- Question: [Sunday, 14th 5783]
My son recently got engaged to a girl whose name is Rachel. Now, my wife, the Chasan’s mother, is also called Rachel. [She has two names but is only called by her first name Rachel.] What should my son, and other children, do regarding saying her name in the presence of my wife, which is their mother. I heard that there is a prohibition against saying the name of one’s mother in her presence even if one is referring to someone else.
The custom today is to be lenient in this matter and hence from the letter of the law your children may call your future daughter-in-law by her name even in the presence of your wife. Nonetheless, in order to follow all approaches, it is suggested for your wife, who is their mother, to explicitly forgive her honor in this matter, and allow for her son and other children to say her name in her presence. Another alternative, in order to suspect for all opinions, is for a nickname to be used when mentioning her in your wife’s presence, such as to call her Racheili, instead of Rachel. Discuss this over with your wife and come to an agreeable solution.
Explanation: Included in the command to fear one’s parents, is a prohibition against calling one’s parent by their name. Now, regarding saying the name of another person who has the same name as one’s parent, the Poskim debate the status of differentiation between a common name versus an uncommon name, and one who is in the presence of the parent versus one who is not in their presence. Practically, the Rama and Taz take the stringent approach and rule that in the presence of one’s parent one may never call another person by the same name as one’s parents, whether the name is common or rare, and hence according to this approach, your children may not call your future daughter in-law by her name in the presence of your wife. However, most Poskim are lenient in this matter and rule that by a common name, such as Rachel, it is permitted to call another person by a common name even in the presence of a parent who has the same name, and so is the custom. Practically, the suggestive approach in order to follow all opinions is for the parent to explicitly forgive their honor in this matter, or for the children to change her name when calling for her in their mother’s presence. To note, that we have not entered here into the discussion of the regulation of Rav Yehuda Hachassid against marrying a girl who has the same name as his mother, as in this case the mother has two names while the soon to be daughter-in-law only has one, and hence the Poskim conclude that there is no issue in him marrying her. Nonetheless, this only applies if your wife truly also goes by her second name, such as she is called by this name on occasion or uses it to sign, however, if the name has become forgotten [i.e. Nishtakeia], then a new name should be added to either your wife or future daughter in-law.
Sources: Pesakim Uteshuvos 240:10-12 See regarding the general prohibition against calling one’s parent by their name: Michaber Y.D. 240:2; Tur 240; Rambam Mamarim 6; Kiddushin 31b; Taz 240:4; Aruch Hashulchan 240:14; Ben Ish Chaiy Shoftim 2:4; See regarding if this prohibition applies when referring to another person and in the presence of the parent: Michaber Y.D. 240:2; Stringent: Rama 240:2 “However a common name may be called not in front of him”; Taz 240:5; Tur 240; Rambam Mamrim 6:3; Ben Ish Chaiy Shoftim 2:5; Yalkut Meiam Loez Shemos 20:12; Lenient: Shach 240:3; Derisha 240; Beir Sheva Horiyos, brought in Hagahos Rav Akiva Eiger; Chayeh Adam 67:8; Shut Haravaz E.H. 20; Yad Shaul 240:4; Zekan Aaaron 2:60; Chakal Yitzchak 62; Igros Moshe Y.D. 1:133; Taz ibid negates this opinion; See regarding the warning of Rav Yehuda Hachassid against marrying a person who has the same name as one’s parent: Tzavaas Rebbe Yehuda Hachassid 26, 27; Mishnas Chassidim Miseches Chasuna 1:8; Pischeiy Teshuvah Y.D. 116:6; E.H. 2:7; 50:14; Chochmas Adam 123:13; Tzemach Tzedek E.H. 143 and Piskeiy Dinim Y.D. 116 that the Alter Rebbe was very stringent with this Tzavah; Kitzur SHU”A 145:8; Yosef Ometz 37:3; Zechor Leavraham 3:190; Hieshiv Moshe 69; Avnei Tzedek E.H. 4; Yifei Laleiv 4 E.H. 62:11; Peri Sadeh 1:69; Divrei Chaim E.H. 8; Shemiras Hanefesh 86; Kaf Hachaim Y.D. 116:125; Imreiy Yaakov 10 Likkutim 8; Sefer Shemiras Haguf Vihanefesh [Lerner] 169:1-21; Nitei Gavriel Shidduchin 13-19; Shulchan Menachem 6:133-141
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