Giving a Child the Name "Yenta"

Home Forums Family Matters Giving a Child the Name "Yenta"

Viewing 20 posts - 1 through 20 (of 20 total)
  • Author
  • #603132

    Should I be concerned or feel obligated to give her an additional name to Yenta?


    Yenta was a Shadchan (Matchmaker)


    When choosing a name everyone’s emotions are running high. If either spouse are uncomfortable or feel that the child’s name can be disadvantageous (and in worst case a tool that can be used in derision and teasing) then as best you can discuss it openly and rationally.

    If you have misgivings about a name, step back for a second and see if they are based on emotion or logic and also if you believe your spouse will be resentful of the forced choice of name.Of course no one would ever want that their child should Chasvishalom not be happy about their name.

    Certain names even those used in our history by big tzaddikim due to circumstance or negative connotation are sometimes taken out of use or dropped altogether.

    I.E. For a period of time in the immediate aftermath of the false moshiach some people refrained from using Shabbtai, you will probably be hard pressed to find anyone name their son Yishmael or more recently use a certain girls name that has become synonymous with cancer.

    If the name is so important that you want to use it no matter the personal or social repercussions, a way to avoid unpleasantness is adding a name but from time to time refer to the full name at home.This way you and your daughter will not forget whose name she carries.

    p.s. if you dont use the name at all but want a zikaron, start a gemach or endow a tzedaka fund. Zichron or Bais.. and on all stationary write out full Jewish name

    Whatever you decide should be with Mazel yiddishe Nachas and ligadla litorah ulichupa ulimaasim tovim and marry a ben torah.


    Given the connotation, I would not use it to call the child by that name. It’s like calling someone Shlumiel (and that should not be a derogatory name as it was the name of a nasi, but it would be).


    Add, do not omit. Keep a kesher to the past.


    My understanding of naming is that every child comes into the world with a name that is very connected to who they are, character traits etc. The parents and only the parents (not the grandparents, aunts, uncles etc.) have nevuah that will help them to learn the name of the child, which will eventually shape who they become. It’s very hard to go through life with an awkward name, one that has a negative meaning or sounds funny so that should always be part of the decision making. My sister is eternally grateful that she was given a different name than the one originally suggested by relatives. Only you will know what’s right for this child. I know people that were very confused about the name and had even chosen one before birth, but after the baby was born they felt strongly that a different name needed to be used. I can’t say what my name is, but it absolutely describes me and I have a niece with the same name who has very similar traits.

    Think first

    Reb Yaakov Kaminetzky held one should not give a name that a child will be embarrassed to have, I’m not saying that’s the case with Yenta just a general rule.


    my grandmother was yenta, my sister is yenta, i gave my daughter yenta with an additional name (name of mother of my grandmother yenta). yenta was always a beautiful yiddishe name, but was in the past decades turned into something it never meant. it’s unfortunate, but needs to be dealt with. the additional name gives the option of not using yenta (or using it together, if so desired by the child).

    Be Happy

    If you have to give the name Yenta PLEASE give her an extra name! At least you can avoid her having any bad feeling about her name and she can avoid being made fun of..


    My granddaughter is named Yenta and only Yenta and that is what everyone calls her.

    She is about to become ten years old.

    She is popular and full of self-esteem and is perfectly happy with the name.


    My husband and I were in the same position over 40 years ago. We did a lot of research and learned that Yenta is a derivative from the Italian “Gentilia”, gentle. We named our daughter Adina and all parties concerned were thrilled. Hatzlacha to you.

    1st timer

    I know someone who was named yenta but is called Yennie and I know someone who was supposed to be yenta but was named Yitta instead. I also heard that yenta comes from Jenta and another name for Jenta (Gentle) could be Adina.


    Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky was also makpid to give only single names. All of his children and almost all of his grandchildren and great grandchildren born in his lifetime have single names. The only exceptions (that I’m aware of) is some decendants of his son Rav Binyomin who married into a Chassidishe Rebbishe family, and there were mesorahs on that side that had to be accomodated.

    It is also known that when certain questions came up about wedding traditions in his family, Rav Yaakov was known to say on occasion, “My family’s tradition is whatever the mechuten wants.”


    1st timer, I heard the Adina substitution also. My aunt’s name was Yenta (called Yetta), and someone in the family has an ainekel who was named Adina for her, for just that reason. As Yenta is not Hebrew anyway, and I personally hold the minhag of only naming in Loshon Kodesh, that works for me. 🙂


    No reason not to add a name, whether one in your family or one that you just like.


    Midwesterner – i can attest to what you said, as told to me by his grandaughter. One additional point though, is that he also holds not to give yiddish names anymore and his family switches yiddish names to their hebrew counterpart.


    another suggestion is that yenta (unlike aidel – which would translate as adina) is related to juanita, meaning “gift of G-d”, or “G-d has been gracious”. that would be related to yonoson and yochonon for a boy…


    Oomis: A Minhag to only give Hebrew names? That’s one that I’ve never heard before. Not to do English, sure. But only Hebrew? I’ve never heard anyone Makpid on that before. (Just curious, would you name a child Mordechai or Ester?)


    I would hope to never have to have anyone named Mordechai, as I have a close relative by that name. But yes, I believe in using Jewish names that come from TANACH across the board (except those of reshaim of course).

    Though some names might be Aramaic (or some other language, i.e. Persian)in origin, they are written in our Holy Sefarim. I just personally do not believe in naming children Yiddish language names (like Hersh or Faigel, rather than Tzvi or Tzipporah), as I see virtually no difference between doing that or giving them an English name (as English is the unifying language of Jews today in this country, just as Yiddish was in Europe). Much Torah is learned in English, certainly as much as Torah was learned in Yiddish in Europe. we have discussed this in the naming thread many times, and my position is that Loshon Kodesh is Hebrew, not Yiddish, and the zechus of Bnei Yisroel in Egypt was that they did NOT change their names to the local vernacular. In Europe, Yiddish was the Jewish local vernacular. I don’t speak for anyone else, though, and I DO get the sensitivity to the Alte Heim.


    My sister was the queen of all those people who say , “Oh I would never name my kid something mean”, and guess what? A few short years later, she is happily married and goes and names her daughter- well, not Yenta, but something to that effect. So, never say never.

Viewing 20 posts - 1 through 20 (of 20 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.