Monday, October 31, 2005

What's His Name?

The following is a true story. Identities have been changed to protect the innocent.

I was asked the following question. Actually, the guy sitting next to me was asked the question and when he didn't know the answer, I uncharacteristically butted in. A learned man said that he wanted to say a "mi she-beirakh" prayer for a sick, elderly neighbor whose Hebrew name he does not know. Given his English name, what Hebrew name do we think he has? Granted, this is a fundamentally flawed exercise because parents sometimes give misleading English/Hebrew names (eg. Nathan/Nachman) and sometimes totally unconnected names (eg. Samuel/Yerachmiel). But given the admitted pitfalls, what do we think this gentleman's Hebrew name is if his English name is Emanuel? Is it Mendel? Meir?

I suggested that, perhaps, his Hebrew name might be Emanuel. It is, after all, a name mentioned in Isaiah (7:14).

"Hey boys," the man said to his sons, "this guy says that Emanuel is a Hebrew name mentioned in Yeshayah."

After he left, the gentleman sitting next to me asked if I know Rabbi X, the questioner. "Rabbi?" "Oh yes, he's a rebbe in yeshiva." "Elementary school?" "No, high school. But he teaches Gemara, not Navi."

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Favorites More