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Shulchan-Aruch

Part II: Yoreh De'ah

Chapter 17 - HONORING PARENTS, TEACHERS AND SCHOLARS

A person must honor and respect ("fear") his parents, but the court does not enforce these obligations (240:1) and parents may excuse their children from them (see 240:19,25). "Respecting" means not occupying their places, sitting while they are standing, addressing them by name, contradicting them, or showing resentment if they behave improperly (see 240:2-3,7-8,10-11), as well as giving them credit (240:6); a person should not refer even to a deceased parent by name (240:2,9) or use a grave site that was designated for him (364:7). "Honoring" means feeding, clothing, and serving them; their resources, if available, may be used for these purposes (see 240:4-5). A parent must be obeyed unless this involves violating or ignoring a commandment (see 240:12-18,25;242:35), but a parent should not be too demanding of his child (240:19) and must not strike his adult child (240:20). A person should also honor and respect a step-parent, especially while the parent is still alive (240:21); an older brother (see 240:22-23); and a parent-in-law or grandparent (240:24).

It is forbidden to strike or curse or show disrespect to a parent (241:1-2;4-7), but a surgeon may operate on his parent if no one else is available to do so (241:3). A proselyte must also honor and respect his parents (see 241:8-9).

A person must honor and respect those who taught him Torah even more than his parents (242:1,15-24,28-29,34). A teacher may excuse his students from their obligations to him (242:32) and should also have respect for his students (242:33). A person is forbidden to issue halachic rulings in the presence of his teacher or to become a preacher or teacher in his teacher's lifetime without the teacher's or other rabbis' permission (242:2-6). On the types of halachic rulings to which these principles apply see 242:7-11,31,36; on the type of teacher to whom they apply see 242:30-31. Even a person whose teacher has died must not issue rulings unless he is qualified to do so, but if he is qualified he should not refrain from doing so (242:12-14;31).

Full-time scholars are exempt from many types of community service and taxes (see 243:1-3). They should be given priority in legal and business affairs (243:4-5). It is forbidden to show disrespect to them (243:6-7), but they themselves should not pronounce a ban (see Ch.29) against a person who showed disrespect for them unless he did it publicly (243:8-9).

A person must usually stand up in the presence of scholars or of righteous persons more than 70 years old when they are standing (244:1); on the details of this requirement see 244:2-18;376:1.

Shulchan Aruch, Copyright (c) 2000 ProjectGenesis, Inc.

 


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