Kohelet Seven: A Good Name

“A [good] name is better than good oil, and the day of death than the day of one’s birth (Ecclesiastes 7:1).” I must confess, I literally didn’t read any further, not even the second verse of this chapter, before deciding that this was the one I would highlight and comment on. For my whole life, one of the things that my mom always emphasized, to the point that I’d refer to it as her motto, was to always ensure that we had a shem tov, a good name. She told my siblings and I that constantly, and it became the guidepost for how we’ve made our way through the world. We know that our names are the most valuable things that we have, setting up our reputations, both personally and as a family. The best honor that she ever gets is when people associate her with us, and vice versa, because of those good names. It’s an intangible, yet invaluable commodity, and the calling card of a life well lived.

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