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I’ve received quite a few questions about the meaning of the name Hadassah, which is cool because I also like name meanings and I would love to tell you why we chose Hadassah’s name for her.
The first set of pictures in this post are some pictures I took to commemorate the 3 month mark. That tells you about when I started writing this post. Hadassah just celebrated her 6 month “half birthday.”
As many of you probably know, I believe in God and try to follow the path that He has laid out in His Word, the Bible. Since the Bible was originally written to a culture vastly different from the culture we live in today, I find it very helpful to study the original audience and its language and geography and context. That means becoming more familiar with an Eastern way of life and thought, Jewish customs, and the Hebrew language.
In Jewish thought, a person’s name is linked with his or her destiny. How far you want to take this is up for debate and I’m not diving into that here, but I think it’s an interesting concept with some value and I want my children to have names that they can live up to.
Hadassah was Queen Esther’s Hebrew name and means “myrtle tree” (a symbol of righteousness) or “compassion.”
Like her Biblical namesake, we pray that our daughter Hadassah will be ready to be used of God “for such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14)
“Does this pose give me a double chin?”
When I think of the past year and the unexpected things it held, I wonder about the future and the magnitude of the as-yet unseen things that my daughter could face. For what have we signed her up by giving life to her…and a name with a destiny like this?
What a clown…
But no, for God gave her life, and her destiny is determined by Him.
All we can do is teach her His truth. Pray for her. Be there for her. Give her an example to follow and all the tools we can bequeath.
We can do no more.
He will do no less.
Queen Hadassah, Jael, Ruth, Rahab, Tamar, Mary…all unlikely but important players in God’s story.
This past Christmas I thought a lot about Mary and the role she played. Now that I have a child of my own I can imagine a little better what she felt when she gave birth to a Son knowing that He was called to fulfill a tremendous destiny. And when He grew older and grappled with the mercenary ideas and dangerously powerful and conniving leaders of the day, I’m sure the worry and dread in her heart grew.
And to see your child tortured on a cross, exposed, falsely accused?
God saw this too. That was His Son. And unlike Mary, He knew even before Jesus’ birth the full extent of the suffering to come.
Yet He loved US as His children so much that He gave His only Son to die for us. (John 3:16)
When I started typing this post, this wasn’t where I thought I would end up, but perhaps it’s the only fitting place TO end. Our children are in the hands of God, and that’s the safest place to be, no matter what the future holds.
On a lighter note, perhaps I’ll share the process we used to agree on this name.
Ryan and I knew from the beginning that since we are both people of rather strong opinions (ahem…two independent, driven firstborns), we might have trouble coming to an agreement. So we basically avoided discussing baby names. On occasion we each tossed out names that we liked, but we didn’t actually turn these tossing sessions into discussions.
When it became obvious that we were not tossing around the same kinds of names, Ryan asked for a list of the names I liked. You know, so he could weed through it and perhaps find one or two he also liked. 😛 Such a list was easy enough for me to produce, since I am a list person and already had quite a lengthy list of baby names compiled. I remember going through baby name books as a young teen and writing down the ones I liked. One must be prepared, you know.
Since we weren’t finding out whether we were having a boy or a girl, we had to agree on a name for each. Double trouble. At least we knew we weren’t having twins.
The following pictures are some 4 month pictures. I crocheted the afghan while I was pregnant with Hadassah.
Fast forward awhile. We kept tossing out the names we really liked. Rather, I would do the tossing and Ryan would usually wrinkle up his nose. Eventually with enough tossing I weeded my list down to a few names that I thought we could agree on.
One evening we went for a bike ride. I have learned that my husband and I can often have better discussions when we’re doing something together than when we’re just sitting on the couch staring at each other and one of us has ants in his pants. I won’t say who.
While we were biking, I threw out my final name choices that I thought we could agree on.
“Are you OK with Hadassah ____* for a girl?”
“What about ____ ____ for a boy?”
He agreed to that too, and that was that.
We didn’t discuss the matter any further. Towards the end of my pregnancy I think I did bring the names up once more just to make sure we were still on the same page so we didn’t end up with any surprises after the birth.
* I won’t be sharing Hadassah’s middle name because she deserves to have some things kept private.
^^”I love you this much!”
I wasn’t expecting the name Hadassah to be so unfamiliar, but I’ve had to repeat and/or explain it to most non-churchgoing people. (Most people who are familiar with the Bible recognize it from the book of Esther.)
For those who are curious, we pronounce the middle syllable with a short a sound. An ah sound may be more correct, but I have heard most Americans pronounce the name with a short a so we decided to stick with that. I have dealt with enough mispronunciation in my life and am loathe to force that upon my daughter. 😛 With that in mind, I’m not picky about the pronunciation of her name. Either way is “correct” in our case.
I shall briefly interrupt the flow of this post to tell you that my name is Bree-AH-nah, not Bree-ANN-nah, in case you were wondering and have not read the “This is not a foreword.” sections in my cookbooks. And it’s only spelled with one ‘n’. Thank you. 🙂 Moving on…
Many people have asked about nicknames, which kind of took me by surprise because we chose this name liking it how it was. We don’t have plans for any nicknames. Nicknames by nature are usually spontaneous, so we’ll see what happens in the future. I often call her “Dassah” – chopping off the first syllable. My little brother started calling her “Haddie” but I’m not a huge fan….
Do you have any neat name stories and/or meanings to share? I’d love to hear them in the comments!