Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

HONORING OUR PARENTS Part 5

Last week we discussed some of the laws behind the command to honor our parents and saw that we are obligated to provide for their needs. What is the law when our parents ask us to do something that does not fall into the category of serving them, rather it is relevant to our own lives? For example, if a parent tells his child that he should change his eating habits, is the child obligated to listen?

The answer is that he is not technically obligated to listen to his parentís request in such a situation. The reason is that the command to honor our parents is limited to providing for their needs. Any request that they make of their child with regard to his own lifestyle is not part of the command. Of course, it is commendable and often advisable to listen to oneís parents requests because it pleases them to do so. However, if the child believes that the parentís request or instruction is not in his best interests then he is not obligated to listen.

This idea take on great significance when oneís parents want him to live his life in a certain fashion, for example to choose a particular career. These issues are not within the realm of control that a parent has over his child. If the child does not want to conduct his life in the way that his parent desires, he has no obligation to do so. The child should, nonetheless, try to act as respectfully as possible in rejecting his parentís instructions.

This principle is explicitly stated in Jewish law with regard to whom the child chooses to marry. The parent does not have the right to instruct him who he should marry. It is important to note that, often, the parents do have a point of view that is worth taking into consideration given their life experience and deep knowledge of their child.

One may wonder why the command to honor our parents does NOT include requests that are not directly relevant to serving the parent. The answer is that honoring our parents does not mean living our lives in the way that they prescribe. Every individual has the right and ability to choose the life path that he follows and his parents do not have the right to take this right away from him. Thus we see that honoring our parents requires that we do our utmost to provide for their needs, but at the same time, it does not force us to live our life according to their vision.


Text Copyright © 2008 by Rabbi Yehonasan Gefen and Torah.org


 






ARTICLES ON DEVARIM AND THE THREE WEEKS:

View Complete List

Children are a Gift
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5762

Shabbos Hosting
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5758

Elusive Allusions
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5764

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Rebuilding the Temple
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5768

Placing The Partitions
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5770

Shabbos Chazon
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5762

> Faithful Contentment
Rabbi Naphtali Hoff - 5774

Because of Us, not Through Us
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770

Fear Itself
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5758

ArtScroll

Utilizing our Gifts Properly
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5764

About This We Cry!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5766

The Speech That Never Ends
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5764

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

What Are We Mourning?
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5771

Flight to Freedom
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5763

A Gift to Claim
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5756

How We Suffer
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information