Halacha for Wednesday 29 Cheshvan 5780 November 27 2019

Disrespecting Parents

The severity of disrespecting one’s parents is indeed very grave; more serious that what it may seem to people. The Mekubalim describe lengthy atonement processes for various sins, such as if one swore falsely, which is understandably a great sin, one may atone for this by fasting thirty-seven fasts to atone for one’s transgression (we are not discussing what one should actually do in this generation that is weaker than previous ones). The great Mekubalim who understood the extent of the spiritual damage that results from each sin knew to ascribe the atonement process for each sin. Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l recounted that many people would go to the great Mekubal, Hagaon Harav Efraim Ha’Kohen zt”l (father of Hagaon Harav Shalom Cohen Shlit”a, Rosh Yeshivat Porat Yosef) and he would assign various atonement processes for the people who came to him.

If one humiliates one’s father or mother, the Sefer Charedim writes that one must fast sixty fasts in order to atone for this sin. We can clearly see the gravity of the sin of one who is not careful with one’s parents’ respect. Fortunate is one who is careful with this Mitzvah, for the attribute of reward is far greater than the attribute of punishment.

Let us now discuss the custom of Maran zt”l who honored his parents tremendously. He especially honored his mother in a unique manner because he was grateful for the fact that when he toiled in Torah study in his youth, she would take his place working in his father’s store. She would likewise always encourage him to immerse himself in his Torah study. Although they were extremely poor, she would always save some expensive chocolates and other sweets and give them to him when he concluded his daily study. In this way, Maran was encouraged to continue in his quest of Torah knowledge while other children his age went on to work and enjoy the pleasures of this world.

When Maran zt”l was appointed as a judge in the rabbinical court in Petach Tikvah, he was presented with the special rabbinical coat called a “frock.” Maran zt”l made sure to wear this coat for the first time in the presence of his mother so that she should witness his rise to greatness and be proud of her son. Maran would always make sure to visit her at home and gladden her heart. Even after her passing, Maran would mention her admiringly in the introductions to his various works.

Based on the above, one must be prepared to honor one’s parents in any and all circumstances, even if it is quite difficult to do so, for instance, even if they are disgruntled people or if they are, G-d-forbid, ill and caring for them is very time-consuming. One who honors one’s parents shall merit and long and fulfilled life and one’s children shall honor him in turn. Fortunate are those communities whose custom it is to take their elderly parents into their home and provide for all of their needs in a most dignified manner. May they merit all of the blessings of the Torah.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

Eating Meat Following Rosh Chodesh Av

The Mishnah in Masechet Ta’anit (26b) tells us that on Erev Tisha Be’av during the last meal one eats before the fast, one may not eat meat, drink wine, or eat two cooked foods, such as rice and an egg. Although the letter of the law dictates that the prohibition to eat meat only applies......

Read Halacha

Laws Pertaining to Tisha Be’av

There are five categories of abstinence which must be observed on Tisha Be’av: Eating and drinking, washing one’s self, rubbing one’s body with oils or lotions, wearing leather shoes, and marital relations. Our Sages also prohibited learning Torah on Tisha Be’av, for the word......

Read Halacha

Havdala on Motza’ei Shabbat Which Coincides with Tisha Be’av and the Laws of an Ill Individual Who Must Eat on Tisha Be’av

On years during which Tisha Be’av falls out on Motza’ei Shabbat, such as this year, 5782, there are three opinions among the Rishonim regarding how Havdala should be recited on a cup of wine on Motza’ei Shabbat. The first opinion is that of the Geonim who write that one should r......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Taking Haircuts During the “Three Weeks"- The Year 5782

The Customary Prohibition of Haircuts As a result of the mourning observed during the “Three Weeks,” the Ashkenazi custom is to abstain from shaving and taking haircuts beginning from the Seventeenth of Tammuz until the Tenth of Av. Nevertheless, the Sephardic custom is not as string......

Read Halacha


Those Who are Obligated and Exempt from the Fast of Tisha Be’av and their Status When Tisha Be’av Falls Out on Motza’ei Shabbat

Someone Ill with a Non-Life-Threatening Illness, An Elderly Person, and a Woman who has Recently Given Birth One who is ill (meaning when one is actually bedridden and the like, even if the illness is not life-threatening) is exempt from fasting on Tisha Be’av. When in doubt about one’s......

Read Halacha

When Av Begins, We Diminish Our Joy

This coming Friday will mark Rosh Chodesh Av. Next Shabbat will mark Tisha Be’av, however, since fast days are prohibited on Shabbat (besides for Yom Kippur), Tisha Be’av will be observed next Motza’ei Shabbat and Sunday. May Hashem soon switch this month to one of joy and celebrat......

Read Halacha

The Laws of the Last Meal Before the Fast of Tisha Be’av on Shabbat

On Erev Tisha Be’av, our Sages prohibited eating meat and drinking wine during the last meal before the onset of the fast of Tisha Be’av held after halachic midday. They likewise forbade eating two cooked foods during this meal.  Nevertheless, this year, 5782, since the fast of T......

Read Halacha

Tisha Be’av Which Coincides With Motza’ei Shabbat- Clothing for Tisha Be’av

The Baraita in Masechet Ta’anit (30a) states that our Sages prohibited five things on Tisha Be’av: Eating and drinking, washing one’s self, rubbing one’s self with oils or lotions, wearing leather shoes, and marital relations. Our Sages said (Ta’anit 30b): “One......

Read Halacha