Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mentioning a Father's Name

Subscribe to the Daily Daf Yomi Summary here.

The Gemora cites a braisa: Rabbi Yosi said: When my father, Chalafta, went to Rabbi Yochanan ben Nuri to study Torah, or, as others recorded: When Rabbi Yochanan ben Nuri went to study Torah by my father, Chalafta, he said to him: Suppose a man occupied a piece of land for one year as testified by two witnesses, for a second year as testified by two other witnesses, and for a third year as testified by still two other witnesses (totaling three years, constituting a chazakah), what is the halachah? He replied: This is a proper chazakah. He said to him: I also say like that, but Rabbi Akiva disagrees, for Rabbi Akiva used to say: When the Torah said (regarding witnesses testimony), “a matter,” it means that they must testify regarding a complete matter, and not about half a matter.

Rashi in Shabbos (115a) explains that Chalafta was the name of Rabbi Yosi’s father. Reb Akiva Eiger asks: If so, how was Rabbi Yosi permitted to mention the name of his father? It is explicitly ruled in Shulchan Aruch (Y”D 240:2) that one is forbidden from mentioning his father’s name, during his lifetime and after his death as well!?

He quotes an answer from his son, Reb Shlomo: It emerges from Rashi in Sanhedrin (100a) that if a title of honor precedes the mentioning of one’s father’s name, it is permitted. Since “Abba” is a title of honor, Rabbi Yosi was permitted to say “Abba Chalafta.”

The following is the explanation of the proof: Rabbi Yochanan said: Geichazi was punished for calling Elisha, his Rebbe, by his name. Rashi writes: He did not say, “My teacher, my master, So-and-So.” Evidently, one is permitted to mention his Rebbe’s name if he says, “My teacher, my master” first. Accordingly, Reb Shlomo derived from here that the same would be true regarding one’s father. A son would be permitted to mention his father’s name if he mentions a title of honor before the name. Reb Akiva Eiger agreed to this logic.

Reb Shlomo, in his teshuvos, adds that the honor that one must give to his teacher is greater than the honor he must provide to his father, for his teacher leads him to the World to Come. So if it is permitted to call one’s teacher by his name when it is preceded by a title of honor, it is most certainly permitted to call one’s father by his name if it is preceded by a title of honor.

He also rules that although Rashi said that Geichazi did not say, “My teacher, my master,” it is not necessary to say both, “teacher and master.” One of them would be sufficient.


josh waxman said...

fascinating! although i wonder how the honorific can fix it. this is all based on a brayta gemara in Kiddushin 31a, in which we see that Mar bar Rav Ashi only referred to Abba Mari, while the meturgeman referred to Rav Ashi. If an honorific would make it acceptable, Mar bar Rav Ashi could have simply said "Rav Ashi".

I cite your post, and discuss this here: