Halacha for Monday 4 Kislev 5780 December 2 2019

The Laws of Honoring and Revering One’s Parents

As was mentioned in the previous Halacha, the Mitzvah of honoring one’s parents includes two different aspects: honoring one’s parents and revering one’s parents. Indeed, the Torah states, “Honor your father and mother” and “Each man shall fear his mother and father.”

What does revering entail? One should not stand in one’s father’s designated place for prayer or sit in his designated seat at home (for instance, at the head of the table). Additionally, one should not contradict one’s father’s words by saying, “Father, what you have said is incorrect” or approve of his words by saying, “My father’s words seem correct.” (This shall be explained further.)

Some say that one may not sit in one’s father’s designated seat even when the father is not home. Others say that this is only a problem when this is done in the father’s presence, for only then is it a display of audacity and a lack of respect by the child sitting in his father’s place. However, if the father is not home, one may sit in his place.

Halachically speaking, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l writes that according to the letter of the law, a child may indeed sit in his father’s designated place if the father is not present. Nevertheless, we must add that in places such like ours where sitting in one’s father’s designated seat is considered disrespectful toward one’s father and his honor, for instance, due to the fact that he has a special chair and the like, according to all opinions one may not be lenient in this matter, for disrespect to one’s father is prohibited in any situation.

To what extent must one revere one’s parents? Even if one was wearing expensive clothing and sitting among important and influential people and his parents arrived, tore his clothing, hit him on the head, and spit at him, one may not humiliate them by exclaiming, “What have you done to me?,” and the like; rather, one must remain silent and fear Hashem, King of all kings, who has commanded one to do so. (This law is derived from the incident recorded by the Gemara, which we have mentioned in the previous Halacha, about how once,  Dama ben Netina was bedecked with golden garments and was sitting among honorary Roman noblemen; his mother came, tore his clothing, whacked him on the head, spit in his face, and yet, he did not humiliate her).

What does honoring entail? One must feed his parents, give them to drink, dress them, cover them, and the like. All this should be done with a smiling and radiant countenance, for even if one were to feed one’s parents stuffed ducklings every day while bearing a scowling expression, one will be punished for this. Indeed, cheer and a radiant countenance is an integral part of the Mitzvah of honoring one’s parents

To what extent must one honor one’s parents? Even if a parent takes a wallet full of gold coins belonging to the child and throws it into the sea in front of the child, the child should not humiliate them, distress them, or become angry at them; rather, he should accept this Heavenly decree and remain silent. Some say that if the child has the ability to prevent the parent from throwing the wallet into the sea, he may in fact exercise it. In any event, he may summon the parent to a Bet Din after the fact, for one is not obligated to lose money due to the Mitzvah of honoring one’s parents.

In coming Halachot we shall, G-d willing, explain the differences between honoring and revering one’s parents.

8 Halachot Most Popular

The Laws of Koshering Vessels for Pesach

One may not use Chametz vessels on Pesach since vessels which have been used to cook in or have had hot Chametz placed in them have Chametz flavor absorbed in them. Thus, just as we separate between meat and dairy utensils all year long, we must likewise separate between the utensils we use all year......

Read Halacha

Arriving Late to or Skipping Some Portions of the Megillah Reading

Every member of the Jewish nation is obligated to read the Megillah on the day of Purim. One must read it during the night and once again the next day, as the verse states, “My G-d, I call out to you during the day and you do not answer; during the night I have no rest.” This verse is wr......

Read Halacha

Some Detailed Laws Regarding Kitniyot (Legumes) on Pesach

In the previous Halacha we have briefly discussed the primary laws of Chametz and Kitniyot (legumes) on Pesach. We have explained that according to all communities, legumes such as rice and chick peas are not actual Chametz, for only grain products can be considered Chametz. However, Ashkenazim cust......

Read Halacha

Koshering Sinks and Kitchen Countertops

We have previously discussed that just as one should designate vessels for milk and meat respectively, likewise, regarding the holiday of Pesach, one should not use one’s regular Chametz vessels that were used all year round; rather, one should designate special kosher for Pesach vessels. N......

Read Halacha


Caution Regarding Chametz Issues

The Prohibition to Eat and Benefit From Chametz The Torah (Shemot 13) states regarding the holiday of Pesach: “Matzot shall be eaten for seven days; neither leaven nor sourdough shall be seen in your borders.” Our Sages taught in Masechet Pesachim (21b among other places) through exp......

Read Halacha

Chametz Which Becomes Inedible Before Pesach

The Prohibition to Eat and Benefit from Chametz on Pesach Just as one may not eat Chametz on Pesach, Hashem has likewise commanded us not to retain any Chametz in our possession on Pesach. It is similarly forbidden to benefit from Chametz on Pesach, as we have already explained. Actual Chametz W......

Read Halacha

Koshering an Oven for Pesach

Question: Can a household oven be koshered for Pesach? Answer: Maran zt”l discusses this issue in several of his works (among them Yabia Omer, Volume 5, Yoreh De’ah, Chapter 7) and this issue is a halachically complex one for the flowing reasons: When foods are being baked or cooke......

Read Halacha

Matanot La’Evyonim

In the previous Halacha we briefly discussed the Mitzvah of “Matanot La’Evyonim” on Purim day which is the distribution of two monetary gifts, one to each pauper. What Must One Give? In order to fulfill this Mitzvah, one need not give actual gifts; rather, it is permissible to ......

Read Halacha