Verses, Midrashim, and Acrostics

After the naming, one can recite verses, midrashim, or poems that relate to giving a name.

There are three categories of verses that are commonly recited at the birth ceremony: 

1. Verses that are connected to the name, its origin, and its meaning. These verses can be contextually related to the name, or their first letters can create an acrostic with the baby’s name. Generally, verses from the Song of Songs, or from Psalms 119 or Proverbs 31 (chapters that are composed according to the aleph bet) are used in the acrostic.

Sample acrostic for the name Shalhevet, based on Proverbs 31:

שקר החן והבל היופי, אשה יראת אדני היא תתהלל
לא תירא לביתה משלג, כי כל ביתה לבוש שנים
היתה כאניות סוחר ממרחק תביא לחמה
בטח בה לב בעלה ושלל לא יחסר
תנו לה מפרי ידיה ויהללוה בשערים מעשיה

For a cache of Hebrew verses for building an acrostic, click here.

2. Verses that depict Biblical covenants between God and the Jewish people or between God and our ancestors, with emphasis being placed on the connection between the covenant and naming (Patriarchic covenant, Genesis 17:4, 5, 7, 15, 16) or on the entire nation’s inclusion in the covenant and in the experience – men, women, young, and old, those who were physically present, and those who were only born later (Covenant at Sinai, Deuteronomy 29: 9-10, 13-14).

3. Verses relating to prominent female personalities, whose traits and deeds you would like to see your daughter emulate.

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