Question: My husband and I are expecting our first child in about 6 weeks. We would like to name it (don’t know the sex…) after both a grandmother of my husband and a grandmother of mine. Coincidentally, the two grandmothers have the same Hebrew name. Can we, therefore, use just one name (i.e. just the first name or just the middle name) to honor them both at once, or would we have to use a first name for one grandmother and the middle name for the other? (We would really prefer not doing the latter, if we can avoid it…)
Answer: You absolutely may use one name to honor two ancestors. I should note however, that the “best” way to honor someone is by giving his or her full name to the child (i.e. to use both the first and middle name of the deceased).
In your case, I’m not quite sure of the circumstances. If both grandmothers share both their first and middle names, then you could give both names to your child, have both grandmothers “in mind,” and the two grandmothers will be honored. If you don’t like one of the names, it is OK to leave it out and just use the other one. If both grandmothers share only the first name, but have different middle names, then you could give your child three names: The first name which all have in common, the middle name of Grandmother A, and the middle name of Grandmother B. If you don’t like one of the middle names, then you can either just use the other middle name, or (and this may be prudent to avoid offending anyone) just use the first name and not any of the middle names.
I hope this answer is clear. Please feel free to ask any further questions you may have.
Best wishes in deciding the names, and for the birth in general.
Rabbi Ari Lobel
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