Yeshayahu Forty-Five: Names

“For the sake of My servant Jacob, and Israel My chosen one, and I called to you by your name; I surnamed you, yet you have not known Me (Isaiah 45:4).” We read back in Bereshit, towards the very beginning of the Torah, that Jacob wrestled with God’s angel, and in return demanded a blessing. As a result, his name was changed from Jacob, the name that his parents gave him, to Israel, the one who wrestles with God. To give someone a name is a deeply personal and transformative act. What we are called becomes who we are. Our names, nicknames, and epithets, are both how people see us, and how we refer to ourselves. On a personal note, I just changed my name, hyphenating it to add on the name of my new husband. How will this new addition change me? Will it impact how others see me when I introduce myself, or how I think of myself? How will I be different from who I was before this change?


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