands for "Chacham Roshi l'Galus Polin", or something similar.

    Segal --- S'gan Levi

    I've heard S'gan La-kohein - but I'm not sure that I see how either one is a good description of the role of the Levi'im.

  2. Sgan L'kohein sounds good too, and I agree that there is a lot to being a Levi besides not getting yerusha in Eretz Yisroel besides the 48 orei levi'im and being a shamesh to kohanim. It must be frustrating for a Levi, which I assume you are.

    I first saw this topic discussed in a teshuva from the Maharam Shik, in which he strongly disapproves of non-Jewish names, and in which he explains that Shik is a Jewish name.

  3. It must be frustrating for a Levi, which I assume you are.

    Nope, a regular Yisroel of unknown lineage.

    When I was in third grade, a friend of mine told me that I was from shevet Binyamin, and given the dictum that nevu'ah nowadays has been given to shotim and k'tanim, that's my story and I'm sticking to it (at least until the Sanhedrin forces me out).

  4. Shalit and shilit Are SHVISI HASHEM LINEGDI TOMID

  5. That makes more sense. I changed it.