How Do You Call Your Father?

Day 17 – Berachos 18 

תָּא שְׁמַע: דַּאֲבוּהּ דִּשְׁמוּאֵל הֲווֹ קָא מַפְקְדִי גַּבֵּיהּ זוּזֵי דְיַתְמֵי. כִּי נָח נַפְשֵׁיהּ לָא הֲוָה שְׁמוּאֵל גַּבֵּיהּ. הֲווֹ קָא קָרוּ לֵיהּ: ״בַּר אָכֵיל זוּזֵי דְיַתְמֵי״. אֲזַל אַבָּתְרֵיהּ לַחֲצַר מָוֶת. אֲמַר לְהוּ: בָּעֵינָא אַבָּא! אֲמַרוּ לֵיהּ: אַבָּא טוּבָא אִיכָּא הָכָא. אֲמַר לְהוּ: בָּעֵינָא אַבָּא בַּר אַבָּא. אֲמַרוּ לֵיהּ: אַבָּא בַּר אַבָּא נָמֵי טוּבָא אִיכָּא הָכָא. אֲמַר לְהוּ: בָּעֵינָא אַבָּא בַּר אַבָּא אֲבוּהּ דִּשְׁמוּאֵל הֵיכָא? אֲמַרוּ לֵיהּ סְלֵיק לִמְתִיבְתָּא דִּרְקִיעָא. אַדְּהָכִי חַזְיֵיהּ לְלֵוִי דְּיָתֵיב אַבָּרַאי. אֲמַר לֵיהּ: אַמַּאי יָתְבַתְּ אַבָּרַאי? מַאי טַעְמָא לָא סָלְקַתְּ? אֲמַר לֵיהּ, דְאָמְרִי לִי: כָּל כִּי הָנָךְ שְׁנֵי דְּלָא סְלֵיקְתְּ לִמְתִיבְתָּא דְּרַבִּי אַפָּס וְאַחְלֵישְׁתֵּיהּ לְדַעְתֵּיהּ, לָא מְעַיְּילִינַן לָךְ לִמְתִיבְתָּא דִרְקִיעָא 

The gemara relates that Shmuel’s father used to hold onto the money of the orphans for safekeeping. When Shmuel’s father died, Shmuel was not with him, and did not learn from him the location of the money. Since he did not return it, Shmuel was called: Son of him who consumes the money of orphans. Shmuel went after his father to the cemetery and said to the dead: I want Abba. The dead said to him: There are many Abbas here. He told them: I want Abba bar Abba. They said to him: There are also many people named Abba bar Abba here. He told them: I want Abba bar Abba, the father of Shmuel. Where is he? They replied: Ascend to the yeshiva on high.

Berachos 18

 The Gemara goes on to discuss the rest of the conversation and the context for relating this. 

We see that Shmuel went and asked for Abba and he was told that there many Abba’s there. Why didn’t he just mention his father by name? 

Rashi comments that his father’s name was actually Abba. 

The Shulchan Aruch in Yore Deah 240;2 tells us that it is forbidden to call one’s father by his first name, even after he died. The Chida (Shem HaGedolim – Abba) writes that if one’s father’s name is Abba and that is how he’s called by everyone, you cannot call your father Abba, you have to find another variation of the term father to call him.

Rav Akiva Eiger, in his glosses on the Shulchan Aruch asks that we see in our Gemara that Shmuel called his father by his first name – Abba??

The Pische Teshuva explains that when there is no other way to reference him, you may call him by his first name. 

This still does not answer the question, because we see that after they couldn’t figure out who he was referring to, he eventually said he was looking for “Abba bar Abba, the father of Shmuel”. Why didn’t he just say that to begin with, instead of saying over his father’s name? 

Perhaps saying his name indirectly is ok, but to say it directly to his father would pose an issue. 

What are your thoughts?

1 thought on “How Do You Call Your Father?

  1. Mozer G.

    עדיף מיניה תוכל להקשות, למה התלמוד עצמו אינו קוראו בשמו, אלא תמיד ״אבוה דשמואל״. ועי׳ אגרת ר׳ שרירא גאון שמסבירו, ולפי״ז יש להבין גם כאן…



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