Saying the name of one’s parent

Saying the name of one’s parent:[1]

Calling them, or referring to them, by their name:[2]

It is forbidden to call one’s parent [father or mother[3]] by their name.[4] This applies whether they are alive, and even after their death. [This applies even not in their presence, and even if they have a common name.[5]] Rather one is to say “Avi Mori/My father my teacher” [or Imi Morasi/My mother my teacher[6]]. [Despite this ruling, we find in scripture and Talmud instances where sons called their father by their first name, although adding the term Aba to the name.[7] Accordingly, some Poskim[8] conclude that it is permitted to mention the name of one’s father so long as he adds an honorable title to the name. Likewise, it is only an obligation to mention the term Aba Mori when saying a Torah teaching in the name of the parent, however, regarding mundane matters, it is permitted to say the name of the father so long as one mentions the term Aba, my father.[9] It makes no difference whether one first says the term Aba and then says the name, or first says the name and then the term Aba.[10] From other Poskim[11] however it is evident that one may only mention one’s father’s name, even with an honorary title, if it is a time of need. In addition, from other Poskim[12] it is evident that one may never call his father by his name in the presence of his father, even if an honorary title is added. Practically, the custom is to avoid mentioning one’s parents name even with an honorary title, even not in his presence, unless one is asked his name, and the like, as explained in the Q&A.]

 Summary:

It is for]f the person. [Even one who is praying for his father is to mention his father’s name rather than simply say my father.[18] There is no need to mention the term “my father” when saying the name.[19] Other Poskim[20] however rule one may say my father, although he is not to mention any title prefix [i.e. honorifics] to his name, such as “my master or teacher” and the like, as there is no prestige before G-d.]

Writing one’s parents name:[21]

It is permitted to write the name of one’s parent, so long as one prefaces it, or concludes it, with an honorary title, such as my Rebbe, or my father or mother. When signing one’s name [on a Kesuba or other document in which we write the first name and the name of the father], there is no need to write any preface to his father’s name, and one may simply write Plony Ben Plony. Nonetheless, some are meticulous and write Plony Ben Leadoni Avi Ploni.”[22]

Calling another person who shares the same name:

Calling someone else that has the same name in the presence of the parent:[23] If there is a person who shares the same name as one’s parent in the same room as one’s parent, then one may not call that person by his name.[24] This applies whether the name is a common name or a rare name.[25] [Some Poskim[26] however rule that it is permitted to call another person by a common name even in the presence of a parent who has the same name. Some Poskim[27] conclude that so is the custom today, as one’s parent forgives his honor.]

Calling someone else that has the same name not in the presence of the parent:[28] If there is a person who shares the same name as one’s parent, then when one is not in the presence of the parent[29], one may call that person by their name, if the name is a common name.[30] However, if one’s fathers name is a very rare name which people are not accustomed to, then one may not call someone else by that name, and is rather to change their name.[31] [This applies even when not in the presence of the parent.[32] However, some Poskim[33] rule it is permitted to call a person by even an uncommon name, when he is not in the presence of the parent who shares the same name.]

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[1] Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 240/4

[2] Michaber Y.D. 240/2; Tur 240; Rambam Mamarim 6; Kiddushin 31b

[3] Ben Ish Chaiy Shoftim 2/4

[4] The reason: This is due to the obligation to fear one’s parents. [Michaber ibid; See however Minchas Chinuch Mitzvah 33]

[5] Taz 240/4; Aruch Hashulchan 240/14

[6] Nussach in Birchas Hamazon

[7] In scripture we find that Yaakov said “Visheim Avosaiy Avraham, ViYitzchak” [ Bereishis 48:16] and Shlomo said “Dovid my father” ; Gittin 14b: Reb Dustaiy said “If the Nehardean would have killed Dustaiy, who would leave Yanai my father a person like me?; Pesachim 112a: Rashbi said “I say to Yochaiy my father”; Bava Basra 56a: Rebbe Yossi said “Even if my father Chalafta is amongst them”

[8] Rama 242/14 regarding one’s Rebbe; Yad Avraham 242; Aruch Hashulchan 240/14; Ben Ish Chaiy Shoftim 2/4-5; Yosef Ometz 87; Yabia Omer Y.D. 2/15

[9] Aruch Hashulchan 240/15; Ben Ish Chaiy Shoftim 2/5 concludes that from the letter of the law it is permitted to mention the name of the father with the addition of Aba, and there is no obligation to say Mori. However, since this has become the widespread custom, it is therefore proper to be careful in this and say Reb Ploni or Mori Ploni.

The reason: As also the term Aba is an honorary title. [Ben Ish Chaiy Shoftim 2/5]

[10] Ben Ish Chaiy ibid in name of Chida

[11] Rashal in Yam Shel Shlomo Kiddushin 65; Pischeiy Teshuvah 240/2

[12] Shach 242/24 regarding a Rebbe; See however Pischeiy Teshuvah 242/10 in name of Regel yeshara and Likkutei Peri Chadash who permits even in front of him

[13] Rashal in Yam Shel Shlomo Kiddushin 65; Pischeiy Teshuvah 240/2; Aruch Hashulchan 240/14; Ben Ish Chaiy Shoftim 2/4

[14] Pischeiy Teshuvah ibid; Ben Ish Chaiy ibid “Aba Mari Plony or Mor Avi Plony”

[15] Aruch Hashulchan 240/14 based on many sources in Talmud ibid; Ben Ish Chaiy Shoftim 2/5 concludes that from the letter of the law it is permitted to mention the name of the father with the addition of Aba, and there is no obligation to say Mori. However, since this has become the widespread custom, it is therefore proper to be careful in this.

[16] Yabia Omer Y.D. 2/15; However see Ben Ish Chaiy ibid 2/5 from whom it is evident that only in writing may one say Ben Plony and not in speech

[17] Admur 119/3; M”A 119/1; See Brachos 34a

[18] Kneses Hagedola Y.D. 240 in name of Sefer Chassidim; Rav Akiva Eiger; Kaf Hachaim 119/6; Ben Ish Chaiy Shoftim 2/5

[19] Ben Ish Chaiy ibid

[20] Maavor Yabok Mamar Sifsei Tzedek 8, brought in Chida Shiyurei Bracha Y.D. 335

[21] Rashal in Yam Shel Shlomo Kiddushin 65; Ruach Chaim Y.D. 240/2; Ben Ish Chaiy Shoftim 2/5

[22] Ben Ish Chaiy Shoftim 2/5; However from Rashal ibid and Ruach Chaim ibid it is implied that one must write an honorary title

[23] Rama ibid; Taz ibid

[24] Rama 240/2 “However a common name may be called not in front of him”; Taz 240/5; Rambam

[25] The reason: This applies whether the father’s name is rare or common, as one’s parent and the other person may think that the child is calling on the parent. [Taz ibid]

[26] Derisha 240; Shach 240/3; Taz ibid negates this opinion

[27] Chayeh Adam 67/8

[28] Michaber and Rama ibid

[29] Rama ibid; Taz ibid, unlike Shach and Derisha ibid

[30] Rama ibid; Rambam ibid

[31] Michaber ibid; Rambam ibid

[32] Implication of Rama ibid; Taz ibid

[33] Derisha 240; Shach 240/3; Taz ibid negates this opinion

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