I understand that it's a common understanding that as part of the mitzvah of respecting one's parents one shouldn't use their first names. See e.g. Can an adopted child call birth parents by first name?

Can anyone point to any halachic sources on this for me? I've often heard it asserted but not seen any rabbinic discussion on it or anything like that.

  • 4
    Hi LangeHaare, and welcome to the site! See if this helps. It is definitely related content. judaism.stackexchange.com/q/13122
    – WAF
    Commented May 25, 2018 at 11:11
  • I believe this is the basis for the idea that we don't marry someone -- particularly a husband -- with the same first name as our parent. Maybe it is also discussed where that concept is discussed
    – SAH
    Commented Jul 11, 2018 at 10:55

2 Answers 2


Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 240:2 (based on a number of earlier sources) says:

אֵיזֶה מוֹרָא, לֹא יַעֲמֹד בִּמְקוֹמוֹ הַמְיֻחָד לוֹ לַעֲמֹד שָׁם בְּסוֹד זְקֵנִים עִם חֲבֵרָיו, אוֹ מָקוֹם הַמְיֻחָד לוֹ לְהִתְפַּלֵּל; וְלֹא יֵשֵׁב בְּמָקוֹם הַמְיֻחָד לוֹ לְהָסֵב בְּבֵיתוֹ; וְלֹא סוֹתֵר אֶת דְּבָרָיו וְלֹא מַכְרִיעַ אֶת דְּבָרָיו בְּפָנָיו, אֲפִלּוּ לוֹמַר נִרְאִין דִּבְרֵי אַבָּא; וְלֹא יִקְרָאֶנּוּ בִּשְׁמוֹ, לֹא בְּחַיָּיו וְלֹא בְּמוֹתוֹ, אֶלָּא אוֹמֵר: אַבָּא מָארִי. הָיָה שֵׁם אָבִיו כְּשֵׁם אֲחֵרִים, מְשַׁנֶּה שְׁמָם, אִם הוּא שֵׁם שֶׁהוּא פִּלְאִי, שֶׁאֵין הַכֹּל רְגִילִים לִקְרוֹת בּוֹ. אֲבָל שֵׁם שֶׁרְגִילִין בּוֹ מֻתָּר לִקְרוֹת אֲחֵרִים שֶׁלֹּא בְּפָנָיו (טוּר).

What is fear? He should not stand in the place designated for him to stand in consultation of the elders with his colleagues, or the place designated for him to pray, nor should he sit in the place designated for him to recline in his home, nor refute his words nor contradict his words in his presence, even to say 'Father's words appear to be,' nor call him by his name, neither in life nor in death, but rather say 'Father, my teacher.' Had his father's name been like the name of others, he changes them... (Sefaria Translation)

For further details, see the commentaries there, as well as links that can be found at the Sefaria link above.


The source of this is a beraisa quoted by the Talmud in Kiddushin 31b:

תנו רבנן חכם משנה שם אביו ושם רבו תורגמן אינו משנה לא שם אביו ולא שם רבו אבוה דמאן אילימא אבוה דמתורגמן אטו תורגמן לאו בר חיובא הוא אלא אמר רבא שם אביו של חכם ושם רבו של חכם כי הא דמר בר רב אשי כי הוה דריש בפירקא איהו אמר אבא מרי ואמוריה אמר הכי אמר רב אשי

Our Rabbis taught: A Sage must change his father's name and his teacher's name, but the interpreter does not change his father's name and his teacher's name. Whose father? Shall we say, the father of the interpreter? — Is then the interpreter not obliged [to honour his parents]? — But, said Raba, [it means] the name of the Sage's father or the name of the Sage's teacher. As when Mar, son of R. Ashi, lectured at the college sessions; he said [to the interpreter]: My father, my teacher [said thus], whereas his interpreter said: Thus did R. Ashi say. (Soncino translation)

This law is formulated by Rambam more explicitly and succinctly in Hilchos Mamrim 6:3.

ולא יקרא לו בשמו לא בחייו ולא במותו אלא אומר אבא מרי

He should not call him by name, neither during his lifetime or after his death. Instead, he should say: "My father and my master." (Chabad.org)

This formulation is repeated by the later codes (e.g. Tur Y.D. 240, Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 240:2, Levush Y.D. 240:2, and Aruch Hashulchan Y.D. 240:14.)

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