לזכות ר' חיים יהושע בן ר' אפרים הכהן לברכה והצלחה הוא וכל בני ביתו ומשפחתו
לרפואת ר' מנחם אלחנן בן בריינדל ור' נתן חיים בן זעלדא
Is a name the essence of the object or concept it is describing and lasts forever or is it just an expression or indication of the present nature of the object but not inherent. The way the Rogochover puts this is:
אם שם הוה עצם או רק סימן.
Of course the Rebbi ztz"l [מהד"ת עמ' 104] found that this was a machlokes Tannaim. In the Tosefta there is a dispute what happens if one calls his produce מעשר שני in a מעשר עני year. If we view a name as an essence then it doesn't count. מעשר שני and מעשר עני are two different names. But if we view a name as a סימן, an indication of the nature of the item, then his "calling" is effective, because, in fact, מעשר עני is שני to מעשר ראשון [even though strictly speaking it isn't מעשר שני].
The Rambam writes [Nedarim 9/18]:
הנודר מן המים הנמשכין ממעין פלוני אסור בכל הנהרות היונקות ממנו ואין צריך לומר הנמשכות אע"פ שנשתנה שמם ואין קורין אותן אלא נהר פלוני ובאר פלוני ואין מלוין אותן לשם המעין הנדור הואיל והוא עיקרן אסור בכל אבל אם נדר מנהר פלוני או ממעין פלוני אין אסור אלא בכל הנהרות הנקראות על שמו:
When a person takes a vow [not to benefit] from the water that flows from this-and-this spring, he is forbidden [to benefit] from all the rivers that derive nurture from it. Needless to say, this refers to those that flow directly from it. Although the name [of the body of water] has changed and it is now called "the So-and-So River" or "the So-and-So well," and we do not associate it at all with the name of the spring concerning which a vow was taken, since it is the source for these bodies of water, he is forbidden to benefit from all of them. If, however, a person takes a vow [not to benefit] from this-and-this river or spring, he is only forbidden [to benefit] from those rivers called by that name.
The Raavad makes a cryptic comment:
א"א עיקרא דהא מלתא בסוף מסכת בכורות בפרק מעשר בהמה דאמרי' לשם המעין נדר.
He gives a mareh makom but doesn't tell us how he differs from the Rambam.
The Rebbi ztz"l explains:
פליגי רבינו והראב"ד אם ר"ל השם שלהם או ר"ל המים הבאים משם ... ונפ"מ בהני מים שבאים לאחר נדרו.
The Rambam and Raavad are arguing whether he is making a neder on the water of the river as it is now or the river that is called by this name. According to the Rambam he is making a neder on a certain reality [מציאות מסויימת], the water the river contains now. The Raavad holds that he is making a neder on the river called by this name. So according to the Raavad, even water that comes into the river afterward will be forbidden because they are now called by name of this river.
There is also an argument about a person who sells his house but explicitly excludes the דיוטא עליונה [literally upper level - meaning roof] from the sale and the roof collapses [Bava Basra 63b]. May he now rebuild where the roof once was? The root of their argument may be whether we follow the reality [מציאות] of the actual roof. Since it is gone he loses his rights. Or maybe we follow the שם of דיוטא עליונה and that is there forever. The שם remains even though the מציאות changed. As Rebbi ztz"l writes:
אם ר"ל עכשיו [does he mean the metzius that exists now] או ר"ל העליונה כמו שיהיה לעולם עליונה שלי [the name "upper level" for all times]
If a person slaughters Reuven's korban todah on behalf of Shimon, Rabbah says that it is valid while Rav Chisda says that it is not. Tosfos explains that according to Rabbah it is valid because it is only considered שינוי בעלים [an act done for the wrong owner] if there is intent for a different owner during the זריקה and not during the שחיטה.
Why would Rav Chisda invalidate the korban? The answer is that this korban carries the name of Reuven and slaughtering it on behalf of Shimon "messes things up". In Rebbi's language, a name
"אינו סימן, רק בעצם הקרבן".
It becomes part of the essence of the korban.
R' Elazar asks [Sanhedrin 16a] how many judges are needed to judge the ox of a Kohen Gadol that killed and must be judged [to be killed], 71 like a Kohen Gadol or 23 like a regular person. In other words, how do we view this ox - does it's name change it's essence and we view it as a "Kohen Gadol's ox" because a person's essence extends to his possessions and it therefore requires the same amount of judges that a Kohen Gadol requires when he is judged? Or do we say that since the מציאות is that the ox is NOT the Kohen Gadol but an ox, and it's name ["Kohen Gadol's ox"] is just a סימן, twenty three judges are enough.
Or how about this machlokes. R' Tarfon says that for lulav we must take כפות תמרים. R' Akiva argues and says כפות תמרים כשמן [Yerushalmi Succah 3/1]. What is their argument?
R' Tarfon says that the lulav must come from a tree that actually bears dates. The name כפות תמרים is describing to us a tree that carries dates. כפות תמרים is a סימן that it has dates. R' Akiva argues and says that the name is essential and characterizes a certain type of tree. It doesn't indicate that the tree bear dates but that this is the species called כפות תמרים.
[עפ"י משנת הרוגוצ'ובי עמ' 122 וע"ע מפענח צפונות עמ' ע"ה-ע"ו]
[This חקירה of רבינו [li-havdil a trillion havdalos] reminds me of the the famous "Who's On First" routine. The confusion there is whether the name is just a name or indicative of a concept.
Here is the script:
(Lou Costello is considering becoming a ballplayer. Bud Abbott wants to make sure he knows what he's getting into.)
Abbott: Strange as it may seem, they give ball players nowadays very peculiar names.
Costello: Funny names?
Abbott: Nicknames, nicknames. Now, on the St. Louis team we have Who's on first, What's on second, I Don't Know is on third--
Costello: That's what I want to find out. I want you to tell me the names of the fellows on the St. Louis team.
Abbott: I'm telling you. Who's on first, What's on second, I Don't Know is on third--
Costello: You know the fellows' names?
Costello: Well, then who's playing first?
Costello: I mean the fellow's name on first base.
Costello: The fellow playin' first base.
Costello: The guy on first base.
Abbott: Who is on first.
Costello: Well, what are you askin' me for?
Abbott: I'm not asking you--I'm telling you. Who is on first.
Costello: I'm asking you--who's on first?
Abbott: That's the man's name.
Costello: That's who's name?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Costello: When you pay off the first baseman every month, who gets the money?
Abbott: Every dollar of it. And why not, the man's entitled to it.
Costello: Who is?
Costello: So who gets it?
Abbott: Why shouldn't he? Sometimes his wife comes down and collects it.
Costello: Who's wife?
Abbott: Yes. After all, the man earns it.
Costello: Who does?
Costello: Well, all I'm trying to find out is what's the guy's name on first base?
Abbott: Oh, no, no. What is on second base.
Costello: I'm not asking you who's on second.
Abbott: Who's on first!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Costello: St. Louis has a good outfield?
Abbott: Oh, absolutely.
Costello: The left fielder's name?
Costello: I don't know, I just thought I'd ask.
Abbott: Well, I just thought I'd tell you.
Costello: Then tell me who's playing left field?
Abbott: Who's playing first.
Costello: Stay out of the infield! The left fielder's name?
Abbott: Oh, he's center field.
Costello: Wait a minute. You got a pitcher on this team?
Abbott: Wouldn't this be a fine team w i t h o u t a pitcher?
Costello: Tell me the pitcher's name.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Costello: Now, when the guy at bat bunts the ball--me being a good catcher--I want to throw the guy out at first base, so I pick up the ball and throw it to who?
Abbott: Now, that's he first thing you've said right.
Costello: I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!
Abbott: Don't get excited. Take it easy.
Costello: I throw the ball to first base, whoever it is grabs the ball, so the guy runs to second. Who picks up the ball and throws it to what. What throws it to I don't know. I don't know throws it back to tomorrow--a triple play.
Abbott: Yeah, it could be.
Costello: Another guy gets up and it's a long ball to center.
Costello: Why? I don't know. And I don't care.
Abbott: What was that?
Costello: I said, I DON'T CARE!
Abbott: Oh, that's our shortstop!]