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Around a year ago my wife and I were having a Shabbos meal at the home of our friends, Rabbi and Rebbetzin Gershon and Chana Rachel Schusterman of Los Angeles. The rebbetzin was telling us about how our Jewish names are Divinely inspired.

Hashem gives our parents a small measure of prophecy when they name us at birth, and our names reflect deeper facets of our personalities and contain allusions as to the events, which will happen in our lives.


She gave the example of my name, Pesach, which can be interpreted as “the
mouth speaks,” alluding to the fact that I’ve studied a number of foreign languages.

Last month, Rabbi Chaim Fischer of Chabad of Miracle Mile asked me to say a few words about my father, z’l, at the Kiddush I sponsored in shul for his yahrzeit. I mentioned that among our many family members on my father’s side who were killed in the Holocaust were five of his six sisters.

It was only after my wife and I arrived home from shul that I realized that the name of my father’s sole surviving sister was “Chaya,” which means life.

Her parents did not realize when they named this infant with the name “Chaya” – meaning life, that she would be the sole sibling to survive the inferno of the Holocaust.