Michael’s Hebrew name is Menachem Mendel Baruch.
He is occasionally called to explain his Ukrainian Jewish heritage when people wonder why he has a “Chinese” or “Korean” name (see “Mr Lee”)
Mr. Lee’s surname in this case is a shortened version of a Ukrainain Jewish name, truncated by careless pre-conscious unwoke government officials on Ellis Island sometime around the turn of the 20th century. In other words, an immigrant-unfriendly guillotining of a Slavic Levite reversioning…
So Mr. Lee is a Levite, meaning that, like Archangel Michael, who is second to God, his ancestors were second to the elite Kohanim (Rabbis, teachers). The servants of the leaders. They were advisors, temple musicians and guards.
Now, the surname Lee, derived from some Slavic/Ukrainian form of a Levite name, has nothing to do with Michael’s HEBREW name, which was invented by his parents named to honor deceased relatives.
What is controversial and also exciting about the choice of Menachem Mendel is that it is identical to the Hebrew names of the Lyubavich Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson….considered by many the greatest Jewish figure of the 20th century, and by somewhat fewer as one of the great human beings of the 20th century of any religion or background.
So to sum it up: to religious Jews, Michael’s Hebrew name is very intriguing. And he can’t explain it, because it is total chance. His parents disavow any intention or even knowledge of the Rebbe.
If you, too, have something interesting to share about your name, please do write us about it.