We are told in strong terms:

He who humiliates another in public, it is as though he were spilling blood. [Bava Metzia 58b]

Now, if, while asking a question, someone mispronounces a word, do you, in answering, have to also mispronounce that word? (It would reflect badly on you.)

  • You can correct people without embarrassing them.
    – N.T.
    Mar 5, 2023 at 10:40
  • You could say "I am sorry, but it seems you mispronounced that word, it does not matter". - this would not harm the person, in most cases. Therefore, the definition of shaming would need to be found out.
    – Shmuel
    Mar 5, 2023 at 11:20

1 Answer 1


There's a famous story of Rav Akiva Eiger. At a Shabbat meal, a guest spilled a drink, and in a feat of incredible reactions, the Rav kneed the table and made it shake, feigning like he had tripped or something, so it seemed like it was his fault the drink spilled.

Embarrassing oneself for the sake of preventing someone else being embarrassed, if that's the only solution, does seem to be generally considered a praiseworthy thing to do. This kind of question is very context based though, it might not cause embarrassment to use the word correctly in many cases, and they might be grateful for being subtly corrected, but one has to develop wisdom in judging these things, and, just like the amazing reactions of Rav Akiva Eiger, it takes a lot of gadlus to get these subtleties of bein adam lechavero right.

May Hashem help, and have mercy.

  • If someone could find a source for this beautiful story out would be appreciated, kol tuv.
    – BID
    Mar 5, 2023 at 4:41
  • Wonderful story, I looked for the source but could not find it. Where did you hear this?
    – Shmuel
    Mar 5, 2023 at 10:30
  • 1
    @Shmuel in yeshiva, it's probably in one of the Impact books by R Dovid Kaplan
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Mar 5, 2023 at 10:37
  • 2
    The story is about Rav Akiva Eiger.
    – N.T.
    Mar 5, 2023 at 10:39

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