Rav Avigdor Miller on Wild Names

print

Q:

Why do Jewish males have names of beheimos temeios, of non-kosher wild animals? I’m thinking in particular about the name Dov, the bear, and Aryeh, the lion.

A:

Why do Jews have names of animals, like the bear and the lion?  The answer is that these names are really prayers.  Every name is a tefilah.  It’s a prayer that this Jew should have a quality of gevurah. He should be a hero.  

Now, when you see a bear walking down the street at night, you’re not going to walk up and shake hands with him.  If you see him even five blocks away, you’ll stop a taxi and you’ll take it in the other direction. If there’s no taxi, you’ll climb the telegraph pole.

A Jew has to be a bear.  A bear means he has to be a hero.  He has to be strong and he has to be willing to go into combat for the honor of Hashem.  A Jew has to be a lion. He has to be strong-willed and fearless like a lion. A Jew has to be all the good things.

Binyamin ze’ev yitrof (Vayechi 49:27). Not only we give names but Hakodosh Boruch Hu, by means of His prophets, gave names like that. Binyamin ze’ev yitrof. He’s a wolf.  A wolf is hungry, always hungry, and Binyamin is hungry for mitzvos.  He’s hungry to serve Hashem.  He doesn’t serve Hashem like somebody who has to do it; he can’t help himself so he forces himself. No; for avodas Hashem he has an appetite like a wolf.  When a wolf eats up a sheep, he doesn’t do it leshem mitzvah, like somebody who ate a lot on erev Shabbos and now on Friday night he’s not able to eat any more but what can he do; he has to sit down at the seudah and eat some more.  No!  He’s hungry for mitzvos.  That’s why you call him a wolf.  And therefore all these names represent certain desirable characteristics of service of Hashem.

TAPE # 441 (January 1983)

X
TorasAvigdor

FREE
VIEW