What’s In A Name?

I’m in a second marriage, B”H, very happy. We have my husband’s three children from his first marriage, and I truly feel like they are my own.

My father died a few months ago. I am expecting a child now, and if it is a boy, I want to name him Nachum, after my father. The problem is that one of my husband’s sons is named Nachum. What can I do in this case? Does it mean that I can never give a name after my father?

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This is really a question to be asked of a posek. However, because it has psychological implications, I wish to convey what I found in the works of Rabbi Yitzhak Silberstein.

Rabbi Silverstein was concerned that if the mother could not give her father’s name, she might build up a resentment against her husband’s son, because, after all, he is the obstacle that is preventing her giving her father’s name. Even though you may say that this would never happen, you should be aware that you can make that decision intellectually, but you have little control of your emotions, and unwittingly, a resentment may occur.

For this reason, Rabbi Silberstein suggested adding a second name, so if the husband’s son’s name is Yaakov, her son could be Chaim Yaakov. (Adding the name “Chaim” was especially appropriate, inasmuch as her father died at a relatively young age.) She could call her husband’s son Yaakov, and could call her son Chaim Yaakov.

In your case, it is also possible to name your son Nachemia, which is close enough to Nachum.