Changing the name of an ill person in olden times – not like today – אופן שינוי השם לחולה ל”ע בימים ההם

Another revelation to me in the Feurth sefer was the way that a name change for a seriously ill person, ל”ע, was performed there in those days (approximately three hundred years ago).

In volume one, on page 342, the process is described as follows –

The aron kodesh is opened and a mi shebeirach (more elaborate version than the standard mi shebeirach for cholim) using the current name of the choleh is recited twice, asking for a refuah in merit of tzeddakah given. Then, a ‘goral’ is cast in the following manner. A Tanach would be opened at random by a youngster under supervision of the שמש. If for example the choleh was male, the first male name on the page where it was opened, would be taken as the new name for the choleh. In the case he discusses, the name עלי came up by this method and was added. Not a common Ashkenazic name. And then a third mi shebeirach, as above, would be said, using the new name of the choleh.

Nowadays, from the little I know about this, it is not done in such a ‘random’ manner, and usually only certain names which imply health and good fortune for the choleh, such as חיים, are chosen. See the sefer for more details.

Update: The piece on this in the sefer minhogim of Feurth from close to two hundred fifty years ago, can be see here.

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One Response to “Changing the name of an ill person in olden times – not like today – אופן שינוי השם לחולה ל”ע בימים ההם”

  1. Yisroel Gradmann Says:

    This the minhog in KAJ Washington Heights.

    I quote from their Minhogei Yeshurun, page 3, # 25; “when Shinuy Hashem is called for, the shamosh carries a lit candle while collecting tzedokoh. Besides the emphasized refoeinu and shema koleinu, the tefillo be’ad hachole is said by the shatz – while wearing his tallis, in front of the opened oron hakodesh – at the conclusion of the services. When the name of the chole is mentioned, it is done with the mother’s name. The shinuy hashem is made by the Rav by opening a chumosh of tanach at random and looking at the first name which presents itself. The new name is announced by the shamosh.”

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