It's a custom similar to the changing of one's name - Comment - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper
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    • Jacob Blues
    • 20.10.09 | 22:54 (IST)

    the latter being a more common, though still relatively rare practice (the idea that the angel of death can be confused by altering the name of one who's health is in an extreme situation). Indeed, do we not ask for God's intervention in healing the sick with the Mischibearach prayer? There is a tradition of offering up a portion of one's life to someone considered a tzaddik, again, something done only in rare circumstances, and usually in the form of lesser amounts (day's or weeks rather than one year). The old joke goes, as Jews were lining up to offer time of their lives to help their ailing rebbe, one man came to the fore, offering 10 years. When told such a personal sacrifice was too great, the man replied that he was offering 10 years of his mother in law's life, not his.

    from the article: Haredi urges: Give a year of your lives to save ailing rabbi
    First published 19:31 19.10.09 | Last updated 20:11 19.10.09
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