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The Shulchan Arukh (YD 240:2) rules that one is never allowed to contradict one's father in his presence, and that when it comes to one's rav (or one's father if he is a Torah scholar; YD 242:1-2), disagreeing with him is like disagreeing with the shekhinah itself. Formulations of a similar nature are found in a number of texts, and lead me to wonder: in the event that one's rav or one's father is leyning from the Torah and makes a mistake, is one always permitted to publicly correct him, or are there situations in which it is better to let him continue?

By way of an example, if he were to make a mistake in his leyning of Parshat Va'etchanan, mispronouncing one of the words in Devarim 6:4-9, should one correct him? Note that doing so would also indicate that he habitually mispronounces the words in his daily recitation of Shema, which may be tantamount to declaring publicly and in his presence that he has never fulfilled that particular mitzva.

  • Not an answer: my father is makpid that whomever gabbais correct him if he makes a mistake, even if it's me or my brother. I would make this an answer if there were a source other than personal experience. – Noach MiFrankfurt Feb 20 '15 at 3:01
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    @noa it may be different if he permits it as he can be mochel on his kavod – Double AA Feb 20 '15 at 3:06
  • Regarding correcting one's parent or rav in general, one could follow the Rambam (Hil. Mamrim 6:11, based on Kiddushin 32a) and phrase the correction as a question. Perhaps the analogue in correcting Torah reading would be to intonate the correction as if it is a question. If the corrections would be frequent, or on a section of the Torah that people are expected to know well, then perhaps that adds another layer of complication due to possible embarrassment. Then again, if they are glaring mistakes that everyone else notices anyway, perhaps correcting them would not add embarrassment. – Fred Feb 20 '15 at 3:13
  • ...unless the issue is the unpleasantness felt by being corrected, in which case that might be problematic even for glaring mistakes. – Fred Feb 20 '15 at 3:21
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    You start by saying how terrible it is to contradict one's father and then ask "is one always permitted to publicly correct him". Seems like a more reasonable question after that build-up would be "is one ever permitted...". – msh210 Feb 20 '15 at 7:32
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The Rivevos Ephraim 6:33:3 deals with this exact question. He writes that the reason its assur to correct ones father in general is because it will embarrass him. The question is does this apply to layning and davening. He writes that it seems there is room to say that it is true that the father will be embarrassed but nevertheless he rather be mochel and corrected than allow a bracha levatala to happen(meaning the oleh will say an after bracha on a leining which isn't good). However, the matter needs more inspection since it is prevalent to scream out and correct a mistake of the baal koreh and its embarrassing to the bal teffilah(koreh).A way to circumvent the problem is for the son to tell another congregant to correct his father. However,the Rivevos Ephraim is hesitant because many times the bal koreh is very close to the end of the aliyah and by the time the son relates the message a bracha levatalah may be made. He seems to end off by not giving a direct psak and wants to see what other Achronim have to say.

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I once saw a Rav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach that says if a parent tells you go against halacha and the only way to fulfill that halacha is to go against him/her it would be mutar but in a case where it's possible to fulfill it in another way it would then be asur.

(Rav Shlomo Zalman brings a case by Purim if a parent tells you not to drink you can't drink since there is another way to fulfill that mitzva i.e.: drink then go to sleep, ayin rama.)

(By the way a Rav isn't allowed to be mochel on his kaavod.)

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    Welcome to Mi Yodeya! Do you think you could edit this answer to explain how this ruling of RSZ"A would apply to the case of leyning described in the quesiton? Please consider registering your account, which will give you access to more of the site's features. While you're at it, I suggest that you edit your profile and give yourself a name! – Isaac Moses Apr 16 '15 at 18:52
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    "a rav isnt allowed to be mochel on his kaavod" Source? The Shulchan Arukh seems to rule it's allowed (YD 242:32) – Double AA Apr 16 '15 at 18:54
  • @DoubleAA Though possibly more relevant would be the remark of the Rama that it is still forbidden to disgrace one's rav (the Gra understands this to mean even if he is mochel on his kavod). – Fred Dec 2 '15 at 7:23

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