A New Name for an Old Student

INSIGHT: Name Change – Does it really matter?

A New Name for an Old Student

Moshe gazed at his prize student, Hoshea the son of Nun, and thought to himself, “Things are not looking good. What if they come back with a bad report?! It will be terrible! But even worse would be if my wonderful student, Hoshea, becomes influenced by them. He, more than anyone else, represents me, and if he G-d forbid fails, all is lost. Nobody will ever again trust me. I must do something… but fast!”

Moshe called his student, “Hoshea, I am adding the letter Yud to the beginning of your name. The Yud represents HaShem. Your name will from now on be Yehoshua, meaning, “May HaShem save you from the evil plans of the spies.”

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Shazak insight

Name Change – Does it really matter?

Our Jewish names have a lot of significance. In fact, according to tradition, our name is our connection to the soul, and naming a child with his or her Jewish name is a form of prophecy!

But can a name or a name change actually affect a person, or change one’s destiny?

The answer is YES!

Here in our Parsha, Moshe Rabbeinu changed his student’s name by adding the letter Yud to Hoshea – making his name Yehoshua. Now let’s rewind to the first recorded name change in the Torah. It was none other than HaShem who changed the names of the first Jews – from Avram to Avraham and from Sarai to Sarah.

Changing one’s name to cause a change of fortune is clearly a Jewish concept. That’s why if someone is dangerously ill, we might provide him with an additional name, such as Chaim for a man or Chaya for a woman, meaning “life.” It’s as if that person becomes a new person – a healthy one at that.

Bottom Line? Our Jewish name is our connection to our soul and it sure does make a big difference!