I heard a halacha a long time ago that men are not allowed to use the first name of a married woman who is not their wife. The suggestion I heard was to refer to her as Mrs. So-and-so.

Does anyone know the source for this, and if there is one, I've rarely noticed it followed and I wonder if it applies? If not, why not?

  • 1
    A lot of it is tznius-related and is dependent on the religious "norms" of the community. In places like Stamford Hill (an ultra-orthodox / chassidish suburb, similar to Williamsburg) in the UK, this is very commonplace. I similarly once saw a teshuva that one should refer to his wife when talking to another man as his "Rebbetzen" as to use the term "wife" may hint to the fact that he has an intimate connection with her(!)
    – Dov
    Commented Jan 23, 2023 at 11:19
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    ויאמרו אליו איה שרה אשתך
    – Heshy
    Commented Jan 23, 2023 at 11:38
  • @Heshy sefaria.org/Bava_Metzia.87a.7. Hard to learn lessons from Hashem/angels though. If so, should we practice midda k'negged midda (see judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/132198/… and answer if you know?)? I have the same issue with learning about lying for the sake of shalom that we learn from Hashem in the very same story. It's hard to know if our lie will have the positive consequence we hope it will have, but Hashem doesn't suffer from that uncertainty
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Jan 23, 2023 at 11:59
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    We're explicitly supposed to learn lessons from them. לָמַדְנוּ שֶׁיִּשְׁאַל אָדָם בְּאַכְסַנְיָא שֶׁלּוֹ לָאִישׁ עַל הָאִשָּׁה וְלָאִשָּׁה עַל הָאִישׁ.
    – Heshy
    Commented Jan 23, 2023 at 12:06
  • I know, I just find it hard to fathom @Heshy. Maybe something sensible and lacking obvious kashes like this, especially when we have a mesora that we are supposed to learn from this. As a general rule? Certain cases too I find very hard, like the lying thing. I am actually thinking of posting it as a separate question
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Jan 23, 2023 at 12:11

3 Answers 3


Ben Yehoyada Sotah 2a Igra D’Kallah, Lech Lecha 17:15 Taz, EH 21; Igra D’Kallah, Bereishis 17:15; Gur Aryeh, Vayikra 1:1; Levushah Shel Torah ch. 81

  • thank you and welcome to MY! Please check out the site tour if you haven't already: judaism.stackexchange.com/tour. Which masechta for BY?
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Jan 31, 2023 at 21:32
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    What do these sources say?
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 31, 2023 at 21:35
  • @RabbiKaii Sotah Commented Jan 31, 2023 at 22:37
  • @DoubleAA The first one, the Ben Yehoyada asks; Why does the Gemarah in Sotah mention the Mans name (Ploni) but not the womans name (BAS Ploni). He answers because when a womans name is said, Mazeikan and Sheidim go after her. Commented Jan 31, 2023 at 22:47
  • Welcome to MiYodeya Lanied and thanks for this first answer. Since MY is different from other sites you might be used to, see here for a guide which might help understand the site. Ideally you'd summarize the key messages of these sources either individually or collectively. Great to have you learn with us!
    – mbloch
    Commented Feb 1, 2023 at 4:25

There is no such halocho in Shu"A.

The closest we get is where it is forbidden to ask after a lady's wellbeing some say it is OK when opening a letter to her family. There the Taz says not to use her explicit name

אבל מותר לשאול לבעלה כתב רש״ל ולפ״ז נהנו היתר באגרת שלומים שלנו שפורשים בו האשה ואעפי״כ נהגו להחמיר שלא להזכירה בשמה עכ״ל וכתב מו״ח ז״ל היינו שבתחילת האגרת כותבין ולאשתך כו׳ אבל לבסוף האגרת שרגילין לכתוב ותאמר שלום לפלוני אסור לכתוב ותאמר שלום לזוגתך דהיינו שולח לה ע״י בעלה שאלת שלום דאסור ונ״ל דכ״ז הוא מצד שמראה אהבה בדרישת שלום אבל אם יש צורך כגון שלא היתה בקו הבריאה או כיוצא בזה מותר לכתוב תודיעני משלום אשתך.

Many poskim say that for hilchus הרחקת מן העריות & איסור יחוד we must increase the boundaries nowadays as the world becomes more immoral. Whether increasing our safety net goes as far as to say that even when not asking after her wellbeing albeit directly to her rather than via her husband is a call that a posek can make.

Obviously, if you find using her first name breaks a little too much ice beween you, then it goes without saying that it is forbidden.

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    That is probably where the Aruch Hashulchan I quoted above got it from Commented Jan 23, 2023 at 12:31

I would suggest seeing the Aruch Hashulchan (I don't know his source off hand)
The quote from the Halacha seems like it is in halacha 8:

ערוך השולחן אבן העזר כ"א

ולשאול לאחר מה שלום אשה פלונית, י"א דגם זה רק ע"י בעלה שרי ולא ע"י אחר [חמ"ח], ויש מתירין

I think that the idea of using a first name is avoided based on this
He also writes later:

ועקרי העניינים האלה תלוי הכל לפי דעת ויראת שמים

This goes via logic and how much fear of Heaven one has

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