12/28/2009

Love Truth and Peace - Naming our Kids, Part V

Parts I, II, III, and IV.

When we learned that Pesha is pregnant with our fourth child, a girl, we began discussing potential themes and names, although we knew that we would not finally decide on anything until after the birth.

We operate within certain constraints, though. All of our children have double names that make sense together, that can actually be read together as a single thought - Ruchama Bat-Zion means "The daughter of Zion has been shown compassion"; Rephael Amichai means "God heal my living nation"; and Zechariah Yehuda means "God remember Judah". All of our children have biblical names, even if they are methaphorical names. All are somehow linked to the land and people of Israel, sometimes even relating to particular events in our lives and in the situation of the Jewish people as a whole at the time of the birth. Finally, though this was originally unintended, all of our kids' names come from Trei Asar on some level. Although we value naming for deceased relatives, we have found that our primary concern is for the elements listed above, and if we can additionally commemorate the memory of a relative, that is icing on the cake (Rephael and Yehuda, in addition to their general meaning, were part of the names of Pesha's and my grandfathers, respectively).

Among the themes that we had been discussing for the new baby were light (we knew she would be born around the darkest time of year), peace (which seems so elusive), and love, as well as two relatives in particular who were considering naming after. When our daughter arrived yeasterday, on the 10th of Tevet, we felt that we should consider the fact that it is a significant day on the Jewish calendar in selecting a name.

At that point, it was easy:

 כֹּה-אָמַר ה' צְבָקוֹת, צוֹם הָרְבִיעִי וְצוֹם הַחֲמִישִׁי וְצוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי וְצוֹם הָעֲשִׂירִי יִהְיֶה לְבֵית-יְהוּדָה לְשָׂשׂוֹן וּלְשִׂמְחָה, וּלְמֹעֲדִים, טוֹבִים; וְהָאֱמֶת וְהַשָּׁלוֹם, אֱהָבוּ.
So says the Lord, God of Hosts: The fast of the fourth month and the fast of the fifth month, the fast of the seventh month and the fast of the tenth month shall become for the house of Yehuda [times of] joy and gladness and holidays; so love peace and truth.
Zechariah 8:19

This verse speaks of the transformation of days that were observed as fast days during the Babylonian exile into holidays. The fast of the tenth month, which we observed yesterday, shall be transformed into a holiday for all Israel (as it has already been transformed into a day of joy for my family). There is a condition, though - love truth and peace. The love of truth and peace will be the means by which these days of sorrow are transformed into days of celebration.

So this morning I named my newborn daughter שלומית אהובה, Shlomit Ahuva, "Beloved Peace", in the hopes that she will live to see the day that her birthday, the 10th of Tevet, is celebrated by all Jews as a holiday of gladness and joy.

UPDATE: The rav of our shul, Rav Sobol, just pointed out that Shlomit was the name of the daughter of Zerubavel, from the generation of the prophet Zechariah that returned from Babylonian exile (Divrei Hayamim I 3:19).
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