Listening to a Rasha  

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By Rabbi Berach Steinfeld

                In Vayikra 19:3 the Torah tells us one has to fear his mother and father. The Gemara Yevamos 5b says one might think that Kibbud Av and Kibbud Eim is docheh Shabbos, but the above posuk finishes with the words, “That you shall keep my Shabbos.” Rashi in Kedoshim says that the Torah put the halacha of keeping Shabbos right next to Kibbud Av V’eim to tell you that despite the fact that Hashem commanded us to honor our father and mother; nevertheless, if one’s parent requests you to be mechallel Shabbos, don’t listen to the parent. This rule would apply to all other mitzvos as well. 

There is a famous machlokes Rishonim whether or not a person needs to honor a father who is a rasha. One group of Rishonim is of the opinion that one is not required to honor a parent who is a rasha. This is the opinion of Rashi in Sanhedrin 47a. The Rema in Yoreh Deah 240:18 agrees with Rashi. On the other hand, the Bais Yosef  paskens that one still has a chiyuv to honor his parent, even if the parent is a rasha. If we go according to the opinion that one is not required to honor a parent who is a rasha, why would we need a special posuk telling us not to listen to a parent when he or she says to be mechallel Shabbos. This father would be considered a rasha. Why would somebody even think of needing to listen to him?

There are a number of answers to this question. The first answer could be based upon the premise that if a father commands his son to be mechallel Shabbos he would not be doing an issur since an asseh of Kibbud Av is docheh the lo saaseh of Shabbos. The father would therefore not be considered a Rasha. The Torah has to therefore give a special posuk to say that a father cannot command a son to be mechallel Shabbos.

The second answer is based on the Hagahos Maimonis, Hilchos Mamrim 6:12 where we see that through speech alone one is not considered a rasha since the father could always say that we have a klal,    “Divrei horav vedivrei hatalmud divrei mi shomim. We find the only time a person is considered a rasha is if he is a meisis.

The third tirutz is based on the Chezkuni. In the case of a father asking his son to be oveir a shvus which is a DeRabbanan, he still does not listen to him. Similarly, even in a case where he was mekabel Shabbos early, and his father was not, he still would not need to listen to his father. The Chida answers that even if the father is under the impression that this action is something allowed to be done on Shabbos, he would not be considered a rasha.

May we be zocheh to be mekayem both the mitzvos of Kibbud Av and Shmiras Shabbos properly.

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