During a recent shiur that he delivered in Cholon, Rav Yitzchok Zilberstein, rov of Ramat Elchonon, shared the following shailah that was presented to his brother-in-law, Rav Chaim Kanievsky.
A man who was not blessed with offspring for five years went to daven at the kever of Rav Shimon bar Yochai, where he vowed, “If my wife gives birth to a son, I will name him Shimon.”
Sometime later, amidst great joy, the couple celebrated the birth of a son. The father intended to fulfill his vow, but his wife insisted that the child be called Yechezkel, the name of a tzaddik with whom the family had been close. The couple failed to reach common ground, and, at the bris, while reciting the krias sheim, the husband announced the baby’s name as Shimon.
After the bris, the avi haben’s father-in-law approached him and said, “What you have done is against the halachah, which says that the naming of a baby goes to the mother. I forbid you from crossing the threshold of my home until you make a change to the name of the child.”
The confused father went to Rav Zilberstein with this quandary.
“Even if you’re right, you’re not smart,” Rav Zilberstein admonished the man, directing him to present the question to his brother-in-law, Rav Chaim Kaneivsky.
Rav Chaim’s answer surprised some. “Change the name to Yechezkel,” he ruled decisively.
And what about the vow of the father to name his son Shimon?
“You already fulfilled your neder by naming him Simon,” said Rav Chaim. “You did not promise for how long he will be named that way. So now that you already named him that, change the name to the one your wife desires, Yechezkel. Once you have kept your neder, you may change the name for the sake of shalom bayis.”
David Steger – Matzav.com Israel