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(Halachos of honoring parents)



1) We will now begin discussing the Halachos of Kibud Av V’Eim, honoring one’s father and mother.

The Aseres HaDibros, the Ten Commandments given to us by Hashem on Har Sinai are divided into two parts, the first five are commandments between man and Hashem (Bein Adam L’Makom) and the last five are commandments between man and fellow man (Bein Adam L’Chaveiro)

Kibud Av V’Eim ,the fifth of the Aseres HaDibros, is listed amongst the commandments that are between man and Hashem even though it is seemingly a commandment that is only between man and man.

The reason for this is that honoring one’s parents is akin to honoring Hashem.

There are 3 partners in every human being, the father, the mother and Hashem. If one honors any of the three it is as if all three have been honored, and if one dishonors any of the three it’s as if all three have been dishonored. (See Talmud Kidushin 30b and Psikta Rabasi 21. See also Rambam Hilchos Mamrim Perek 6:1)

2) One who doesn’t live a Torah-true life and isn’t scrupulous in keeping the Mitzvos not only is he/she dishonoring and angering Hashem, but also causes shame upon their parents to such a degree that there is no greater shame in the world. (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 143:21)

One who honors his parents properly will merit special heavenly protection to prevent him from transgressing other sins. (Tana D’Vei Eliyahu Raba Perek 26)

The importance of this mitzvah cannot be overstated, and there are many different aspects of it which are not well known to most people, and we hope that after we conclude our treatment of this topic we will all be a little more versed in the many details and thus be able to improve our adherence to this exalted Mitzvah.


1)Kibud Av V’Eim, honoring ones parents, is broken down into a few categories.

The two primary categories are “Kavod, respect” and Yirah, fear or awe” for parents, and it is extremely important to be careful to properly respect ones parents and treat them with awe.

According to many Rishonim, the Mitzvah of “Kibud” and the Mitzvah of “Yirah” are two distinct Mitzvos.

“Kibud” is generally accomplished by “doing” things for them, as we will B’Ezras Hashem detail in the coming days.

“Yirah” is generally displayed by “not doing” certain things and by generally having certain feelings and thoughts regarding ones parents, and this too we will elaborate on in the coming days B’Ezras Hashem.

2) What constitutes “Awe”?

The Rambam (Sefer HaMitzvos Mitzvah 211) writes “One must fear their parents the way one fears someone, like a king, who is able to mete out punishment. One must act with his/her parents the way one acts when in the presence of one who is feared…”


1) If one’s father or mother has a designated spot to stand for meetings or for davening, it is forbidden for a son/daughter to stand in that spot. (See Aruch HaShulchan Yoreh Deah 240:9)

It is questionable if a father stands in a certain spot for Shacharis only, if a child may stand in that spot for Mincha or another Tefilah. A Rav should be consulted for Halacha L’ma’aseh.

2) A child may not sit in a place in the home that is designated for a parent to sit.

Standing in the place that a parent sits, however, is permitted. (Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 240:2)


1) If a parent has a special chair which is easily distinguishable from the other chairs in the home, it is prohibited to sit in it, even if it is moved out of its usual place.

It is permitted to stand on a parent’s chair for a moment in order to change a light bulb or to reach something on a high shelf or any other reason. (See Pischei Teshuva to Yoreh Deah Siman 240:16)

2) Some Poskim rule that a child may not sleep in a bed that is designated for a parent.

Other Poskim disagree and only prohibit sitting in their chair and not laying/sleeping in their bedas that isn’t considered a respectful place. (See Taz to Yoreh Deah Siman 240. See also Yalkut M’Am Loez Parshas VaYishlach Perek 5 where he quotes a Zohar that Reuven’s sin was that he slept in his father’s bed.)


1) When a child takes an elderly father into his/her home to live with their family, there is no obligation for the father to be seated at the head of the table, rather the son (or son in law) can retain his seat at the head of the table as head of the household and have the father sit on the side near him.

However, when the food is served it is obligatory to serve the father [or mother] first even though the son (or son in law) is the head of the household. (Aruch HaShulchan Yoreh Deah 240:11)

2) Some people have the custom when their father or father in law comes for a visit (as opposed to the case above where the father will be staying with them long term or permanently) that they indeed do relinquish their seat at the head of the table and respectfully allow the father to sit there and “lead” the meal.

This is a very praiseworthy custom for which many Gedolim followed. It also sets a very  good example for the young children to observe how their parents respect their own parents.


Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh

1)It is prohibited to contradict a parent. (Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 240:2)

If a parent has a verbal disagreement with another person, and the child tells the other person “I concur with your view”, it is considered contradicting the parent and is prohibited. (Shach Yoreh Deah 240:2)

2) According to some Poskim this prohibition is only in the presence of the parent. Other Poskim, however, maintain that even not in the presence of the parent it is prohibited. (See Shach and Taz ibid. and Biur HaGra 240:3)


1) If the issue at hand is in a Torah discussion and the son has clear proofs against the opinion of the parent, many Poskim allow the son to contradict the father, even in his presence (respectfully  of course) (See Chazon Ish Even HaEzer Siman 47 Dibur Hamaschil  V’Lo Soser Es D’Varav. See also Sefer Be’er Sheva to Sanhedrin 110)

Of course, if the parent asks the child for their view, there is no prohibition against giving it. (See Aruch HaShulchan 242:23)

2) If a parent says something, it isn’t respectful, and thus prohibited, for a child to say “I agree, it seems that what you are saying is right”, as a parent doesn’t need the [unsolicited] approval or consent of a child to validate what they are saying. (Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 240:2)





1)It is forbidden to call a parent or refer to them by their name; rather they need to be referred to as “My father [my teacher]” or “My mother”. (Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 240:2. The addition of “my teacher” is only necessary when saying over a Torah thought from one’s father)

This applies even after a parent passes away from this world. (See Kesef Mishna Hilchos Mamrim Perek6:3)

2) If one is calling someone else who has the same name as their parent, if it is not in the presence of the parent it is permissible as long as the name in question is an ordinary name. If the parent is present,however, it is forbidden.

However, if the name of the parent is not a regular or common name,  it may not be used to refer to someone else with that name unless it is changed a little bit from the variation used to refer to the parent (e.g. Moshe/Moishy, Rivkah/Rivky), even if the parent is not present.(Shulchan Aruch ibid. See Aruch HaShulchan 240:14 who quotes a more lenient opinion that calling someone else with the same name as the parent would be permitted even in the presence of the parent, if it is an ordinary name, and when it’s an odd name, it would be permitted not in the presence of the parent. However, he writes that most Poskim do not rely on this leniency and rule as the Shulchan Aruch does)


1) To what extent must a child go in order to not transgress the obligation to fear their parents?

The Talmud (Kidushin 31a) and Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah Siman 240:3) illustrate this as follows:

“If a son is dressed in fine clothing and is sitting at the head of the table presiding over a congregation and his mother or father walk up to him and tear his clothing, hit him on the head and spit in his face, he should not berate or insult them; rather he should remain silent and fear the King of Kings [Hashem] who commanded him to do so.”

There is a lot of discussion in the Poskim about the aforementioned passage in the Talmud, and many  Poskim rule that this only applies to a parent that is suffering from Dementia, Alzheimer’s or a similar condition where they are not in control of their faculties, but does not apply to normal, healthy parents who should know and act  better. (See Tosefos to Kidushin ibid. Dibur Hamaschil U’Bas imo. See also Midrash Devarim Perek 1:15)

Other Poskim rule that this is the case only “after the fact”, but if it did not happen yet and the child can prevent it from happening, he may do so. (See Yam Shel Shlomo Kidushin 31a, Siman 64, for a lengthy treatment of this topic)

2) If a parent is a wicked person and/or abusive to a child, most Poskim indeed rule that the child need not passively suffer and take the abuse, and may defend themselves and rebuke the parent for their inexcusable actions or do anything else that needs to be done to save themselves from an abusive situation. Nobody should suffer in silence. Nobody.

This topic is too lengthy and detailed for this forum to give it a proper treatment.

If Chas V’Shalom someone is in such a situation (or in any abusive situation, for that matter), a Rav (or competent Frum therapist) should be consulted for the best halachically sanctioned course of action. There is no prohibition of Lashon Hara in relating to the Rav (or therapist) all the pertinent details necessary for him or her  to fully understand the situation. (See Chofetz Chaim Hilchos Isurei Lashon Hara Klal 10:14 and in the footnote)





1)  What constitutes “Kibud, respecting” parents?

One must speak to their parents softly, with respect the way one would speak to a king. (Sefer Chareidim Perek 12 (Perek 4 in the old prints)

A child must give a hungry parent food, give them to drink, clothe them and take them out of the house and bring them back inside (referring to elderly parents). (Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 240:4)

If a parent is ill or disabled and cannot feed themselves, the child must actually place the food in their mouth. (See Sefer Kibud Av V’Eim page 34 footnote 15)

2) All of the above must be done with a happy countenance (Sever panim yafos) and not grudgingly with a sour face, as even if one feeds a parent the finest feast each day, if done so angrily and grudgingly, there will be heavenly punishment. (Shulchan Aruch ibid.)

Conversely, if one makes a parent do manual labor, but does so with good intentions (e.g. as doing so will save the parent from a worse fate at the hands of the government) and speaks softly and comforts the parent  all the while they are doing the labor, the heavenly reward is great. (Rama Yoreh Deah Siman 240:4 quoting Talmud Kidushin 31a-b and Talmud Yerushalmi. See also Meiri to Kidushin 31)


1) Although a child is obligated to purchase food and feed their parents, the cost of this food need not come from the child’s pocket; rather the child can  use the parents money to pay for it.

If the parents are poor and cannot afford food, and the child can afford food, the child is obligate to pay for this food and Bais Din can even enforce this and compel him to purchase food. (According to the Shulchan Aruch the child must purchase food within his means. According to the Rama the child is obligated to purchase for the parent as much as he would be obligated to purchase for any other poor person that collects Tzedaka, but not more. However, the Rama adds that one who can afford to purchase food for a parent and despite that uses Tzedaka money for this purpose, will be punished)

If the child also cannot afford to purchase food, he is not obligated to go door to door to raise funds to feed his parents.

2) If there are other siblings, the obligation to purchase food for their parents is divided amongst them proportionate to their respective means. If some of the siblings are poor, the obligation to feed the parents is divided only amongst those siblings that are of better means.


1) Although a child is not obligated to spend his/her own money in order to provide for a parent, he/she is obligated to personally do things that are requested of him/her by the parent [and which will bring pleasure to the parent] even if by doing so they will lose out on work and thus need to collect money door to door for their own needs. (See the commentary of the Mitzpeh Eisan to Kidushin 32a that if the parent has no pleasure from it and simply wants the child to do something that will cause them to miss work or just wants the child to not work that day then there is no obligation for the child to listen)

2) The above is only true in a situation where the child already has what to eat for him/herself for that day, and is only losing out wages with which to purchase food for the next day.

But if the child does not yet have food for that day, he/she is not obligated to forgo that in order to do something for their parent. (Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 240:5)


Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh

1) Children are obligated to stand up for their parents when they enter a room.

If the son is the father’s Rebbi (Torah teacher), they both must stand up for each other. (Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 240:7)

2) If the son who is the Rebbi wants to forgo on his honor and serve his father who is the student and/or  allow him to not rise for him, he may do so  as a Rebbi may be mochel (forgive) his Kavod.

However, he can only do so in private or even in public if the people know that it is his father and understand why he is forgoing his honor.

If, however, it is in a place where people do not know that the student is his father, he may not forgo on his honor as doing so will seem like the Torah is being dishonored.

In such a case, it is best for both of them to stay a distance away from one another as not to be in a situation that may lead to them dishonoring each other. (Rama ibid.)


If a parent is blind R”L, there is still an obligation to rise when they enter the room, even if they will not know that you have done so, as the  Mitzvah to honor parents applies regardless if the parent  is aware of what you have done or not. (See Commentary of Rav Akiva Eiger to Yoreh Deah 240:7)

If the child is blind R”L, there is a debate amongst the Poskim if he must stand up when he is notified that his parent entered the room, even though he himself did not see the parent. , as   the parent will not be dishonored as they  know that he didn’t see them and thus even if he does stand up they will not attribute that to their entering the room  and no honor will have taken place. (See Nachlas Tzvi Yoreh Deah 240:7 and Chazon Ish Yoreh Deah Siman 151:1. See also Aruch HaShulchan Yoreh Deah 240:33 quoting the Sefer Chasidim that when doing an action to honor a parent it must be evident from your action that it is being done in honor of the parent and not that you would have been doing the action anyhow)


1)The obligation to respect parents does not end when a parent passes away, as there are certain aspects of respect that can be achieved after the death of a parent which we will now discuss.

When saying over something that a parent said when they were alive, if it is within the first 12 months of their passing,  it should be prefaced as follows:

” This is what my father [my teacher] may any punishment meant for him go on me instead (Hareini Kaporas Mishkavo), said…”(Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 240:9. See also Bais Yosef to Orach Chaim Siman 284:7 quoting from the Shibolei Haleket that the niftar actually receives a Kaparah in shomayim when Hareini Kaporas Mishkavo is said [as well as when other things are done in the zechus of the niftar. See the text of the Bais Yosef for a more detailed treatment of this topic]. See also Rashi to Sukkah 20a Dibur Hamaschil Hareini Kaporas that a Kaparah is achieved for the niftar by uttering these words.)

If it is after the initial 12 months of the passing of the parent, anything said over in their name should be prefaced with “This is what my father [my teacher] of blessed memory (Zichrono L’Vracha) said…”  (Shulchan Aruch ibid.)

2) Regarding if these words should be written when writing  something that a parent said, some Poskim say not to as the written word will remain intact even after 12 months and  it will seem as if the parent still needs a Kaparah after 12 months, which  only Reshaim (evil people) still need.

Other Poskim are stringent and say that even when writing it is required, as people will know that it was written while it was during the first 12 months of the parent’s passing. (See Rama ibid. where he brings the various opinions on this topic). All of the above applies equally to mothers and fathers (Rama ibid.)


1) It is a fulfillment of the Mitzvah of Kibud Av V’Eim each time one recites Kadish for the Neshama of their mother or father that passed away, as with each additional Kadish the Neshama rises higher in Gan Eden and derives lofty spiritual pleasure. (See Bais Yosef to Yoreh Deah Siman 376 and Shu”t MaHarik Siman 30)

2) If ones mother passes away while their father is alive, and the father tells the child not to say Kadish for the mother (as many people feel it’s a bad omen for their child to say Kadish while they are still alive), there is a debate amongst the Poskim if the child must acquiesce to the fathers request or not. (See Birchei Yosef Siman 240:15 where he discusses if Kadish is a full fledged Mitzvah which the father cannot stop a son from doing or simply a minhag in which case he can request that it shouldn’t be done.)

For Halacha L’Ma’aseh, as always,  a Rav should be consulted.


Halachos for Tuesday, Erev Shavuos

1) If one’s parent R”L went insane or is otherwise incapable of thinking intelligently, they should try to the best of their ability to treat them respectfully and take care of their needs on their level.

If, however, the child cannot bear to be around their parent in such a state (as is very common in these situations that it is hurtful for a child to see their parent in such a condition) they must ask or hire someone else to take care of the parent as best as possible. (Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 240:10)

2) A good way to try and overcome the feelings of discomfort when it comes to caring for parents who have R”L lost control of their faculties is to remember that they did the same for us from when we were born; cleaning us up, bathing us, dressing our wounds, pushing us in strollers outside etc. and now it’s time for us to reciprocate in their time of dependence. There is no greater expression of Hakoras HaTov! (As heard from an Adam Gadol)





1) If a parent does something that is against the Torah and a child sees, the child should not say “You transgressed a Torah prohibition”, as bluntly saying so will cause the parent embarrassment.

Rather, the child should say something to the effect of: “Father… Does it say in the Torah that one should not….?” in a way that sounds like a question and not like a chastisement or rebuke, and the parent will realize on their own that they have committed the sin.

2) If a parent is sleeping it is forbidden to wake them up.

However, if  the reason one wakes a parent is so that they can prevent them from losing money or to  facilitate their  making a profit it is permitted, and may even be considered a Mitzvah as the parent is happy to have been woken up for this reason.

Likewise, if a child wakes a father in order that he can go to Shul to daven with a minyan or so that he can fulfill any other Mitzvah, it is also permitted, as the father is equally obligated in honoring Hashem. (Chayei Adam Klal 67:11)


1) If one’s parent asks them to do a task for them, at the same time that another timely Mitzvah (which if not done now will not present itself again, such as burying a dead person or attending a funeral) needs to be done, if there are other people available to do the timely Mitzvah, taking care of the parent’s needs take precedence.

If, however, nobody else is available to perform the timely Mitzvah, it takes precedence over doing the task for the parent.

If there is time to perform both Mitzvos, the parent should be taken care of first and only afterwards should the other Mitzvah be performed. (Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 240:12)

2) If the child already began dealing with the timely Mitzvah when the parent requested a task be done, the child can first finish the timely Mitzvah before beginning to do what the parent asked (as the Halachic concept of “Osek B’Mitzvah Patur Min HaMitzvah, one who is in the midst of one Mitzvah is exempt from another Mitzvah” is applied. See Meiri to Moed Katan 9b. See also Chidushei Rav Shlomo Heiman Zatzal Siman 37 for a treatment of this Halacha) (Rama ibid.)


Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh

1) The Mitzvah of learning Torah is a bigger Mitzvah and thus takes precedence over the Mitzvah of Kibud Av V’Eim. (Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 240:13 based on Talmud Megilah 16b)

According to many Poskim the above applies only if the parent asks the son to leave the city, but if the task asked of the son is in the same city, he must do the task for the parent and then return to his Torah study. (See Pischei Teshuva Yoreh Deah Siman 240:8)

2) Furthermore, some Poskim differentiate between “Kibud, honor” and “Yirah, fear” and rule that learning Torah only takes precedence over honoring parents but not over things that must be done because of the Mitzvah to fear parents. (See Sefer HaMakneh to Kidushin 30 Dibur Hamaschil Estaya Milsa)





1) If one’s father asks  for a glass of water or any other task, and at the same time his/her  mother asked for a  glass of water or another task,  tending to the father’s needs takes precedence, as the son/daughter  and the mother are both obligated to respect the father/husband.

2) If , however, one’s parents are divorced (and thus the mother is no longer obligated to honor the father’s wishes) and both parents request a task at the same time, the child may choose whose request he wants to fulfill first. (Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 240:14.  For more details on this topic see Pischei Teshuva Yoreh Deah 240:12, Shu”t Rav Akiva Eiger Siman 68, Shu”t Noda B’Yehuda Mahadura Tinyana Even HaEzer Siman 45 and Chazon Ish Even HaEzer Siman 47 Dibur Hamaschil HaTel)


1) If one’s parent tells them to transgress a sin they may not listen to them, as both the parent and the child are commanded to follow the word of Hashem.

This applies to positive commandments, Mitzvos Asei (e.g. the parent says not to shake a Lulav or not to return a lost object to its rightful owner) as well as to negative commandments, Mitzvos Lo Ta’aseh (e.g. the parent says to eat non kosher or to steal). (Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 240:15)

2) The above also applies to rabbinically mandated decrees and laws. (Shulchan Aruch ibid. See also Sefer Chasidim Siman 338. See also Bais Yosef on the Tur Yoreh Deah Siman 240:15 where he explains that in essence every rabbinical decree is a biblical obligation as the Torah mandates “Al Pi HaTorah Asher Yorucha V’Al HaMishpat Asher Yomru Lecha Ta’aseh, Lo Tasur Min Hadavar Asher Yagidu Lecha Yamin U’Smol,” (Devarim 17:11), which is the biblical  prohibition against deviating from the words of the sages right or left.)


1) If one’s parent tells them not to talk to someone and/or not to forgive someone for something that that person did, and the child wants to forgive them and/or talk to them, there is no obligation to listen to the parent.

The above is true even if the parent gives a time limit (e.g. don’t forgive that person or talk to them until next week) and surely if the parent says so indefinitely. (Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 240:16)

2) The reason for this is that it is forbidden to hate or bear a grudge against another Jew [unless he is purposely and blatantly transgressing the Torah, see Talmud Pesachim 113b], and thus there is no obligation to listen to parents who tell you to transgress the Torah, as we discussed earlier.

Additionally, a parent that wants a child to bear a grudge is considered “Aino Oseh Ma’aseh Amcha, not acting the way a Jew must act” and there is no obligation to listen to such a parent. (See Talmud Bava Kama 94b. See Shu”t HaRosh Klal 15:5)

Based on these reasons, if the person that the parent says not to talk to or forgive is a Rasha, a wicked person, and thus permitted to be hated, it is probable that the child must listen and not talk to or forgive that person. A Rav should be consulted for Halacha L’ma’aseh.


1) Men and women are equally obligated in the commandment to honor and fear their parents.

However, a married woman whose obligations are to her husband is exempt from honoring her parents [when doing so will be in direct conflict to her husband's needs and wishes]. (Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 240:17 and commentary of the Shach.)

Many Rishonim (including the Sefer Chareidim Perek 12:3 ) rule that one is biblically obligated to honor parents in law (The Shulchan Aruch also rules this way and we will see more about this in detail in a few days iy”H).

According to these Rishonim, the question arises as to why then a wife must acquiesce to the wishes of her husband and not to her parents, if both the husband and the wife are obligated to honor  her parents. (See Chayei Adam Klal 67:17 where he asks this and remains without an answer. See footnote to Sefer Chareidim ibid. where he deals with this question at length)

2) If a woman gets divorced her obligations to her parents are once again in full effect. (Shulchan Aruch ibid.)


1) It is forbidden for parents to be overly demanding of their children and/or  to be scrupulous in demanding respect, as doing so will cause the children to not be able to adhere to all that is demanded of them and thus lead them to transgress the Mitzvah of Kibud Av V’Eim. (A parent that makes difficult or impossible demands on their children that won’t be done transgresses the prohibition of “Lifnei Iver Lo Titen Michshol)

Rather,  a parent should be mochel (forgive and forgo) on their Kavod and pretend to not see every infraction, as the Halacha is that “Av [V'eim] Shemachal Al Kvodo, Kvodo Machul, A father [and mother] may absolve a child of their duty to honor them” (Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 240:19. See also Sefer Chasidim Siman 565)

2) Many righteous and G-d fearing  people, when asking their children for a task, would say something to the effect of: “Do you mind getting me….” Or “Would it be possible for you to go…” rather than outright commanding them to do it, lest the child find it to hard to accomplish and thus transgress the mitzvah of Kibud Av V’Eim. (See Sefer Kibud Av V’Eim page 66 in footnote 46)


1)We learned yesterday that “Av [V'eim] Shemachal Al Kvodo, Kvodo Machul, A father [and mother] may absolve a child of their duty to honor them” (Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 240:19 based on Talmud Kidushin 32a)

Although in such a case if the child does not honor the parent he/she does not get punished, still a child who wants to honor a parent despite the parents having absolved them of their duty, may do so and in doing so earns a Mitzvah. (Shu”t RadVaz Siman 524)

2) Although a parent can be Mochel on their honor, they cannot allow a child to curse them, hit them, [embarrass them, insult them or otherwise belittle them]; only honor can be forgiven. (See She’Iltos Parshas Mishpatim end of She’Ilta 60 and the commentary of the Netziv in  He’emek Sh’eila there. See also Turei Even to Megilah 28 Dibur Hamaschil Im Tomar Misanei where he maintains that a parent can indeed allow a child to embarrass them. See also Gilyonei HaShas from Rav Yosef Engel Zatzal where he also maintains, based on the Talmud Sanhedrin 48a, that a parent can allow a child to embarrass and insult them, and only on cursing and hitting does forgiveness not work.)


Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh

1) Children are obligated to honor their father’s wife even if it isn’t their mother, as long as the father is alive, as by doing so it is in essence honoring the father.

Likewise, they are obligated to honor their mother’s husband even if it isn’t their father, as long as their mother is alive.

Although there is no obligation to honor a step-parent after the passing of the parent, it is still a praiseworthy thing to do. (Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 240:21)

2) It is an extension of the Mitzvah of Kibud Av V’Eim to honor a father’s brother and a mother’s sister. They should be referred to with “Uncle” and “Aunt” preceding their names and not simply by their names, and otherwise accorded respect. (Sefer Chareidim Perek 12:3 in the name of Rabbeinu Yonah in Sefer Hayirah. In the actual text of the Sefer HaYirah, however, it says to honor a mother’s brother and a father’s brother, and makes no mention of a mother’s sister. This is also how the Chida in Birchei Yosef quotes the Sefer Chareidim. Interestingly, no mention is made in either source regarding honoring a father’s sister, though many contemporary Poskim do indeed rule that it applies to her as well.)


1) There is an obligation to honor one’s older brother.

According to some Poskim this applies only to the oldest brother (the firstborn) and not to  other brothers that are older and not to sisters. (Opinion of the Bais Lechem Yehuda to Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 240:22 quoting the Arizal and the Halachos Ketanos Siman 123 and Shvus Yaakov Vol. 2 Siman 76 quoted in the Gilyon MaHarsha to Yoreh Deah Siman 240:22)

However, other Poskim rule that this applies to all older brothers, and indeed it is best to be stringent and honor all older brothers. (Birchei Yosef who maintains that this is how the Arizal ruled, unlike the way the Bais Lechem Yehuda quotes the Arizal. See also Aruch HaShulchan Yoreh Deah Siman 240:43)

2) Although, according to most Poskim, this doesn’t apply to one’s oldest firstborn sister the way it applies to an older or oldest brother, it is still important to treat older sisters with respect, as it is important to treat all people that are older than oneself with respect. (Pischei Teshuva Yoreh Deah 240:19. The Yad Shaul, quoted in Sefer Kibud Av V’Eim page 77 in footnote 57, writes in the name of the Chacham Tzvi based on the Talmud in Avodah Zarah 17a and Rashi there Dibur Hamaschil Abei Chadaihu, that the great Amorah Ulah kissed his older sister as a Kavod to her, and he thus rules that there is indeed an obligation to honor older sisters. However, others say that it was out of Derech Eretz, and not due to the Halachic obligation to honor her.)

According to some Rishonim, this obligation to honor older brothers is only in effect as long as the father is alive, just as the obligation to honor aunts and uncles is only in effect as long as the parent is alive.

Other Rishonim maintain that the obligation to honor an older brother is its own obligation and is in effect even after the fathers passing. (See Pischei Teshuva Yoreh Deah Siman 240:18)


1)The obligation to honor an older brother applies even if the younger brother is a Talmid Chacham and greater in Torah than the older brother. (Rama Yoreh Deah Siman 240:22)

2) An older brother that insults, scorns or verbally abuses his younger brother that is a Talmid Chacham, and as a result the younger brother condemns him (places him in Nidui), it is considered a good and appropriate thing, as since the older brother has disrespected a Talmid Chacham (and thus disrespected the Torah) he isn’t considered to be someone that follows the Torah (Aino Oseh Ma’aseh Amcha) and thus the obligation to honor the older brother no longer is in effect. (Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 240:23 based on  Shu”t HaRosh Klal 15:7)


1)The obligation to honor parents extends to a father in law and a mother in law. (Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 240:24. See Bach beginning of Siman 240 quoting the Sefer Tzeidah L’Derech that this applies equally to mothers in law as well as fathers in law.)

Some Poskim consider it a biblical obligation no different than one’s own parents, as a man and his wife are considered one (Ishto K’Gufo) and the parents of one are considered like the parents of the other. (See Sefer Chareidim Perek 12 where he brings a proof to this opinion)

According to many other Poskim, however, this obligation is not akin to honoring parents rather it’s akin to honoring other older people.  (See Tur Yoreh Deah Siman 240 and Bach there. This is also the opinion of the Chayei Adam Klal 67:24 and the Aruch HaShulchan Yoreh Deah 240:44 where he refutes the proof of the Sefer Chareidim.)

2) If one’s father in law or mother in law pass away and there are no sons to recite Kadish for them, the son in law should recite the Kadish and learn Mishnayos or other Torah subjects in their memory, as the Sefarim write that the soul of a father in law derives much spiritual pleasure and gets elevated in Olam Haba when his son in law learns Torah in this world. (See Yesod V’Shoresh H’Avodah Sha’ar HaKolel Perek 15 quoting the Zohar Parshas Naso page 144b in the old prints)


1) There is an opinion amongst the Poskim that one is not obligated in honoring their grandparents. (MaHarik Shoresh 30 quoted by the Rama Yoreh Deah Siman 240:24. See also Rambam Hilchos Mamrim Perek 5:3 and Kesef Mishna on the Rambam)

However, most Poskim disagree and maintain that indeed one is obligated in honoring their grandparents, albeit not to the same extent as the obligation to honor parents. (Rama ibid. See also Sh’eilas Ya’avetz Vol. 2 Siman 129 where he maintains that even the Rambam rules this way as far as the obligation, and only regarding the punishment does the Rambam rule that a grandparent is not like a parent. See also Shu”t Minchas Elozor Vol. 3 Siman 33 where he rules like the Sefer Chareidim that honoring grandparents is a biblical obligation.)

2) According to some Poskim, the obligation to honor grandparents is in effect only as long as the parents are alive.  (See Shu”t Tuv Ta’am V’Da’as Vol. 1 Siman 213)

Others disagree and maintain that it is an independent obligation to honor grandparents and it isn’t dependant on the parents being alive. (See Bach on Tur Yoreh Deah Siman 240 and Biur HaGra Yoreh Deah 240:34)


1) Although the obligation to grandparents is only to honor them and not to be in awe of them, it is still proper to not call grandparents by their given names and rather refer to them as “Grandpa” and “Grandma” or “Zaidy” and “Bubby” or similar variations of these titles of respect.

If a grandparent passes away and there is nobody to say Kadish for them, it is proper for the grandson to say Kadish.

2) If a parent requests a task of a child and at the same time a grandparent makes a request, the child should oblige the parent first.

If, however, they were all in the same room at the time, and thus the father would be obligated to heed the request of his parent, the grandchild should indeed attend to the grandparent’s request first. (See Shu”t Teshuva M’Ahava Siman 178)


1)If a parent wants to serve and/or do tasks for a child, it is permissible for the child to accept, because  if this is the wish of the parent then it is considered honoring them to allow them to do the things that would under normal circumstances not be allowed and considered dishonoring. (Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 240:25. See also Chazon Ish Kidushin Siman 47 Dibur Hamaschil Tosefos Dibur Hamaschil Rav Yehuda)

2) However, if the father is a learned man, a Talmid Chacham, then it is not permissible for him to serve his child, as even though a father may forgo his honor, serving the son will  be a Bizayon HaTorah, an insult to the Torah (as insulting a Torah scholar or treating him with less respect than he deserves is akin to insulting the Torah itself) and that cannot be forgone (ibid.)


Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh

1) A student who wants to leave his hometown to travel to learn in a Yeshiva or with a Rebbi in a different city where he feels he will excel in his studies, may do so even over the protest of his parents who don’t want him to go, even if the reason they don’t want him to go is out of concern for his safety or well being. (Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 240:25)

Likewise, if a parent tells their son to not study with a particular Chavrusa, study partner, the son need not heed their request.

2) If a son wants to  remain in yeshiva to learn Torah full time  and his parents want him to leave the study halls and study other subjects, even part time,  so he can train to earn an honest living, he does not need to heed their request and can remain in yeshiva.

If the reason a parent wants the child to leave a certain yeshiva or not study with a particular person is because the parent knows that the person or institution will cause a failing in the Yiras Shomayim of the son or other valid reasons, indeed the son should pay attention to the parent’s concerns.

If a son wants to fast for a day or longer as an atonement for a sin that he committed and the parents tell him not to as they are worried for his health, he need not listen to them. (However, before undertaking any such regimen of fasting or other such sigufim, a Rav should be consulted to discuss if this is an appropriate form of Teshuva for the individual)


1) If a parent tells a child not to daven in a certain Shul and the child feels that they will daven better (i.e. with more Kavanah) there, he need not heed the request of the parent. (See Pischei Teshuva Yoreh Deah 240:23)

If a son wants to marry a particular girl who he feels will be a suitable shidduch for him to build a good Torah home with and the parents object [for reasons other than if they feel it's Halachically or hashkafically inappropriate or if they know [for sure] that she has done improper things that have ruined her reputation] the son need not heed the parents’ wishes. The same applies to a daughter. (Rama ibid. See also Sdei Chemed Os Chof Klal 147 and Shu”t Meishiv Davar Vol. 2 Siman 50)

2) If a parent advises a child to divorce his wife, he is not obligated to listen unless the woman has done things or behaved is such a way in which the Halacha mandates divorcing her, and in that case it is indeed a Mitzvah to listen to the parent and divorce her.

For Halacha L’ma’aseh in all of the above and other similar cases, there may be situations where the parents’ worries are warranted and even if not Halachically obligated to listen to them, a Rav or other Torah sage should be consulted before disregarding the parents’ wishes, as most of the time the parents [who are Torah observant Jews] have their children’s best interest in mind and it makes sense to at least hear them out carefully and take their advice and suggestions seriously.

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