Wednesday, January 15, 2020

A Person's Name Affects His Essence

by Rabbi David Hanania Pinto

"The name of the first was Shifrah and the name of the second was Puah" [Shemot 1:15]

Why did Pharaoh change Yocheved and Miriam's names to Shifra and Puah, which are Egyptian names?

The Rebbe of Riminov zt"l explains: Pharaoh knew that as long as the midwives, Yocheved and Miriam, are called Jewish names, there is no way he can challenge them with this cruel decree of killing Jewish children. Therefore, he first commanded them to change their names to 'Shifra' and 'Pu'ah', hoping that Egyptian names will have an effect on their state of mind and change their essence and character, to the extent that they will now be capable of murdering Jewish children. Only after that did he order them, "if it is a son, you are to kill him".

A person's name is his essence. It is absorbed in his innermost being and greatly influences his spirit and character.

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