Photo Credit: Jewish Press

“I kind of changed her name when I was called up in shul this morning.”

This was how my husband greeted me as he came into the house on Shabbos morning after our oldest daughter was born. We had decided to name her Rivkah Gila – Rivkah from the parsha closest to when she was born and Gila after my grandmother.

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But my husband decided at the last minute that Rivkah Gila Goldberg sounded clumsy whereas Gila Rivkah Goldberg sounded better – and so she was named.

I’d like to say it didn’t bother me but I guess it did a bit as I didn’t agree that it sounded clumsy and we had agreed on the name. But it didn’t actually alter much as we always called her Rivkah as we had planned.

B”H we were blessed with other children several of whom were given more than one name. At some point my husband decided that it was wrong that despite having been given two names we never actually used their full name, so he decided that on Shabbos when he distributed the wine after Kiddush and the challah, he would call every child by their full name.

And so it was. Four times every Shabbos, while they were growing up, each child (and now grandchildren as well) are referred to by their full name.

This turned out to be an especially good idea for several of our grandchildren who were known only by their second name. Several of our children used the name of an ancestor as their first name, out of respect, but didn’t really like to burden the child with such an old fashioned name so they never used it.

And Rivkah grew up, married and was blessed with a wonderful large family who are now themselves getting married.

Last week, their third daughter got engaged. At the beautiful, but smaller than usual vort (due to corona limitations) Rivkah introduced me to her mechutenesta… Rivkah. Afterwards I took my Rivkah into a corner and said “I guess it’s only a problem when the kallah and shviger share the same name. It doesn’t matter if the mechutenestas have the same name does it?”

She smiled. “Normally in most families it doesn’t matter but in their family it seems that it does. According to their family minhag they don’t like it if the mechutenestas have the same name, so she asked me if I have another name, as she doesn’t.

So I told her, ‘actually my name isn’t Rivkah, it’s Gila Rivkah.’ She was so pleased. But then she asked ‘But does anyone actually ever call you by that name? Does anyone really know that it’s your name?’ So I could tell her that until I was married the name Gila was used every Shabbos four times so it’s definitely a part of my real name.”

I couldn’t wait to tell my husband what a wonderful decision he made over forty years ago when he decided to change our daughter’s name. We know there are no mistakes in a world governed by Hashem.

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Ann Goldberg and her family made aliyah from the UK over 30 years ago and live in Jerusalem. She is a web content writer and writing coach and runs writing workshops and e-mail courses. For more information visit anngoldbergwriting.com.