Dvar Torah on the Parsha – Shemot 5775 – What’s in a name…

When Yaakov and his family left Canaan to come to Mitzrayim the names of all the people coming were enumerated. In this week’s Sidra, when we are told they arrived at their destination, their names are again itemized.

Most people know the reason Chazal give for this duplication. They tell us that this is to inform us that all the years the Jews lived the Egyptian Galut they did not abandon their Jewish names. That was one of the reasons they were redeemed.

Rabbi Moshe Soffer, who lived 200 years ago, complained about the Jews of his time. They gave their children Jewish names but did not use them except when they had to make a prayer for their health or, Heaven forbid, when they had to recite a Kel Maleh for them after they were deceased.

We are told in the Torah that when Yosef was appointed Viceroy over Egypt, Pharaoh gave him an Egyptian name. He called him Tzafnat Pane’ach. The only time Yosef is referred to by this name is when it was given to him. We never hear again in the entire narrative of Yosef in Egypt that he was called by that name. He kept the name Yosef and used it all his days.

This was the strength of the Jews of Mitzrayim. This is why they were redeemed by Hashem through miracles and in a supernatural way.


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