Dear Noah, Micah, Hannah and baby soon to be:
As we are looking forward to meeting our new baby, names are on our minds. I believe the name you pick for a child is a huge responsibility. It can actually have an influence on that person. As well, I believe that you invite the protection of that Biblical spirit to be with you as you journey through this life. Being Jewish we choose a Hebrew name for our children. We chose to have the name you are called and your Hebrew name, be one and the same. We also chose each of your names for very specific reasons. Those reasons are related to the characteristics of the Biblical person and what we hope for you. In future posts I will make sure to go into detail about each of you and your name. (just in case the original falls out of your baby book that doesn’t exist)
But, I thought I would begin by sharing with you something I came across recently. I had the privilege and burden of choosing my own Hebrew name when I converted to Judaism. I had to give it alot of thought and weed through so many options! Yet, by doing this, was able to pick someone with characteristics that I cared about and that I hoped to emulate. Now, as we are taking our family through an orthodox Jewish conversion, I was asked why I chose the name Miriam. I went back and found what I had written at that time. Here is why:
I chose the name Miriam as a constant reminder of the lessons she teaches us, and the kind of Jewishness I want to strive for. When I think about the evil and oppression facing the Jews in ancient Egypt, it is hard for me to grasp the intense faith that led 6 year old Miriam to convince her father to remarry her mother and risk having another child. It is never easy to be so sure of who you are and what you believe in, even when we have every comfort. It would seem impossible when faced with slavery and persecution. Yet, her faith never waivered, and because of this, I believe, she carved out a space for G-d to work miracles.
We learn in Genesis, through the story of Cain and Abel, what tragedy can come of not being our brother’s keeper. Miriam shows us the miracles that are possible when we are our brother’s keeper. We may sometimes feel insignificant and unnamed as Miriam is in much of the story of Exodus. The lesson I believe, is to hold on to your faith. Faith in yourself, in the gifts the Jews have given the world, of the rightousness of this path, and the possibility of miracles. This is a trying time for Jews everywhere. Many have lost their faith in the face of true evil and terrorism. It can leave you feeling overwhelmed and insignificant when you look at the problems that need to be solved. Miriam reminds me that it only took the faith of a 6 year old little girl, to make a new world possible.