Chazal in a few places (Pesachim 56a and Bereishis Rabbah 98:3 for example) say that Yaakov asked his twelve sons if any of them had turned rotten, or had a lapse in faith. They responded שמע ישראל השם אלקינו השם אחד, Hear O Israel, Hashem is our G-d, Hashem is One!

Rashi in Pesachim clarifies they were referring to their father when they said Israel.

According to Kiddushin 32b, ruled by Rambam in Hilchos Mamrim 6:3, it is forbidden to refer to one's father by name. How were they able to do so in this instance? (I'm assuming they kept halacha).

Maybe one could argue there was no problem calling Yaakov by Israel, but I'd like an explanation or proof/source why.


1 Answer 1


Ohr HaYashar to Hilkhot Mamrim (6:3) points this out, but doesn't seem to answer.

Daf Al Hadaf to Pesahim (56a) quotes several answers: the Sefer Merafsin Igra (page 233) is cited as suggesting that in reality the sons added honorifics to his name that are omitted by the verse.

Alternatively, it suggests on the basis of Berakhot (4a) that an inherently flattering name may be used without appellations. The name Yisrael is flattering, alluding to his overcoming various forces.

Like the first explanation, This commentator (I can't read the name from this resolution. Will update from a hard copy) explains that they reffered to "our father Yisrael". He supports this with Targum Pseudo-Jonathan's wording:

וַאֲמָרוּ לֵיהּ שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל אָבוּנָן יְיָ אֱ-לָהָנָא

They said to him: Listen Yisrael, our father, God is our Lord...

See also Sdei Hemed (Vol. III: Kaf: Klal 104; pg. 122).


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