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I know a man who when addressing his wife calls her [for example] Mrs Doe as opposed to 'Jane' or 'Honey' [he does this when he is home too]. This person is very religious and what some might call 'Chareidi', I was wondering if it had anything to do with religion or if maybe it's just a 'thing'.

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    There's a tradition to not call your mother by her name out of respect, but this is the first I've heard for a wife. – ShamanSTK Jan 28 '16 at 3:18
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    I observed that R. Berish Shapiro, the Naroler Rav of Brooklyn (now, I guess, the Naroler Rav, since his father passed away several years ago), never called his wife by her first name in my hearing. But I have no reason to think he avoided doing so in private. Note also that quite a few religious-right publications (or pieces in them) have their authorship attributed to a first initial and a last name. – msh210 Jan 28 '16 at 4:23
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    I know a guy who calls his wife "Mommy." I think he does this even when his kids aren't around. Also his kids are grown-up. – Daniel Jan 28 '16 at 15:14
  • @Daniel We never met. But besides having the same 1st name, it's a bit too co-incidental that you mention something that I do often. I usually call my wife "Mom". Besides out of respect and admiration to her "role", I developed it as a habit myself as I didn't want to confuse my kids and have them accidentally call their mother by her 1st name. My wife also calls me "Abba". So, I think the idea goes for wives not using their husbands' first names. It's a good practice, I think. – DanF Jan 28 '16 at 15:32
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In Mas. Shabbos on daf 118b it says: Reb Yossi never called his wife "wife". He called her "my house". From this gemora I think it's the minhag not to call the wife by her name.

אמר רבי יוסי: מימי לא קריתי לאשתי אשתי ולשורי שורי אלא לאשתי ביתי ולשורי שדי

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    So why call her Mrs. Doe instead of My House? (Rashi: אשתי ביתי. שהיא עיקר של בית) – Danny Schoemann Jan 28 '16 at 14:36
  • doesnt say why he did this or whether it is recommended for others – michael Jan 28 '16 at 14:44
  • I don't see how this Gemara is at all related to not calling your wife by her first name. And certainly doesn't directly relate to what you call her in private. – Chaim Jan 28 '16 at 15:05
  • @Danny if they would've had last names, Reb Yosi might have called her by that title. IIRC Maharil called his wife 'my house wife'. – user6591 Jan 28 '16 at 15:06
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    I understood it to mean that that whenever referring to his wife he would say 'my house' – DonCorleone Jan 28 '16 at 22:44
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נטעי גבריאל, in הלכות נשואין, volume 2, chapter 118, section 8, footnote 11, cites the מהרי״ל‬ (biographical information):

שכשהיה קורא לאשתו אמר בלשון‬ ‫אשכנז הער״ט איר ניט כדרך העולם שהזיווגים אין מזכירין שמותיהן‬ ‫כשקורין זה את זו או זו את זה‬

Or, in my own translation with help from Gershon Gold:

When he would call his wife, he'd say in German[1] "Did you not hear", in accordance with the way the world acts, that couples calling one another don't mention one another's names.


[1] actually some dialect of what we now call Early New High German, I suppose

  • הער״ט איר ניט [herrt irr nitt] is normal Yiddish today, although נישט [nisht] is supplanting ניט [nitt] west of the Atlantic. – Adám Feb 23 '16 at 19:31

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