BH 14 Shevat 5769 Gavriel Tzvi’s Brit

B’siman Tov u’vMazal Tov!
Thank you all for coming today to join in our simcha! To label something is to define its nature – the act of naming labels something and defines what it is and what its purpose is: Gen 2:19 name.” “and whatever Adam called every living creature, that was its

When G-d told Moshe to go to the Children of Israel and take them out of Egypt, the verse says: Ex 3:13 “And Moses said to G-d, Behold, when I come to the people of Israel, and shall say to them, The G-d of your fathers has sent me to you; and they shall say to me, What is His name, what shall I say to them?” The Children of Israel weren’t going to ask for G-d’s name – they knew who G-d was. What they wanted to know was what His plans were, so to speak, what attribute He was going to use to redeem them, either through strict justice or with mercy. So to with people’s names – what’s in a name? Ideally, it’s the definition of the individual, a description of his personality, and an interpretation of his traits. A prayer that the person with the name live up to the potential expressed by it. So, on the simple level, the name Gavriel indicates a wish that this boy grow up to be a “gibor”, a strong and mighty hero: Avot 4:1 “Who is mighty? He who subdues his passions, as it is written (Proverbs 16:32) "One who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and one whose temper is controlled than one who captures a city.” And on a numerical level, the value of the name Gavriel Tzvi is 348, which are the letters shin/mem/chet, or “sameyach/happy”, indicating a wish that this boy grow up to be always happy and rejoicing: Avot 4:1 “Who is rich? He who rejoices in his portion, as it is written (Psalm 128:2) "You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be happy, and it shall go well with you." "You shall be" refers to this world; and "it shall be well with you" refers to the world to come.” But there’s a much deeper level than this.

There’s an opinion that says you should not name children after angels because: “When a person says their names, they think they are being called and will come. When they see that they were being called for naught, they will become angry and cause hurt and damage to the one that called them.” But Gavriel is different – Gavriel is the angel who is seen traditionally as helping and being beneficial to the Jews – “the man clothed in linen”. There’s a very odd passage in Tractate Yoma that tells of the angels trying to convince G-d, so to speak, to destroy the Children of Israel after the destruction of the first Temple – and G-d is very angry indeed: Yoma 77a “I will burn them up and the good ones among them as well!”

But Gavriel comes to their rescue: Yoma 77a “The Holy One, Blessed Be He said ‘Who is it that is finding merits for My children?’ They said to Him ‘Master of the Universe, it is Gavriel.’ He said to them “Let him come forth!’” And Gavriel saves the Children of Israel from G-d’s anger. So too we wish for our son, Gavriel Tzvi – in addition to the mightiness and happiness his name implies, we wish him to be like his namesake and always find the good in people, find their merits, to “find merits for His children”, and that Gavriel the angel himself come and continue to find merits for us and all the Children of Israel, amen.