Parashah of the week: Pekudei

"With him was Oholiab, son of Achisamach, of the tribe of Dan, a craftsman and master weaver, and an embroiderer in blue, purple, and crimson wool and in linen." 38:23


I asked my grandpa: “After 65 years you still call grandma darling, beautiful and honey. What’s the secret?”

Grandpa: “I forgot her name five years ago and I’m scared to ask her.".

What is in a name? asked William Shakespeare.

Some names roll gently off the tongue and are a pleasure to call. Some are a little more complicated and we may struggle to pronounce them. I'd love to be called “Achisamach”, even though I'd probably be met by a few stares when introducing myself.

The name literally means "support my brother" and that is one of my personal goals (In a figurative sense rather than literal one - I only have one older brother and, thank God, he is quite capable of supporting himself.)

I guess the name is also meaningful to me on a personal level, for my father set up an organisation called Achisomoch over 40 years ago, which essentially enables people to give charity effectively and easily.

But, the reason I'm sharing this with you today is because thinking about our name can inspire us in a number of ways. The name we were given doesn't say so much about who we are but the "name" we achieve is more important. When King Solomon wrote in Proverbs 22:1 "a good name is better than riches" he was referring to what people think of us rather than our birth name.

Thinking about how we'd like to be remembered can help us decide what we want to dedicate our time and energy to. What kind of "name" do we want for ourselves? Do we want to be known as the most successful entrepreneur or the most generous person? The one who always had time to listen or the one who had the most beautiful home?

We all need to make a living to survive, we need to look after our bodies and cherish our homes. Developing our character may be overlooked due to the pressing physical needs that we are involved in on a daily basis. And yet, who we are, rather than what we own, creates the fabric of our very being.

Ultimately, even if others can't always remember our name, we hope they will remember how we made them feel.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive