Published October-13-06
Ask Rabbi Dan
by Rabbi Dan S. Wiko PhD
  Issue: 7.09
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Does your Jewish name imply whether you are a Kahane, Levi, or the Tribe your father is from???

Your Jewish name is different from your Hebrew name. A Jewish name is more a nickname. Someone named Moses might be called Moishy. Your Hebrew name, however, memorializes someone in your family who has passed on IF you are Ashkenazi or is a sign of respect to someone living IF you are Sephardic.

My name, for instance, is HaRav Zev ben Yaacok Tzwi...the Yaacov Tzwi was my father's Hebrew, or spiritual, name and I am Zev his son. The only time lineage is involved is when it comes to Kahanic descent. It would be "Yitzchak ben Avrohom HaKohain". In most instances, it only refers to parental lineage not tribal lineage.

The Yiddish (Jewish) equivalent for Zev is "wolf" and for Tzwi is "hirsch" or, in English, is deer.

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