Monday, March 8, 2010

Forgive your honor; Gd does!


"Rabbi Yitzchak bar Shila cited Rav Matnah citing Rav Chisda: If a father forgives his honor, his honor is forgiven. If a rabbi forgives his honor, it is not forgiven. [The honor of the Torah is not his to forgive.]

"Rav Yosef said: If a rabbi forgives his honor, it is forgiven, as it is written (Shemot 13), ‘And Gd traveled before them by day.’"

[In other words: Gd could travel before the Jews, like a humble servant, and so a rabbi is entitled to serve others humbly.]

(Talmud, Kiddushin 32a)

Have a great day,


  1. I don't know about Canadian English, but further south, we usually render the yeshivish "be mochel" with "forgo."

  2. Anonymous-
    Odd; I'd think to "forgo" would be to renounce it in advance; to "forgive" would be after the slight.
    Either way, Google is on my side; "forgive his honor" gets 92,800 hits, while "forgo his honor" gets 13,800. Democracy at its best!

  3. So this means, if a father does something not so honorable it is forgiven, but if a rabbi does the same it is not forgiven because he is a leader of the people?
    I don't understand the second part-if a rabbi forgives his (whose?) honor it is forgiven- why is "and Gd traveled before them by day." relevent here? Sorry for the confusion.

  4. Hi Filala,

    Actually, it's about what is done to him, not by him.

    In other words: If someone does something rude to his father, but the father chooses to forgive the offense, then it is forgiven. But if someone does something rude to his rabbi, Rav Chisda says the rabbi does not have the right to forgive the honor of the Torah he represents.

    Rav Yosef disagrees; he points to the way that Gd forgave His own honor by acting as a servant to the Jews, teaching us that even an offense against Gd's honor can be forgiven.

  5. That's better, I raised two boys, so I know what what it means to forgive some of the things kids say

    : )