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

Shabat Outweighs the Ninth Day of Av
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5772

Parshas Devarim - Eichah?
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5758

And So The Journey Continues
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5765

ArtScroll

In Our Best Interest
Rabbi Elly Broch - 5764

Tooth and Nail
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5770

The Secret to Rebuke
Shlomo Katz - 5772

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Why Do We Mourn?
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756

One Heart
Rabbi Label Lam - 5771

The Purpose of the Fifth Book
Shlomo Katz - 5767

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Striving to Succeed
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5761

Our Father, Our Light
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Careful Consideration of Chinuch Concessions
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5768

> Speaking Louder
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5756

In a Month We Call -ďAvĒ
Rabbi Label Lam - 5765

Small Allusions
Rabbi Chaim Flom - 5767

No Empty Matter
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5766



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