A Most Unique Psak Halacha From Hagaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky Regarding The Naming Of A Son And The Machlokes That Followed


1The Rav of the Ramat Elchanan neighborhood of Bnei Brak HaGaon HaRav Yitzchok Zilberstein tells the story of an avreich who was married for five years without children. The avreich traveled to the tziyun of the Rashbi to be mispallel, promising to name his son Shimon if his wife becomes pregnant. He did just that, a number of days ago.

The naming of his son resulted in a machlokes as his father-in-law explained the naming of the first child belongs to the wife, calling his son-in-law insolent for disrespecting his wife’s side of the family. The situation worsened, compelling the avreich to turn to Rav Zilberstein for guidance. The rav took the matter to his brother-in-law, HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita.

Rav Kanievsky instructed the avreich to change his son’s name from Shimon to Yechezkel in line with the wishes of his wife and her family, after an admor that had a connection with.

Rav Chaim explained doing so would not result in breaking a neder, since he promised the Rashbi to call his son Shimon, which he did for a week. Hence, the neder was fulfilled.

Listen to the story from Rav Zilberstein himself.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


  1. Unique Psak indeed as the child’s naming does not belong to the In-Laws only to the father. Its mentioned in Kadmonim that its sort of a divine Ruach haKodesh of revelation revealed to the father..

  2. My family’s minhag is also to let the mother have the first name. But in the end, it is not our business, naming rights are solely the responsibility of the parents. That being said … didn’t they deal with this issue during the past 9 months? And how could Dad call the baby Shimon before the Bris?

    There is much more to this machloykes & I bet it has to do with parents pressuring their daughter. Way to go, safta & Saba! Guaranteed ill feelings for life.

  3. This is a very very sad story. While the Rav Chaim and Rav Zilberstein are, of course, correct, everyone else is wrong. The father for promising something without discussing it with his wife, the father-in-law for using a minhag (not halacha) as a hammer and involving himself in the children Sholam Bais and for the wife for not supporting her husband. Marriage does not live strictly according to Halacha and therefore I would not be surprised if this marriage does not survive.

  4. #5 Common Sense? More likely …without discussing it with his in-laws. The wife agreed with her husband but her parents did not. Therein was the problem. This couple would be better off living thousands of miles away from her parents.

    #1 Totally agree. Surely is a shocking psak.

  5. It’s nice to see everyone jump in and blame the in laws for interfering. Clearly you guys did not watch the Rav in the video. He specifically says it was the WIFE who wanted to name the baby Yechezkel.
    Also it takes a certain type of cynic to see an interesting chiddush of a psak, where Rav Chaim is saying you can go so far as to change a child’s name FOR THE SAKE OF SHOLOM BAYIS, and twist it into a horrible machlokes causing catastrophe.