In a 1995 lecture on Exodus 5, Dennis Prager says: Names in Bible are very important. Adam names the animals. When you name something, you are giving it essence. That’s why the Nazis took the Jews names away and gave them numbers like cattle.
My wife got very sad when one of our fish died, which was particularly funny as she had just had a tuna sandwich for lunch. I pointed out to her, ‘Fran, how sad can you get? You just had a tuna melt.’
She started laughing and crying at the same time.
I realized why she had gotten sad over the death of one of our fish. We had unwisely named our fish. If you eat a sandwich and it was really a Jerry sandwich, you were having Jerry for lunch, you’d recoil. A tuna sandwich is not a problem.
I vowed after I saw my wife’s reaction, we are no longer naming our fish. It’s a puffer, it’s a yellow tang, and that’s it. Just tonight, a yellow tang died. Nothing. Dennis, could you take that out? It’s ugly. There was no emotional connection because it was a yellow tang. Name is essence.