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Hebrew Names and Popular Misconceptions

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According to popular misconceptions, traditional Judaism treats women like chattel (property) if not outright like cattle (beasts, obviously).

That’s not true, of course, and it’s why people are asking for my mother’s Hebrew name for prayer, not my dad’s.

Whenever you pray for mercy, for a special kindness from God, you pray in the name of the mother—in the name of parent who is most likely to grant it to you. That’s the same parent who granted you life. The Hebrew name for “womb” is Rehem—which is the root for the word “mercy” which is Rachamim—in other words, mercy comes from the womb, from the female, tender, nourishing, forgiving side of God.

My Hebrew name when I’m called up as a witness in court, on my wedding day, or to lead the congregation in prayers is Michael son of David (Mee-Cha-Yale ben—means son of—David). When someone prays for me, asking for mercy, I’m called Michael ben Shoshanna Gittel, the Hebrew name my late mom used.

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Comments (16)

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  1. Louis Lanham  •  Feb 11, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    Maybe this is where the Catholics developed the “Pray to Mary Mother of God…”

  2. Joel  •  Feb 13, 2015 at 9:08 am

    Nice thought, and I thought of another reason. Why is it that we mention a person’s name as the son of his mother only when we make a “Meshaberach L’Choleh”, and otherwise we always refer to him as the son of his father’s name? I think it is done to awaken HaShem’s attribute of mercy, by invoking the merit of his mother, who has mercy on him, loves him, and devoted her life to him no matter what kind of person he developed into, likewise, we pray that HaShem should have mercy on this sick person and heal him of his illness, even if he is undeserving.

    May you have a R’fueah Shlaimah.

    • Eric  •  Feb 13, 2015 at 9:24 am

      Not being Jewish I cannot say with authority but I have never heard of the misconception that in Judaism women are treated like chattel OR cattle. I have found that both Jews and Christians revere their women, as indicated by the previous post about Catholics praying to Mary. To the contrary of this is Modern day Islam where livestock are treated better than their women, and this is no misconception. Where are today’s feminists when it comes to defending their sisters in the middle east?

  3. jeff bybee  •  Feb 15, 2015 at 10:07 pm

    as a morman of fundimentalist beliefs and jack morman actions speaking for myself believe that jesus son of god born to mary had a wife here on earth ( likely mary madaline) and that our father in heavan also has a wife and know some of my lesdian friends prey spicificle to our mother in heavan.
    I so dearly hope all four of them or 5 or how many other spirits may blewss you to get well and soon back on the radio. thankyou mr medvid for many years and thousands of hours on entertainment and knowelege.

  4. Tzvi  •  Feb 16, 2015 at 7:26 pm

    Michoel Ben Shoshana Gittel- May you be blessed with a Refuah Sheleimah- and may Hashem speedily send Moshiach in your zechus- AMEN!!

  5. Wyatt  •  Feb 18, 2015 at 6:07 am

    I prayed that prayer to Heavenly Father for you Michael. I felt the Holy Ghost. May God bless you with more time.

    My grandmother from Scotland had the last name Moyes which upon researching I discovered is Hebrew and descendent of Moses. Grandpa Moses? No wonder fiddler on the roof is one of my favorite movies.

  6. Joseph G  •  Feb 20, 2015 at 12:56 am


    May G-d grant you good health speedily, with many happy years together with your family.

    I plan to have a me’shebairach said for you.

    I look forward to hear you on the radio,1280 AM, Twin Cities,MN.

    Good Shabbos,


  7. elliot  •  Feb 23, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    Please keep us updated about your condition. We care!
    Refuah shlaima

  8. Gary (Gedaliah Dovid)  •  Mar 4, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    I only found out yesterday of your illness, when Mark Davis made a comment. Michael, as a Jewish kid from the Bronx, I worked for Barry Goldwater in 1964 when I was in high school. I have always appreciated articulate Jewish conservatives, like myself. Your show (although we only get 2 hours in NY) is an oasis in the desert of, sometimes, shrill conservative talk radio. May God bless and keep you – refuah shlaima Michoel ben Shoshana Gittel, and I will say a mishabeirach for you at Chabad on Friday night. Kol tuv. Mark is very good, but he is not Michael.

  9. Ed Stopek  •  Mar 11, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    I sorely miss you, even though here in Chicago you’re on 5hr tape delay. (I sometimes listen to you live on the internet.) Have a refuah sh’leimah, and get back on the air where you belong. If you’re ever stranded in Chicago for Shabbos, and can’t get back home in time to spend it with your family, you are welcome to spend it with me. (We are shomer Shabbos, and shomer kashrut.)

  10. Joan Stavert  •  Mar 12, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    Michael ben Shoshanna Gittel, may the Lord our God touch your body, your throat, and heal you.
    I miss hearing you, and even if I’m not listening daily, I hear you enough to feel the absence of your wise commentaries on 770, Seattle. We live in the area. When we lived in S. W. Texas while during my husband’s career, I was invited through our church to attend Erev Shabbat, which met once a month. We had a call to worship by the blowing of a Shofar, we were led in worship by a music minister who was assisted by Israeli dancing while we sang. The services were precious, and we often had Messianic Jews worshipping with us. I miss the services, which have been retired now. Dr. Richard Booker led them and also presided over the Sounds of the Trumpet, Institute for Hebraic-Christian Studies. I enjoyed so much what I learned from them, and still order his books. We hope we hear you soon Michael. Thank you for your program. JS

  11. h n angell  •  Mar 16, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    I added you to my nightly prayers the day they announced your illness on the radio. I just mention ‘my friend michael medved….’

  12. Carolyn Hill  •  Mar 16, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    Wish I could hear some updates on how your doing! Hope you will be well soon and back on the radio.

  13. fay  •  Mar 17, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    I am a big fan of your show. Wishing you a refuah shleimah. Thank you, this is exactly what I came to your website looking for – your and your mother’s Hebrew name for tehillim.

  14. liz chadek  •  Mar 17, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    Please update us on how you are doing. I really hope all is well and miss hearing your voice everyday! You’re in my prayers Michael.

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