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Ask the rabbi Torah and Jewish Thought Principles of Mitzva Observance
Question
Is there an obligation to do the mitzvah of kibud av v’em after the death of that parent? i.e. is visiting the kever of a parent a Chova according to the 10 commandments? Would it only be on the day of the Yahrtzeit or can it be any day? Can it justify a trip from Eretz Yisrael to Chul even though it’s not one of the accepted exemptions? Many thanks,
Answer
There is definitely an obligation to honor a Father & a Mother after their death, and as known the Mitzvah of Kibud Av Va’Eim is one of the 10 commandments. Visiting parent’s graves is considered a Mitzvah because the parent’s soul benefits from it, although it is not an obligation. The popular Minhag is to visit the grave after the Shiva [7 days], after the Shloshim [30 days], after 12 months and on the Yahrtzeit [anniversary of death], but one can also visit the grave on any other day. The Halachah is that one is permitted to leave Eretz Yisrael to Chutz La’aretz for any Mitzvah even to greet a friend; therefore it is permitted to go to Chutz La’aretz in order to visit parent’s graves although there is no obligation to do so. [קידושין לא: ושו"ע יו"ד סימן רמ סעיף ט, פני ברוך פרק לז, מ"ב סימן תקלא ס"ק יד].
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