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  • Family and Society
  • Honoring Parents vs. Other Mitzvot

Honoring parents


Rabbi Chaim Tabasky

24 Iyyar 5765
I have a question on one of your previous posts. In the torah one of the ten commandments is: "Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy G*d giveth thee." Am I correct in understanding that you believe it just to disobey ones parents, thus dishonoring for such a reason as below? May I ask why a child’s desire regardless of Mitzva takes precedence over obeying this commandment?
This is a complex question. The obligation to honor parents means to provide for their welfare and not to do anything that is demeaning to them in any way. According to most authorities it does not include following instructions about life style (e.g. place of abode, vocation, choice of spouse, how you dress etc). However, it is certainly forbidden to cause parents distress, and if they would be very worried to the point of physical and/or emotional anguish, then honor comes in to play. Another factor is that I believe if parents are supporting a child, that child has a basic obligation to respect their wishes. If your parents are not supporting you, and they don't want you to go because they don't respect your beliefs or actions, you are not obligated to follow their directives. If it will cause them anguish, then the question is if the "Mitzvah" of going to Gush Katif is sufficient to overcome the obligatioin of Kibbud Av v"Em. I am doubtful.
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