Elliot & Eliezer

My earlier work appeared under the name “Elliot Sobel,” one of two names I was given at birth, and the one I used most of my life. Eliezer is the other one. It’s pronounced eh-lee-eh — eh-as-in-bed — zer. Rhymes with Nebuchadnezzer. It is Hebrew, and very few people can pronounce it, I’ve found. "Eli" means God and "ezer" means help, so Eliezer means "God is my help."

Jews in America and elsewhere are almost always given two names, one secular, the other Hebrew. I was upset that all my friends on a spiritual path had been given new spiritual names by their gurus at some point, presumably to help them shift their primary identities away from their limited personalities over to their True Nature.

Most of the names were Hindu, like Krishna, Ananda, and so on. Generally the names meant something along the lines of "Blissful Consciousness," and it was thought that even if you were totally miserable and depressed, your spiritual name would help you remember that your real Self was having a gay old time of it.


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why two names?