Many men, when going up for an aliya, tell the gabbai their name as, e.g. "Reuven ben Rav Yaakov", even if "Yaakov," the father, isn't actually a Rabbi." I believe the reason for this practice is to honor the father by not saying his name without an honorific.

Is there an honorific that's used commonly when referring to one's mother? For example, if Reuven was to ask the gabbai to mention his brother in a "Mi Shebeirach", in which one traditionally identifies the patient with his/her mother, how should he say the name? "Shim'on ben Giveret Leah"? "... Imi (my mother) Leah"?

Happy Mothers' Day!

  • 1
    I've seen the custom to use the honorific "Reb", which is used for a non-rabbi, but using the title "Rav" where that person doesn't have Semicha seems problematic to me. Having said that, I have come accross this practice in Charedi yeshivot, where not having semicha is the exception rather than the rule.
    – Meir
    May 10, 2011 at 21:44
  • @Meir I have often heard Chassidim add even more; "Moreinu HaRav" for regular people!
    – Adám
    Jan 6, 2014 at 19:21
  • @Meir See also judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/18644/….
    – Adám
    Jan 6, 2014 at 19:27

2 Answers 2


"Ha-isha" (האשה) is a title of respect that has the advantage of sounding perfectly natural.

  • 2
    My Rav would use that title.
    – YDK
    May 8, 2011 at 17:42
  • Agreed. I'd translate it as "The Lady"
    – Meir
    May 10, 2011 at 21:40

I don't know how honorifics work with regards to Mi SheBerachs, but my impression is that the traditional honorific for a woman is marat.

  • If I'm not mistaken, "giveret" is a modern Hebrew transposition (some would say mutilation) of "gever."
    – Dave
    May 8, 2011 at 15:49
  • On both my great-grandmother's headstone and her memorial plaque in the shul, her name is preceeded with "marat". She passed away in 1940 and the headstone and plaque are from that era. One more comment, her headstone also contains the word "ha-isha" before her name.
    – Dennis
    Jun 30, 2014 at 17:45

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .