Biblical Associations
Slide 17 of 94
Slide 17

Previous TOC Next

There are other pairs of names that are related to each other.

A major category of related names is Biblical associations, which derive from the blessings that Jacob gave his sons and grandsons (Genesis, chapters 48 and 49), in which he compared them to various animals.

In Jacob's blessings, Binyomin was equated to a wolf, thus the Yiddish name Wulf often is associated with Binyomin.   Naftali was compared to a deer, a running stag; the Yiddish word Hirsh means deer.   Efraim is associated with fish, the name Fishel in Yiddish.   Yissakhar is associated with a donkey or ass to reflect the meaning "hard-working," but since the donkey has a different connotation in Western culture, it has been replaced by the bear, the name Ber in Yiddish.   Yehuda (Judah) is seen as a lion; Leib means lion in Yiddish, so if we find someone named Leib, it is probable that his Hebrew name is Yehuda. The names Yehudah and Leib are related due to the Biblical association.

Going back to the example at the beginning of this lecture, we see that my grandfather's cousin is named 'Leib' on his Polish marriage record, and 'Yehuda' on his tombstone.   'Leib', the Yiddish secular name (kinnui), was used on a civil document; and 'Yehudah', the Hebrew religious name (shem hakodesh), was used on the tombstone, a religious monument.