DailyHalacha.com for Mobile Devices Now Available

Select Halacha by date:

Or by subject:

Or by keyword:
Search titles and keywords only
Search All    

Weekly Perasha Insights
Shabbat Morning Derasha on the Parasha
Register To Receive The Daily Halacha By Email / Unsubscribe
Daily Parasha Insights via Live Teleconference
Syrian Sephardic Wedding Guide
Download Special Tefilot
A Glossary Of Terms Frequently Referred To In The Daily Halachot
About The Sources Frequently Quoted In The Halachot
About Rabbi Eli Mansour
Purchase Passover Haggadah with In Depth Insights by Rabbi Eli Mansour and Rabbi David Sutton
About DailyHalacha.Com
Contact us
Useful Links
Refund/Privacy Policy
Back to Home Page

Click Here to Sponsor Daily Halacha
"Delivered to Over 6000 Registered Recipients Each Day"

      
(File size: 976 KB)
(File size:999 KB)
Calling Somebody by a Derogatory Nickname

In numerous works of Halacha and Musar (ethics), the Rabbis emphasize the gravity of the sin of "Mechaneh Sheim Ra Le'chaveiro," calling a person by a derogatory nickname. The work "Orchot Chayim Le'Ha'Rosh" (Yom Shishi, 117) writes that a person who uses a derogatory nickname in reference to his fellow forfeits his share in the World to Come. Likewise, the Rambam (Rabbi Moshe Ben Maimon, Spain-Egypt, 1135-1204), in his Hilchot Teshuva (3:12), lists this sin among those transgressions on account of which habitual violators lose their share in the World to Come. The Rambam adds, however, that a violator who repents for these transgressions can regain his share in the next world, for "there is nothing that stands in the way of repentance." It should be noted that repentance for crimes committed against one's fellow includes asking that person for forgiveness.

The work "Menorat Ha'ma'or" (by Rabbi Yitzchak Abuhav, Spain-Israel, 1433-1493), in Hilchot Teshuva (chapter 3), writes that one who calls his fellow by an embarrassing name must ask that person for forgiveness and subject himself to harsh measures of atonement, including lashes and observing forty fast days. Such is the severity with which the Rabbis viewed this prohibition.

The Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat 228:5) codifies this prohibition, adding that even if the person has grown accustomed to being called the given nickname, one may not call him by that name if the intention is to insult him.

The Rosh (Rabbi Asher Ben Yechiel, Germany-Spain, 1250-1327), in his commentary to Masechet Bava Metzia (4:22), lists this transgression together with adultery and publicly humiliating one's fellow as sins for which one is denied the possibility of rising from Gehinam in the afterlife. And the Kolbo (Rabbi Aharon of Lunel, France-Spain, 1280-1330), in Siman 118, claims that a person who calls his fellow by a derogatory nickname loses his share in the next world even if he performs Teshuva. Although we may rely on the aforementioned view of the Rambam, that a violator of this sin may reclaim his portion in the World to Come through repentance, this view of the Kolbo nevertheless underscores the gravity of this transgression.

One must therefore exercise extreme care in speaking to others, to avoid saying anything that might cause him shame or embarrassment. It was customary years ago to give people insulting names based on the menial jobs they performed. This is certainly inappropriate. Nowadays, many people call one another by their last name, which in many instances expresses a lack of respect. We must ensure to show honor to our peers by addressing them and speaking to them respectfully, and to avoid using any references that may sound insulting or offensive.

 


Recent Daily Halachot...
Establishing a Partnership with a Non-Jew in a Business Open on Shabbat- Part 1
Asking a Gentile on Shabbat to Bring Something From One's Car
Eating After Sundown on Shabbat if One Began Se'uda Shelishit Before Sundown
Handling Mail Received on Shabbat
The Significance of the Word "Shabbat"
Ereb Shabbat: Haircutting, Nail Cutting, Bathing, and Immersing in a Mikveh
Cutting Vegetables for a Salad on Shabbat
Hiring a Hazan, Ba’al Keri’a or Ba’al Teki’a for Shabbat or Yom Tob
Sitting or Leaning on a Car on Shabbat
Wearing a Handkerchief in a Public Domain on Shabbat
Is it permissible to use diapers with adhesive strips on Shabbat?
Home Construction on Shabbat
Employing a Non-Jewish Maid on Shabbat
Hiring a Non-Jew to Perform a Task Which Might be Done on Shabbat
Opening a Store on Shabbat
Page of 181
2708 Halachot found