Sunday, December 2, 2012

What's In a Name

                       What’s In A Name

Last week was all about thanksgiving, and hopefully much of that remains this week and beyond.  Like many of you I spent the holiday with family and found that more nourishing than the food on the table.  But there was more.

My granddaughter is now at an age where she can receive a formal Hebrew name.  Because there’s no Hebrew equivalent for Olive, her parents had a choice, and with the Rabbi decided on a derivative of Shalom, the Hebrew word for Peace.

Normally, parents take their child to a synagogue to be named on a day when the Torah is read, but my daughter and her husband decided to invite the Rabbi to come perform the ceremony at their house before Thanksgiving dinner: with all the family around and with thankfulness already in the air.

The ritual, up close and personal as it was, was shared by all. Everyone there got to participate in the ceremony in front of the others, and this sense of sharing made it so much more meaningful. We often don’t really have a sense of where a name comes from, or what it means, or how it might actually signify something about the person who will have it forever.  

Because the relatives there were part of the ceremony, each will now have a stronger bond to Olive, or Shlomayte (her Hebrew name). The blessings were more meaningful, the giving of the name was special, and the feeling of thanksgiving for all that we have and share more intense.

Sometimes we assign nicknames to others because we have no connection to the name they’ve been given. But when you know where the name really comes from there’s no need to add anything further.  That’s when a name is more than just a name.  And for that I am very thankful.

My message this week is about doing good things for others:

“Power is the ability to do good things for others.” Brooke Astor

Roberta Brooke Astor (1902 – 2007) was an American philanthropist, socialite and writer who was the chairwoman of the Vincent Astor Foundation. She is the author of two novels and two volumes of personal memoirs.

Do you have this kind of power? You probably can, and often do, perform good things for others…but is it a regular thing? People with special skills share those with others to help when needed, those with special knowledge apply that when appropriate, a gift of humor can often ease tensions, and of course money is always helpful. But there are other intangible things that do good things for others: a willing attitude, a strong back, a kind nature, and a keen eye – these can all be helpful in a moment of need.  And in the service business, the greatest powers include a sense of responsibility, an awareness of a need before it’s spoken, and a genuine interest to be helpful even when interrupted.  All of these powers have the potential to do good things for others, and each speaks volumes about you, your commitment, and your integrity.  Use these kinds of powers with others today and see what good they can do!

Stay well!  

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