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The Weekly Reflection – Parshas Korach:
Impact of a Name

The Weekly Reflection


Rav Simcha Klein

The Gemora (Yoma 38b) states “One should not name their child with the name of a rasha”. The Chasam Sofer (Even Ha’ezer Vol.2 Resp.22) brings an interesting proof from this week’s parsha, that it is detrimental to use a rasha’s name. Korach (benYitsor) was actually not the first person to carry that name. We find his name used by one of the primary descendants of Esav (see Bereishis 36:16), who was definitely a rasha. Korach’s life ended in terrible sin, so we see the name of a rasha has a negative impact on a person.

Rav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita (Derech Sicha Vol.2) is of the opinion that there is only a problem with a rasha’s name if the intention was to name the child after that rasha. However, if by coincidence the name you desire to give is also that of a rasha, there is no problem whatsoever.

The P’nei Yhoshua (Kesubos 104b) has an interesting opinion on this topic. He posits that there is a problem with using a rasha’s name only if the name itself alludes to or expresses that rasha’s evil nature, otherwise there is no problem.