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Reconciling with Non-Consenting Parents


Rabbi Yoel Lieberman

Sivan 5, 5774
No, forgive me .. if I gave you the wrong impression. During my exegetical studies of the entire Tanach, .. after studying the Exodus 17 (If father refuse) and Genesis 24 (Rebecca and Isaac) .. I couldn’t help but to wonder .. what would happen in those cases .. if a married child desires reconciliation with their non-consenting parents .. years later. I had heard that Orthodox parents have .. sometimes .. had a funeral and declared that son/daughter .. dead to them & relatives. So, I couldn’t help but to ask .. how could a son/daughter reconcile with their parents .. if this scenario came full circle?? Just asking your opinion & what may various Rabbi suggest in those cases.
ב"ה Shalom I see no resemblance in the cases you brought from the Tanach to the discussion of reconciliation between child and parent. In the case of Exodus 22, the issue in question if one's daughter was seduced by a man for which the Torah requires that man to wed that girl. However, if the father opposes this man to take his daughter then this person is fined. In the Talmud (Kiddushin 46a) there is also inference from the same verse that the seduced herself may oppose this marriage. I found no inference from here as to the authority of the father to oppose the spouse of choice of one's son or daughter. Neither does Isaac take Rebecca against his father's will. The contrary, it is with Abraham's recommendation and blessings. The Halacha is on this matter is as said in the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 140:25), that a child does not have to accept the opinion of his or her parent when choosing a spouse. Of course, neither does the daughter or son have the right to go out of their way to humiliate and disgrace the parents when doing so. I have heard of cases when a child married out of the faith, the parents would mourn the loss of their child. I think these practices were in the "shtetel " in Eastern Europe when the Jewish community and family were close knit and fervently orthodox and any step out of the fold was viewed in the most negative manner. In our times when the dimensions of intermarriage are catastrophic there is a little or no effect in such practices. On the bright side, there is nothing that stands in the way of repentance and reconciliation. If the child looks for acceptance and appeasement with her parents, she should be accepted with open arms. The rebellion of children against their parents is one of the symptoms of the Messianic age. The return of the hearts of the parents to their children and their return of the hearts of the children to their parents is the prophecy of Malachi as to the task of Eliyahu the prophet, for whom we long. Chag Same'ach
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