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Spiritual Growth for Jews

My Name is Not Neil

Posted on | October 26, 2006 | By Neil Harris | 17 Comments

I was recently having a discussion with close friend of mine about who we really are and what’s at the core of our personality. As we talked about what mitzvos we strongly identify with and how Hashem identifies with us, we got onto the topic of pasukim (verses) that are associated with our Hebrew names.

I’m sure you’ve seen those lines in small print in the last paragraph of the Shemoneh Essrei, right? Where you have the option to turn to page 924 in the back of the Artscroll siddur and insert the appropriate Hebrew verse for your Hebrew name. How many of us have actually taken a look at the verse for our own name?

Each of us was given a Hebrew name that reveals the essence of who we are. To find the pasuk that relates to your name you only have to look up the verse that’s associated with the first and last letters of your Hebrew name. It’s that simple!

After I finished talking with my friend I decided to look up the names of my children. I was amazed. The verses for my kids’ names were very revealing and completely on target with their personalities. I looked up the names of my friends. Once again, a direct hit. How often do we daven for someone and just rattle off their Hebrew name without really thinking about what that name means?

After the High Holidays and our reaffirmation that Hashem is the true Master of the world, I urge you to take a look at what your name means and what verse is attached to it. It might help you relate better to yourself and Hashem.

By the way, my Hebrew name is Nisan (yeah, like the car) and the verse for my name is taken from Mishley (Proverbs) 20:27.

“The spirit of man is the lamp of Hashem, searching all the innermost parts.”

Comments

17 Responses to “My Name is Not Neil”

  1. Rafi G
    October 26th, 2006 @ 7:09 am

    your passuk looks very appropriate based on your style of blogging…

  2. Bob Miller
    October 26th, 2006 @ 8:55 am

    Neil/Nisan, have you felt any special attachment to Pesach, which we celebrate in Nisan?

  3. Chaya Houpt
    October 26th, 2006 @ 9:29 am

    Cousins of ours called us last night and asked for help in choosing their daughter’s Hebrew name. My husband put me on the phone, because I am into names. I am generating some ideas, but it’s overwhelming for the precise reasons that Neil raises. How do you make suggestions for something that will speak to a person’s essence. Ack.

  4. JR
    October 26th, 2006 @ 9:29 am

    Yes, your name expresses your essence but I haven’t heard that the pasuk does. In fact, there can be multiple pesukim that one could possibly pick for their name which start and end with those letters.

    I don’t see anything particularly revealing about the pasuk I chose for my name: “O Israel, hope in HaShem; for with HaShem there is mercy, and with Him is plenteous redemption. And He will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.”

  5. Jeff Neckonoff
    October 26th, 2006 @ 12:07 pm

    Now you asked for it.

    I just looked in the back of my Artscroll Siddur, and ARGH!

    My Hebrew reading skills are not much better than they were after Bar Mitzvah in 1979.

    So, would I be Yud/Hed, corresponding to Tehillim 120:2?

    My Hebrew name is Yehudah Mikel.
    If I am wrong, can you please tell me what my verse is.

    Thank you,
    Jeff

  6. Neil Harris
    October 26th, 2006 @ 12:15 pm

    “120:2 O Lord, save my soul from false lips, from a deceitful tongue.” (from chabad.org, whhich has the JPS library online w/ Rashi)

    If this is your pasuk..how cool! In light of your current projects!!!

  7. Jeff Neckonoff
    October 26th, 2006 @ 12:29 pm

    Wow. It is pretty much right on target.

    This week especially I’ve been in some heavy duty online skirmishes with some messies, one in particular…. named “Shmekel”.

    With Hashem’s help, I’ll emerge victorious.

  8. Neil Harris
    October 26th, 2006 @ 12:41 pm

    It’s a little weird how these pasukim seem to work…thanks for commenting.

  9. Rishona
    October 26th, 2006 @ 2:26 pm

    The “Hebrew Name” issue has been on my mind lately. I know that converts take on a Hebrew name; and I’ve been going through…looking and I can’t seem to find any that I’ve taken a likely to.

    This week, for the first time, I met with the Av Beis Din who will be overseeing my conversion. It was just an informal first meeting; in that I am not a member of his synagogue, and he wanted to meet me (B’ezras Hashem, he said that I should be able to convert in a few months!). He also commented that I have a Hebrew name already, which is amazing. I wonder what that means? Perhaps I won’t get a new name?

    If anything, I would like to move my first name to be a middle name; to be grammatically correct Hebrew…it’s an adjective that means “first” so whatever it follows it would mean “First…”. Just have to figure out what the other name should be!

  10. Fern R
    October 26th, 2006 @ 6:31 pm

    I had looked up the verse for my name a long time ago, but I had forgotten it. So I just looked it up again. I’m not sure I’m worthy of the verse associated with my Hebrew name:

    “Fortunate is he who is thoughtful of the poor, [for] the Lord will save him on the day of evil.”
    –41:2

  11. tffb
    October 26th, 2006 @ 9:47 pm

    what do you do for people with two names? do you use the first letter of the first name and the last letter of the second name? Use a posuk associated with the first name only? Or two psukim?

  12. Ruth
    October 26th, 2006 @ 10:39 pm

    tffb,
    I have two names and use two pesukim, one for each name. I started doing this when I was very young and my father found the pesukim (before Artscroll existed).

  13. Neil
    October 26th, 2006 @ 10:43 pm

    tffb (theoretically frum from birth?)

    I believe that it’s recommended to use the first name.

  14. tffb
    October 27th, 2006 @ 8:25 am

    token frum from birth :-)

  15. Chaya Houpt
    October 29th, 2006 @ 7:37 am

    Rishona–Yay, that’s great news about your conversion. If you want name help, as I said, I’m super into namees, so feel free to email me at chaya dot houpt at gmail.

    As for the pasuk thing, I LOVE my pasuk. It’s from eshet chayil. When I was a madricha, my girls got me a shtender with that verse printed on it. Very cute. I don’t think it particularly describes me or anything, I just find it inspiring, like all of eshet chayil.

  16. Ora
    October 29th, 2006 @ 11:36 am

    For those who can read Hebrew, this is an awesome names site: http://www.moriya.org.il/Name/Name1.asp

    from Moriya–it gives the meaning of various names (including some that aren’t recommended, so be sure to check), and also a link (on the right) to a list of possible pasukim for each name. I’ve always used the same two pasukim that were in my siddur, and I feel connected to them so I’m keeping them, but apparently I could have chosen from a few hundred different ones as well.

  17. Gershon Seif
    October 29th, 2006 @ 1:14 pm

    I thought it was totally frum from birth

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