Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mazal tov, it's a girl!

Chaviva Malka Cohen
As some of you may know on Friday night we were privileged to bring our new daughter into the world. Today we named her and as promised here is the story behind the name. We were thinking of girls' names awhile back and since two of my great-grandmothers were named Chaya we thought about that. But my sister already has that name. (We are Sephardi but my husband has a minhag not to name for the living. Go figure.) Even though it would be for the ancestors and not for the sibling he doesn't like to do that either. So we entertained the idea of Chava being an alternative to Chaya but hadn't decided definitively and were still iffy on a middle name as well.

Fast-forward to after the birth. During the day on Shabbat I had some quiet time to reflect and just my siddur and Tehillim to read in the hospital so I opened up Pirkei Avot in the siddur to review/see which ones I remembered in Hebrew. And I came upon 3:18, "Chavivin Yisrael" etc. and it affected me. I was thinking it sounds a bit like a combination of Chava and Aviva (being that we find ourselves in the spring season). But in addition to that it hit me that I really felt beloved. Throughout the birthing process with 2 amazing doulas (my doula and her student) and the post-partum; I just felt like H-shem was watching over me and caring for us in so many ways. The quality of the hospital staff has yet improved further; having the baby on the weekend enabled me to avoid the dynamiting that they are doing nearby during the week; Shabbat itself was relatively quiet and I was able to get a private room. A local organization even sent someone to offer to bring me some extra food to enhance Oneg Shabbat; just as the hospital served their weekday-type kosher lunch and I was missing my usual Shabbat fare.

Even though these all seem like mundane details they all contributed to a wonderful birth experience. I feel like I'm really at a loss to put this into words in the proper way but that's how the name came to us. And yes, it did occur to me that Chaviva can be translated to Aimee (my secular name) but it was not our intention to give the baby my name.

Malka was a name we were throwing around for the last two daughters as well and is after my mother's father as no one has been named for him yet (My son was named for my father's father and my father-in-law's father).

As my husband said, people may or may not like the name someone gives their child but what they may not realize is that that was always that child's name and it is revealed to each person's parents as a form of Ruach HaKodesh (a light form of prophecy) when they name him or her.

Thank you everyone for permitting me to share this story with you and may you all feel beloved as we have.

Full text of Pirkei Avot Chapter 3, Mishnah 18a


  1. Mazal Tov!
    Tizku k'gadla l'Torah, u'l'Chuppah u'l'Maasim Tovim, together with all your dear family, sheyich'
    Shabbat Shalom and have an illuminating Lag Ba'Omer!

  2. Thanks so much, who is this btw? If you know me you can email me directly...