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What's In a Name?

At the end of this passage, some have a custom to mention a verse which begins with the first letter and ends with the last letter of one’s name. What is the deeper meaning behind this practice?

The Zohar writes that after a person’s soul is taken from this world, he will be brought before the Heavenly Court and will be asked his name. To the embarrassment of many, they will not be able to answer this seemingly simple question. Considering that one’s own name is heard so frequently throughout life, why won’t we be able to answer this question on the final day of judgment?

A person’s name represents his purpose in this world. A person who devoted his entire life to seeking out and fulfilling his purpose will have no difficulty in answering this question. For those of us who may have been distracted from this goal at times, how can we ensure that we will remember our name?

There is no greater expression of a Jew’s individuality than his prayer. By signing off our tefillos with verses that allude to our names in this world, we stamp our prayers with our identities. This powerful segula helps ensure that on the day of judgment, we will remember our names.

Text Copyright © 2010 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and



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