Halacha for Wednesday 30 Sivan 5779 July 3 2019

The Land of Israel and Honoring One’s Parents

Question: If one resides in Israel and one’s parents reside outside of Israel and the parents request that the individual come to live with them in their country of residence (outside of Israel), is one obligated to listen to one’s parents because of the commandment to honor one’s parents?

Answer: Our Sages relate an incident in the Midrash Sifri that once, Rabbi Yehuda ben Betera, Rabbi Matya ben Charash, Rabbi Chanina ben Achi, and Rabbi Yehoshua were travelling from Israel to abroad and when they arrived at the furthermost border of the Land of Israel, they raised their eyes heavenwards, cried, tore their clothing, and exclaimed the verse, “And you shall inherit it and dwell in it” as well as the verse that follows, “And you shall observe to do all of the statutes and laws” in order to teach us that the Mitzvah of dwelling in the Land of Israel is equivalent to all of the other Mitzvot. At this point, they turned around and returned to their respective places.

The Ramban writes in his Sefer Ha’Mitzvot that the Mitzvah to dwell in the Land of Israel is a positive Torah commandment even nowadays. The Rashbetz and most other Poskim rule likewise.

The Maharam of Rottenberg rules in one of his responses that one should not listen to a parent who commands one not to move to Israel, as our Sages expound (Yevamot 5b) the verse “Every man shall fear his mother and father and keep my Shabbat, I am Hashem” to mean that you are all obligated in my honor. This means that the reason why the phrase “I am Hashem” appears after the commandment to fear one’s parents is in order to teach us that everyone is obligated in Hashem’s honor. Thus, if one’s father commands one to do something that is contrary to any Mitzvah, one may not heed one’s father, for the honor of Hashem always comes first. The Poskim agree that even if one’s father commands one to transgress even a rabbinic enactment, one should not listen to one’s father, for Hashem’s honor precedes one’s father’s regarding any matter, for one’s father is likewise commanded to heed the edicts of our Sages. Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De’ah, Section 240) rules likewise.

Hagaon Mabit (Rabbeinu Moshe bar Yosef Tarani, one of the greatest Sephardic Acharonim; contemporary and friend of Maran Ha’Bet Yosef and served as a rabbinical judge on Maran’s Bet Din) ruled on a similar matter where one swore to move to Israel and then his father demanded that he annul this vow and not move that the individual was prohibited from annulling the vow and was required to fulfill the vow by moving to Israel thereby disobeying his father, for living in Israel is a great Mitzvah even nowadays. He adds that this individual bears no sin for not fulfilling the Mitzvah of honoring one’s parents, for his parents can move to Israel with him where he will be able to honor them there.

Based on the above we can understand that it is certainly forbidden to move away from Israel in order to fulfill the Mitzvah of honoring one’s parents. Nevertheless, this is a situation where this is permissible which is when the son wishes to leave Israel for a short visit with his parents who reside outside of Israel in order to honor them and be happy with them; this is permissible because this is not considered nullifying the Mitzvah of dwelling in the Land of Israel since this is only temporary, similar to what the Rashbetz writes that one may leave Israel only in order to study Torah and fulfill the Mitzvah of honoring one’s parents. The Poskim explain his ruling to mean that one may certainly not leave Israel permanently in order to fulfill the Mitzvah of honoring one’s parents; rather, when wishes to leave on temporarily in order to visit one’s parents and then to immediately return to Israel, this is permissible. However, there is no room whatsoever to allow permanently leaving Israel in order to honor one’s parents.

Summary: One who lives in Israel should not leave Israel in order to live close by to one’s parents. Nevertheless, it is permissible to leave Israel for a short visit with one’s parents in order to fulfill the Mitzvah of honoring one’s parents.

We must, nonetheless, point out that this issue is a very delicate one that sometimes needs the guidance of a prominent halachic authority based on the specific case, such as when such a decision will cause strife and disunity among the various family members or when this may cause others to stray from the path of Torah and Mitzvot, such as when the individual residing in Israel is the spiritual pillar of the entire family as far as Torah observance. In such cases there may be room for leniency to allow him to leave Israel for the greater good of the above issues.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

Thermometers on Shabbat

Question: Is it permissible to use a thermometer on Shabbat? Answer: Clearly, there is no room to take one’s temperature with an electronic/digital thermometer. Our discussion will revolve around using a thermometer that is not electronic and contains mercury which expands and rises as it h......

Read Halacha

A Driver’s License-“Lashon Hara”

Question: If an individual wishes to obtain a driver’s license and I am aware of a medical problem that will impair him from driving, may I relay this information to the Department of Motor Vehicles? Answer: The Rambam (Chapter 1 of Hilchot Rotze’ach) writes: “Anyone who has the......

Read Halacha

Various Dangers- A Car on the Road

In the previous Halachot, we have discussed the positive Torah commandment for one to make a railing around one’s roof so that no one falls from there. After explaining this Mitzvah, the Rambam (Chapter 11 of Hilchot Rotze’ach U’Shmirat Nesfesh) adds: “Similarly, it is a M......

Read Halacha

Widows and Orphans

The Torah states (Shemot 22): “You shall not oppress any widow or orphan. If you oppress them and they call out to me, I shall surely hear their cry. My anger shall flare and I shall kill you with the sword; your wives shall then be widows and your children orphans.” The Torah explains t......

Read Halacha


Sleeping on Shabbat is Enjoyable- An Incident Regarding Maran zt”l During His Visit to the United States

Question: Is there a Mitzvah to sleep on Shabbat in order to fulfill the edict of “Sleeping on Shabbat is enjoyable” or is it preferable to delve in the holy Torah all day long? Answer: We find that the Rishonim already mention that there is a Mitzvah to sleep on Shabbat, for “s......

Read Halacha

An Orphaned Student and a Divorced Woman

Question: I am a teacher and I have an orphaned girl in my class. How must I act when she misbehaves? Similarly, a colleague of mine is a divorced woman. Is there any special prohibition to cause them pain? Answer: In the previous Halacha we have explained that Hashem has commanded us not to oppr......

Read Halacha

The Order for Lighting Shabbat and Chanukah Candles

There is a disagreement among the Rishonim as to the order of lighting Shabbat and Chanukah candles on Erev Shabbat Chanukah. The Ba’al Halachot Gedolot (commonly referred to as “Behag”) is of the opinion that Chanukah candles must be lit before Shabbat candles because women cu......

Read Halacha

A Woman Scholarly in Torah

In the previous Halachot we have discussed the laws of rising for an elderly man or woman as well as the obligation to rise before a Torah scholar and the wife of a Torah scholar. In the previous Halacha we have explained that Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l writes that a female student mu......

Read Halacha