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Am I allowed to tell my husband off?


What is the purpose of being an eizer kenegdo? Are you never allowed to tell off your husband, but rather you should always try to work on yourself and accept it as your own nisayon?
And how is the husband/wife/parents/grandparents etc. supposed to change if no one tells them anything out of respect or because it’s a sign that you are supposed to change and not them!

What does it actually mean being an eizer kenegdo?

Many thanks!


When H-shem originally created Adam and Chava, they were one being. Then H-shem saw that it would be more beneficial if the two were separated, instead of Chava being attached to Adam. Could you imagine if Chava would come with Adam to work every day instead of taking care of the children, caring for the house, and preparing the meals. After a long day of work, they would both be very tired, quite hungry with no supper, and with a lot of really kvetchy kids! Therefore H-shem physically separated them from each other, so that each one can take care of different parts of their collective needs, and in this way, by her being separated from him she will be able to help him much more. This is the purpose of being an ezer knegdo.

Regarding telling your husband off, and correcting him, it is your job to help you husband grow, but not your job to make him change. You are not his mashgiach, or his rebbe, and it isn’t your job or responsibility to change them. It is however possible to get him to change somewhat, but only somewhat. First of all, make sure that you work on accepting him for who he is. If you don’t accept him, he is going to feel it, and then whatever you tell, him will feel to him like, “oh, there goes the nag again”. If you first work on accepting and not changing him, and you work on keeping a good rapport, and a loving relationship, then you will be in a position to subtly, and smartly, hint at thinks, while you are talking to him. Then, when he feels that you are suggesting things to him out of love, and not because you decided to self-appoint yourself to be his personal trainer, he will be more capable of accepting the things you tell him. This is part of using your “bina yisayra”, your capability to able understand your husband, and bring him to the right place, so that he will be able to accept a very occasional suggestion.

Regarding your parents, it is not the job of a child to be the parents, or grandparent teacher, or to tell them off. Your job is to honor them, love them and respect them. You are not the only person in the world that can tell them something, in fact, even if you have to, it must be done in a very roundabout respectful way, and not directly. A child may not talk disrespectfully to a parent under any circumstances. Regarding the mitzva of tochacha, (correcting other people) the torah says that it must be done in a way that it doesn’t embarrass the other person. Additionally, a child that ridicules, or insults a parent is subject to a curse, “ארור מקלה אביו ואמו” cursed is a person who makes light of a parent. Therefore, you must be extremely careful not to tell your parent off. If it has to be done, you are the last person around to do it. You can speak to their Rov, to suggest something, but you are not the one to do it.

I hope this makes things clear.

Best wishes

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