Speaking respectfully to one’s parents

Speaking respectfully to one’s parents:[1]

Included in the mitzvah of honoring one’s parents is to speak to them with respect. One is to speak with them in a soft and appeasing tone with true Derech Eretz, as if one is talking to the king. This in fact is the main intent of the command of honoring one’s parents as understood from the simple words of Scripture. It goes without saying that it is forbidden to scream at them.[2]

Speaking to one’s parents in the third person or in Lashon Rabim:[3] There is no need to speak to one’s parents in the third person or in a plural tense, as is commonly done in the Hebrew language when speaking to another person as a sign of respect[4], as the accepted custom is not to be particular in this when speaking to one’s parents.


[1] Sefer Chareidim Asei 12:4-1 “One is obligated to honor them with his speech to speak to them in a soft and gentle tone like one who is speaking to a king”; Meiri Kiddushin 31a; See Mechilta Yisro who learns the command of honoring one’s parents to initially be referring to honoring them in speech; Bamidbar Raba 14 that Naftali spoke with his father in a most appeasing and gentle tone; Igros Kodesh Rayatz 13:505 “Honoring one’s parents is dependent to a certain degree also on the form of speech and therefore when speaking with one’s parents it must be in a very gentle manner and with true Derech Eretz, even if one’s final response to them must be an emphatic no [for a request they make which one is not obligated to listen to]”;

[2] Meiri 32a

[3] Chasam Sofer in Toras Moshe Parshas Toldos in the name of his teacher Rav Nasan Adler that is only the Gentiles who come from Esav who are distanced from their parents who need to speak to them in the third person terminology, however Yaakov and the Jewish people who are close with their parents may speak to them directly; Aruch Hashulchan 242:38

[4] See Taz 242:14 that so should be spoken to one’s Rebbe

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