By Rabbi Yitschak Rudomin MA
Director: Jewish Professionals Institute www.jpi.org/ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Author: The Second World War and Jewish Education in America www.jpi.org/holocaust/
Part of a series on Shalom Bayis and Kibbud Av Va’Em
There has been much continued interest in a ground-breaking article published recently in a Jewish magazine about the rising phenomenon among Frum families of married children who cut off relations with their own parents for all sorts of reasons that usually have the word “abuse” in them written from the point of view of the “abused” children.
In a contrasting article last week on MATZAV.com I tried to present a more balanced and objective perspective that would give equal time to the parents’ responses. While the Jewish magazine has so far not published an article from the “abused” parents’ perspective many readers of MATZAV.com posted a variety of important responses all of which I greatly respect.
The Jewish magazine that published the original article that sparked this public debate has acknowledged that it was flooded with readers’ responses but so far it has not published them. It just stated that its “Halachic” position was made clear by the original social worker and columnist that were interviewed.
With all due respect but such a serious genuinely Halachic matter needs to be sourced from the Torah, the Shulchan Oruch and from known Gedolim and Poskim who can rule on this serious matter and make their positions known in writing for all to read and know, as is done in all major Klal matters.
So far this has not been done and it would be worthwhile before jumping into the details and exceptions if the real sources in the Torah and Halacha were noted and acknowledged first.
As a young child I recall hearing a popular song that went: “When you read you begin with a, b, c …” and it important in having this debate that everyone knows and agrees to the “a, b, c” of Kibbud Av Va’Em (honoring parents) from the Torah and the Shulchan Oruch that is based on the Talmud and the Rishonim. Then we can move on to “modern times” and see where we go from there.
There are many sources in the Chumash, the Torah itself that commands the Bnai Yisroel about the meaning of honoring parents and the rewards and consequences for doing so or not.
I will let the Torah speak for itself before any comments or commentaries to it are added (Translation from “The Living Torah”):
* Shmos (Exodus) 20:12: “Honor your father and mother. You will then live long on the land that God your lord is giving you.”
* Shmos (Exodus) 21:17: “Whoever curses his father or mother shall be put to death.”
* Vayikra (Leviticus) 18:7: Do not commit an [immoral] offense against your father or mother…”
* Vayikra (Leviticus) 19:3: “Every person must respect his mother and father, and keep My Sabbaths. I am God your Lord.”
* Vayikra (Leviticus) 20:9: “Any person who curses his father or mother shall therefore be put to death. Since he has cursed his father or mother, he shall be stoned to death.”
* Devarim (Deuteronomy) 5:16: “Honor your father and mother as God your Lord commanded you. You will then live long and have it well on the land that God your Lord is giving you.”
* Devarim (Deuteronomy) 27:16: ” ‘Cursed is he who shows disrespect for his father and mother.’ All the people shall say ‘Amen.’ ”
The above seven sources Mide’oraiysa from the Torah itself spoken by HKB”H Himself about the serious nature of any Jew’s duty and obligation to honor parents should leave no one in doubt about the profound gravity of this subject.
All those promoting and “justifying” the stratagem of adult married children cutting off with their parents for whatever reasons, can they honestly say that they have no worries about pushing aside the above Mitzvos that HKB”H has commanded His Am HaNivchar (Chosen People) in His holy Torah?
In a future article we will see how the holy Shulchan Oruch presents the subject of Kibbud Av Va’em IY”H.
To be continued…