Regarding calling people by nicknames

Home Forums Bais Medrash Regarding calling people by nicknames

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    This is being posted for Wolfish Musings benefit as well as anyone else who is interested in knowing this Halacha.

    I asked a Rav if this Halacha of giving nicknames applies to parents. I said, many times a parent will call a child by a shorter name like Avrohom becomes Avi or Yehoshua becomes Shuie…He said thats certainly not a problem for parents to shorten a kids name and a parent may do so. Additionally, a parent may even call the kid any nickname like zeeskiet, shayfeleh…

    The only time it would be a roblem is if a parent calls the kid by a derogatory nickname or something the kid can find derogatory.

    So I would guess if you have some nickname you call your kids by that it is possible that the kid is annoyed by, make sure that you ask the child if they are ok with the nickname. Just because a parent thinks a nickname is “cute” doesnt mean the kid likes it and it could be the kid finds it insulting or is bothered by it.


    The halacha on nicknames, is talking about things like bozo, klutz etc.. (i know someone whose off the derech now, his nickname was bozo, he happened to be a very nice guy, it just stuck with him)

    which if the name sticks even if the person says they don’t mind, they do, the person that started it will have a lot of explaining to do upstairs (or down)

    it was never about avi or if you call a loved one darling etc..


    In most communities and Shtetlach in Eastern Europe, everyone was referred to by a nickname, rather than their Family or last names. By their occupation or where they hailed from a generation or two back. For example, “Yankl the Taylor” or, “Berel Baal Agooleh”. And there was no shame in that.


    Someone I know asked Rav Scheinberg if there’s any problem with giving nicknames. His answer was “What’s wrong with nicknames? My wife calls me Pinky!”



    I hope you have seen this thread. I went through the effort of getting this issue clarified so you should know that you wont indeed be going to Gehinom. You are a bigger Tzaddik than you think.

    Pashuteh Yid

    It is such a davar pashut that the issur on nicknames only applies to a derogatory or insulting nickname. Obviously it doesn’t apply to endearing nicknames. I don’t know how anybody could possibly have thought otherwise. Even in the gemara, they called each other nicknames. Abba Arichta was Rav (because he was tall), Shinena (for someone sharp).



    Sorry I missed this thread…. I was in corporate training last week and barely had time to look at the CR at all.


    The Rambam makes no such distinction. As for what amoraim did, I can’t speak. Perhaps they had reasons for what they did. They certainly never learned the Rambam on the matter.

    But, in any event, it doesn’t really matter. This is only the tip of the iceberg in reasons why I’m an outsider looking in.

    The Wolf


    Especially where a parent asking a child is involved, you can’t be sure the kid isn’t afraid/shy about saying it bothers him. (Been there, didn’t like it but eventually spoke up.)

    BTW “Yankl the Tailor” isn’t properly speaking a nickname, it’s just labelling which Yankl. “Shorty” would be a nickname.


    M.I.I. My brothers told me years ago,that Rav Sheinberg was good at baseball as a young boy,and had the nickname “Lefty Sheinberg”.



    We called our son Yehuda “Hoods” until he told us he doesn’t like it. At work there’s one guy who calls me “Pugsley” referring to some old TV show from before I was born. It seems like this Pugsley would were horizontally striped shirts. So one day I came in wearing a horizontally striped polo shirt, he started calling me Pugsley. Well, this guy calls one of the tech guys Charley, while his name is really Allen, so I don’t feel singled out.



    When our boys were babies, the Russian babysitter would affectionately call them “hooliganchik.” We didn’t like the implications and politely asked her to call them by their names. People call their little ones “tzaddikel” in the hopes that they will grow to become one (a great tzaddik, tho, not a tzaddikEL). Don’t call a child by any name/label you wouldn’t want associated with them as an adult.


    Eclipse, yes, that is true. My father, who is a close talmid of Rav Scheinberg shlita has confirmed that.

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