Newsletter Parashat Yitro – Aseret Hadiberot

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‘Aseret HaDiberot – The Ten Commandments

It is the minhag of all Jews from North Africa, as well as our brothers, the Ashkenazim, to stand up during the reading of the ‘Aseret HaDiberot (the Ten Commandments) on Shabu’ot, Shabat Yitro, and Shabat VaEthanan, to commemorate the time when Yisrael stood at Har Sinai as if we are once again welcoming the face of the Shekhina (Divine Presence) and accepting the Tora.[1]

However, Rambam[2] writes not to stand for the ‘aseret hadiberot because the heretics will claim, “we only attribute importance to these ten misvot as they are the only ones that are true; the rest of the Tora is not true,” has veshalom. The reason we continue to follow this minhag, is because the heretics at the time of Rambam were much different then the heretics of today as heretics of today do not make such claims.[3] Ribi Shalom Messas[4] is also of this opinion and explains further that whether we were to remain seated or we stood during the ‘aseret hadiberot it would not change the perception of the heretics; either way they would find ways to deny the Tora. Also, it is clear that since we continue to read the remainder of the parasha – and not solely the ‘aseret hadiberot – there is no reason to worry about such claims.[5] Ribi Yehuda ‘Ayash of Algeria is also of this opinion and writes that the claims of the heretics could only persuade an ignoramus of nowadays using such logic.[6] Furthermore, Maran HaHida[7] explains that since we make berakhot before and after each ‘aliya latora – and not just the ‘aliya of the ‘aseret hadiberot – we have no worry that heretics will make a claim that the rest of the Tora is untrue.

Maran HaHida[8] cautions us, however, to stand from the beginning of the ‘aliya in order to show that we stand for other pesuqim as well. He also adds that it is very important that if the majority of the congregation is standing, one is NOT allowed to sit, as this illustrates a belittlement of the ‘Aseret HaDiberot, G-d forbid. Nonetheless, the majority of Moroccan posqim write that the common minhag is to stand only upon reaching the ‘Aseret HaDiberot for we are not concerned about the claims of the heretics at all.[9]

It was the tradition to gather women together and read them these Ten Commandments, in Arabic “ ‘Asr Klmat,” along with its explanation according to Hazal.[10]

Certain parts of the parasha are read in a special tune, among them the ‘Aseret HaDiberot and the Shirat HaYam in order to ascribe special importance to these sections of the Tora as they speak about the high spiritual level of Bené Yisrael and not, has veshalom, to say that they are more important than the rest of the Tora.[11]


 The minhag of Spanish Portuguese synagogues is to STAND during the reading of the Aseret Hadiberot

[1] As the Tora says “they were standing at a distance.” This minhag is cited by Dibré Shalom VeEmet (Heleq 2, p.72). Sefer Mamlekhet Kohanim records that this was also the minhag in Djerba and mainland Tunisia, Noheg BeHokhma p.143, QS”A Toledano (Siman 442:9), Yehavé Da’at Hazan (Heleq 3, O”H, Siman 13), Maté Yehuda ‘Ayash (Siman 1:6), Dabar Shemuel by Ribi Shemuel Abuhab (Siman 276), Kapé Aharon (Siman 39), and Sedé Hemed (Kelalé HaPosqim, Siman 5:14). In Shemesh Umaghen (Heleq 1, O”H, Siman 57, p.130) Ribi Shalom Messas solidifies our custom to stand based on the fact that today we do not have the same type of heretics that they had in the times of Hazal and because of whom this minhag was spoken out fiercely against. Maran HaHida (LeDavid Emet Siman 7:5) further says that one should stand in order to stir feelings of fear and trepidation as were felt at Har Sinai.

Those who speak out against this practice do so because to a foreigner it might seem as if the ‘Aseret HaDiberot are more important than the rest of the Tora. This gives reason for the heretics to believe that only the ‘Aseret HaDiberot were given at Har Sinai and not the rest of the Tora which is not the truth, has veshalom.

[2] In his handwritten responsa that was compiled along with approximately 367 other responses in 1934. (Siman 46).


[3] Ribi Moshé Feinstein’s response, Igerot Moshé (Heleq 4, O”H Siman 22).


[4] Shemesh Umaghen (Heleq 1, O”H Siman 57 p.130-1) and (Heleq 3, O”H Siman 55:3).


[5] Maghen Abot (Siman 1, p.53-4): Diné Hashqamat HaBoqer.


[6] Maté Yehuda (Siman 1:6).


[7] LeDavid Emet (Siman 7:5).


[8] Toub ‘Ayin (Siman 11).


[9] Ribi Yehuda ‘Ayash of Algeria (Maté Yehuda Siman 1:6), Ribi Yishaq Hazan (Yehavé Da’at, Heleq 3, Siman 13), Ribi Yosef Messas in Osar HaMikhtabim (Heleq 3, §1859), and HaMalakh Refael Berdugo as quoted by the QS”A of Ribi Refael Barukh Toledano (p.174), all say that the common minhag is to stand only once we reach the ‘Aseret HaDiberot. This is also the minhag of Tunisia (Mamlekhet Kohanim) and Libya (Netibot HaMa’arab, Shabu’ot §12).


[10] This is to make the Tora more pleasant to them, and with this they should be more helpful to their husbands in facilitating their Tora learning. See Nahagu Ha’Am (Shabu’ot §5, p.57) as the source and for the lyrics in Arabic.


[11] See Noheg BeHokhma (p.145 §13).






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Q & A on Parashat Yitro

All references are to the verses and Rashi’s commentary, unless otherwise stated.

  1. Yitro had 7 names. Why was one of his names Yeter ?
    18:1 – Because he caused a parsha to be added to the Torah. Yeter means addition.
  2. News of which two events motivated Yitro to come join the Jewish People?
    18:1 – The splitting of the sea and the war against Amalek.
  3. What name of Yitro indicates his love for Torah?
    18:1 – Chovav.
  4. Why was Tzipora with her father, Yitro, and not with Moshe when Bnei Yisraelleft Egypt?
    18:3 – When Aharon met Moshe with his family on their way down to Egypt, Aharon said to Moshe: "We're pained over the Jews already in Egypt, and you're bringing more Jews to Egypt?" Moshe, hearing this, sent his wife and children back to Midian.
  5. Why does verse 18:5 say that Yitro came to the desert — don't we already know that the Bnei Yisrael were in the desert?
    18:5 – To show Yitro's greatness. He was living in a luxurious place; yet he went to the desert in order to study the Torah.
  6. Why did Moshe tell Yitro all that G-d had done for the Jewish People?
    18:8 – To draw Yitro closer to the Torah way of life.
  7. According to the Midrash quoted by Rashi, how did Yitro respond when he was told about the destruction of Egypt?
    18:9 – He grieved.
  8. Who is considered as if he enjoys the splendor of the Shechina ?
    18:12 – One who dines with Torah scholars.
  9. On what day did Moshe sit to judge the Jewish People?
    18:13 – The day after Yom Kippur.
  10. Who is considered a co-partner in Creation?
    18:13 – A judge who renders a correct decision.
  11. "Moshe sat to judge the people, and the people stood before Moshe…." What bothered Yitro about this arrangement?
    18:14 – Yitro felt that the people weren't being treated with the proper respect.
  12. Why did Yitro return to his own land?
    18:27 – To convert the members of his family to Judaism.
  13. How did the encampment at Sinai differ from the other encampments?
    19:2 – The Jewish People were united.
  14. To whom does the Torah refer when it uses the term "Beit Yaakov "?
    19:3 – The Jewish women.
  15. How is G-d's protection of the Jewish People similar to an eagle's protection of its young?
    19:4 – An eagle carries its young on top of its wings to protect them from human arrows. So too, G-d's cloud of glory separated between the Egyptians and the Jewish camp in order to absorb Egyptian missiles and arrows fired at the Jewish People.
  16. What was G-d's original plan for Matan Torah ? What was the response of the Jewish People?
    19:9 – G-d offered to appear to Moshe and to give the Torah through him. The Jewish People responded that they wished to hear the Torah directly from G-d.
  17. How many times greater is the "measure of reward" than the "measure of punishment"?
    20:6 – 500 times.
  18. How is it derived that "Don't steal" refers to kidnapping?
    20:13 – Since it is written immediately after "Don't murder" and "Don't commit adultery," it is derived that "Don't steal" refers to a crime carrying the same penalty as the first two, namely, the death penalty.
  19. In response to hearing the Torah given at Sinai, how far backwards did the Jewish people retreat in fear?
    20:15 – They backed away from the mountain twelve mil (one mil is 2000 cubits).
  20. Why does the use of iron tools profane the altar?
    20:22 – The altar was created to extend life; iron is sometimes used to make weapons which shorten life.


Halachot from Maran Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Ztz'l

הקדמה להלכות כבוד אב ואם – יחסו של מרן זצ"ל לאמו ע"ה

לפני כמה שנים, למדנו בהלכה יומית את עיקר דיני כיבוד אב ואם, ומכיון שרבים מבקשים להבהיר עוד כמה פרטי דינים בנדונים אלו, וחסרו הרבה פרטים בהלכות שפורסמו כבר, לכן בימים הקרובים נדבר מעניני כבוד אב ואם, בתוספת נופך מרובה ממה שנכתב כאן כבר בעבר.

גודל החיוב בכבוד ההורים 
שנינו בברייתא במסכת קידושין (דף ל:) תנו רבנן, נאמר: "כבד את אביך ואת אמך",  ונאמר "כבד את ה' מהונך", השוה הכתוב כבוד אב ואם לכבוד המקום (המקום, היינו הקדוש ברוך הוא.) נאמר "איש אמו ואביו תיראו" ונאמר "את ה' אלוקיך תירא", השוה הכתוב מוראת אב ואם למוראת המקום.

כלומר, כל כך החמיר הקדוש ברוך בחיוב כבוד ההורים, עד שהשווה את כבודם ואת מוראם לכבודו ומוראו.

שלשה שותפים באדם 
תנו רבנן, שלשה שותפין באדם הקדוש ברוך הוא, ואביו ואמו. כלומר, שביצירת האדם שותפין האב והאם, והקדוש ברוך הוא נופח בו נשמה, מראה עין ושמיעת אוזן ודיבור, בזמן שאדם מכבד את אביו ואת אמו, אמר הקדוש ברוך הוא, מעלה אני עליכם כאילו דרתי ביניכם וכבדתם אותי.

עוד נאמר בתורה (ויקרא יט), "איש אמו ואביו תראו ואת שבתותי תשמורו", ללמדך, שאם יאמר לך אביך לחלל שבת, לא תשמע בקולו, שאף אביך מחוייב בכבוד ה' יתברך שצוה על שמירת השבת. וכן בכל עניני המצות, שאם יאמרו לך הוריך לעבור על אחת מכל מצות התורה או מדברי חכמים, לא תשמע בקולם, שאף הם מחוייבים במצות הללו.

כבוד אביו וכבוד אמו 
תניא, רבי אומר, גלוי וידוע לפני מי שאמר והיה העולם שהבן מכבד את אמו יותר מאביו, לפיכך הקדים הקדוש ברוך הוא כבוד אב לכבוד אם (שנאמר, "כבד את אביך ואת אמך"). וגלוי וידוע לפני מי שאמר והיה העולם שהבן מתיירא מאביו יותר מאמו, לפיכך הקדים הקדוש ברוך הוא מורא אם למורא האב. (שנאמר "איש אמו ואביו תיראו").
עד היכן כבוד אב ואם?
שאלו את רבי אליעזר, עד היכן כבוד אב ואם? אמר להם, צאו וראו מה עשה עובד כוכבים אחד באשקלון ודמא בן נתינה שמו, פעם אחת בקשו ממנו חכמים אבנים לאפוד של הכהן הגדול, והיה שוויו סכום עצום של שש מאות אלף דינרי זהב, והיה המפתח של אותו המקום שבו האבנים מונח תחת הכר שישן עליו אביו, וכדי לא לצער את אביו, לא הקיצו משנתו, והפסיד את ההון שהציעו לו חכמי ישראל. לשנה האחרת, נתן הקדוש ברוך הוא שכרו, שנולדה לו פרה אדומה בעדרו, ומכר אותה לחכמי ישראל בעד אותו סכום שהפסיד בשביל כבוד אביו.

ועוד סיפרו שם בגמרא על דמא בן נתינה, שפעם אחת היה לבוש בגדי זהב מאותם של נכבדי רומי, והיה יושב בין גדולי רומי, ובאה אמו וקרעה ממנו את אותו הבגד, וטפחה על ראשו וירקה בפניו, והוא לא הכלימה.

ועוד הביאו שם (דף לא:) מעשה ברבי טרפון, שבכל פעם שהייתה אמו יורדת ועולה למיטתה (שהייתה גבוהה מן הארץ) היה כורע כדי שתוכל אמו לרדת על גבו (דהיינו שהיה משמש לה כ"דרגש" לעלות ולרדת ממיטתה.) ועוד הובאו שם בגמרא כמה מעשים בגודל מצות כבוד אב ואם ועד היכן הדברים מגיעים. ומרן רבינו יוסף קארו, בשלחן ערוך (יו"ד סי' רמ) פתח את הלכות כבוד אב ואם "צריך ליזהר מאד בכבוד אביו ואמו ובמוראם", כי מצוה זו היא יקרה מאד, ובנקל יכול אדם להיכשל בה, ועל כן החובה מוטלת על כל אדם להיזהר הרבה במצוה זו לקיימה כהלכתה.

חומר עון זלזול הורים גדול מאד, הרבה יותר ממה שנראה לבני אדם. ורבותינו המקובלים האריכו לתת תיקון לכל חוטא על חטאו, וכגון, מי שנשבע לשקר, שעוונו גדול מאד כנודע, ותקנתו שיתענה שלשים ושבעה תעניות לכפר על חטאו (ואין אנו נכנסים כאן לענין מעשה, כיצד יש לנהוג בזה בזמנינו שהדורות חלשים), ומי שביזה את אביו או אמו, כתב בספר חרדים, שתקנתו להתענות על חטאו ששים תעניות. ומכאן נלמד חומר העון של מי שאינו זהיר בכבוד אביו ואמו. ואשרי חלקו של הזהיר בזה, כי טובה מדה טובה ממדת פורענות.

וכאן המקום להזכיר מנהגת מרן זצ"ל, שהיה מכבד את אביו ואמו מאד מאד, ובאופן מיוחד נהג כבוד רב כלפי אמו, משום שחש הכרת הטוב עצומה כלפיה, שכן בילדותו, בזמן שהיה שוקד על תלמודו, היתה היא עובדת במקומו בחנות של אביו, ותמיד היתה מעודדת אותו לשקוד על דלתות התורה, ואף שהיה זה בימי דוחק ועוני, היתה שומרת אצלה ממתקים כגון שוקולד וסוכריות יקרות ערך, ומעניקה לו אותם לאחר שהיה שוקד על התורה, ועל ידי כך התעודד להמשיך בשקידת התורה, למרות שכל שכניו וחבריו בני גילו יצאו לעסקים ונהנו מהנאות העולם הזה.

וכאשר התמנה מרן זצ"ל כדיין בבית הדין בפתח תקוה, קנו לו לבוש מיוחד "פראק" של הדיינים. והקפיד מרן זצ"ל ללבוש את הפראק בפעם הראשונה בנוכחות אמו, כדי שתראה אותו בגדולתו ותשמח בלבה. וכן היה תמיד מקפיד לבקרה בביתה ולשמח אותה, ואף לאחר מותה, היה מזכירה לשבח בהקדמות ספריו, אשריה ואשרי חלקה. (וכתבנו בזה באריכות בספר אביר הרועים חלק ראשון)

Introduction to the Laws of Honoring One’s Parents

Several years ago, we have discussed the laws of honoring one’s parents on “Halacha Yomit”. Since we have received many requests to clarify some details regarding these laws in addition to the fact that many details were missing from the Halachot we have published already, we will therefore spend the next few days revisiting the laws of honoring one’s parents with many additions to what we have published in the past.

The Importance of the Obligation to Honor One’s Parents
The Baraita in Masechet Kiddushin (30b) tells us: “Our Sages taught: The Torah states, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and it also states, ‘Honor Hashem with your wealth.’ The Torah thus equates honoring one’s parents to honoring Hashem. The Torah states, ‘Each shall revere his mother and father,’ and it also states, ‘You shall fear Hashem, your G-d.’ The Torah thus equates revering one’s parents to fearing Hashem.”

This means that Hashem treated honoring one’s parents so stringently that He actually equated the honor and reverence showed to parents to His own honor and reverence.

The Three Partners in the Formation of Man
“The Sages taught: There are three partners in [the formation of] man: Hashem, the father, and the mother (which means that the parents are partners in the formation of the child’s body whereas Hashem provides the soul, eyesight, hearing, and the power of speech). When one honors one’s parents, Hashem says, ‘I consider it as though I have dwelled among you and you have honored Me.’”

The Torah further states (Vayikra 19), “Each man shall revere his mother and father and you shall keep My Shabbat,” to teach us that if one’s father commands him to desecrate the Shabbat, the child may not obey his father, for the father is likewise obligated to honor Hashem who has commanded to observe the holy Shabbat. The same applies to any other Mitzvot in that if one’s parents command him to transgress any of the Torah’s commandments or that of the Sages, one may not obey them, for they are also obligated to keep these commandments.

The Honor of One’s Father Versus the Honor of One’s Mother
The Baraita states: “Rabbi [Yehuda HaNassi] says: It is revealed and known before the One Who said and brought the world into existence that a son honors his mother more than his father. Thus, Hashem preceded the Mitzvah to honor one’s father before the Mitzvah to honor one’s mother. It is also revealed and known before the One Who said and brought the world into existence that a son fears his father more than his mother. Thus, Hashem preceded the Mitzvah to revere one’s mother before the Mitzvah to revere one’s father (as the verse states, “Each man shall revere his mother and father”).”

To What Extent Must One Honor His Parents?
Rabbi Eliezer was asked, “To what extent must one honor one’s parents?” He answered, “Take a look at what a certain non-Jew from Ashkelon by the name of Dama ben Netina did. Once, the Sages requested a certain stone for the apron (worn by the Kohen Gadol) from him for the sum of 600,000 golden Dinars. The key for the safe where the stones were placed lay under the pillow of his sleeping father. In order not to disturb his father, he did not awaken him. The next year, Hashem rewarded him by making a Red Heifer be born in his flock which he proceeded to sell to the Sages for the same amount that he lost for his father’s honor.”

The Gemara further recounts that once, Dama ben Netina was once adorned with the golden vestments usually worn by Rome’s highest officials and was sitting among some of the most respected citizens of Rome when his mother arrived, tore his clothing, whacked him on the head, and spit at him; yet, he did not humiliate her in return.

The Gemara (ibid. 31b) recounts another incident with Rabbi Tarfon that whenever his mother would need to get onto or off of her bed (which was slightly elevated from the ground), Rabbi Tarfon would kneel in order for her to step on his back (meaning that he would be like her “stool” to get on and off the bed). The Gemara there continues to bring similar incidents that illustrate the importance of honoring one’s parents and to what extent one must do so. Maran Rabbeinu Yosef Karo in his Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De’ah, Chapter 240) introduces the laws of honoring one’s parents by saying, “One must be exceedingly careful regarding honoring and revering one’s parents,” for this is indeed a precious Mitzvah and one can easily fail in its performance. Thus, one must be extremely careful to fulfill this Mitzvah properly.

The severity of disrespecting one’s parents is indeed very grave; more serious that what it may seem to people. The Mekubalim describe lengthy atonement processes for various sins, such as if one swore falsely, which is understandably a great sin, one may atone for this by fasting thirty-seven fasts to atone for his transgression (we are not getting into what one should actually do in this generation that is weaker than previous ones). If one humiliates his father or mother, the Sefer Charedim writes that one must fast sixty fasts in order to atone for this sin. We can clearly see the gravity of the sin of one who is not careful with his parents’ respect. Praiseworthy is one who is careful with this Mitzvah, for the attribute of reward is far greater than the attribute of punishment.

Let us now discuss the custom of Maran zt”l who honored his parents tremendously. He especially honored his mother in a unique manner because he was grateful for the fact that when he toiled in Torah study in his youth, she would take his place working in his father’s store. She would likewise always encourage him to immerse himself in his Torah study. Although they were extremely poor, she would always save some expensive chocolates and other sweets and give them to him after he was done studying Torah. In this way, Maran was encouraged to continue in his quest of Torah knowledge while other children his age went on to work and enjoy the pleasures of this world.

When Maran zt”l was appointed as a judge in the rabbinical court in Petach Tikvah, he was presented with the special rabbinical coat called a “frock”. Maran zt”l made sure to wear this coat for the first time in the presence of his mother so that she should witness his rise to greatness and be proud of her son. Maran would always make sure to visit her at home and gladden her heart. Even after her passing, Maran would mention her admiringly in the introductions to his various works


דין כבוד ומורא אב ואם

מצות כיבוד הורים, נחלקת לשני חלקים. החלק הראשון, הם הדברים השייכים ל"כיבוד" הורים. והחלק השני, הם הדברים השייכים "למורא", כלומר, ליראה מההורים. וכפי שנאמר בתורה, "כבד את אביך ואת אמך", "איש אמו ואביו תראו".

איזהו מורא מההורים? לא יעמוד במקום המיוחד לאביו להתפלל, ולא ישב במקום המיוחד לאביו להסב בביתו, (כגון בראש השולחן), ולא יסתור דברי אביו, לומר מה שאמרת אבא, אינו נכון. ולא מכריע דברי אביו, כגון לומר נראין דברי אבא. (ובהמשך יבוארו הדברים). 

יש אומרים, שאסור לאדם לשבת במקומו של אביו, אפילו כאשר אביו אינו נמצא בבית. ויש אומרים שאין להחמיר בדבר, אלא בפני אביו, שאז יש בכך מדת חוצפה וחוסר דרך ארץ, שיושב במקומו של אביו, אבל אם אביו אינו נמצא בבית, מותר לשבת במקומו.

ולהלכה כתב מרן רבינו עובדיה יוסף זצוק"ל, שמעיקר הדין מותר לשבת במקומו של אביו אם אביו אינו נוכח שם. אולם יש להוסיף על כך, שבמקומותינו, שישיבה במקום מיוחד לאביו, וכגון שיש לו כסא מיוחד, נחשבת לחוצפה כלפי האב, וזלזול בכבודו, הרי שאז לכל הדעות אין להקל בזה. משום שזלזול באב אסור בכל אופן.

עד היכן מוראם? כלומר, עד כמה הבן מחוייב לירא מהוריו? היה הבן לבוש בגדים יקרים, ויושב בראש הקהל, ובאו אביו ואמו וקרעו בגדיו והכוהו על ראשו וירקו בפניו, לא יכלים אותם, ויאמר להם מה עשיתם לי? וכדומה, אלא ישתוק ויירא ממלך מלכי המלכים שצוהו בכך. (ודין זה נלמד מן המעשה שנזכר בגמרא והוזכר בהלכה הקודמת עד היכן וכו', פעם אחת היה דמא בן נתינה לבוש בגד של זהב והיה יושב בין גדולי רומי ובאה אמו וקרעתו ממנו וטפחה לו על ראשו וירקה לו בפניו, ולא הכלימה.) 

איזהו כבוד הורים? מאכילם ומשקה אותם ומלביש ומכסה וכדומה, ויתן להם הכל בסבר פנים יפות, ואמרו רבותינו, שאפילו אם היה הבן מאכיל את אביו בכל יום אווזים מפוטמות, אבל היה מראה לו פנים זועפות, נענש עליו, כי היחס הטוב והארת הפנים להורים, היא חלק מרכזי ויסודי במצות כיבוד אב ואם.

ועד היכן הוא כבוד אב ואם? אפילו נטלו כיס (ארנק) של זהובים של הבן, והשליכו בפניו לים, לא יכלימם ולא יצער בפניהם ולא יכעוס כנגדם, אלא יקבל גזירת הכתוב וישתוק. ויש אומרים שמכל מקום אם יכול למנוע בעדם להשליך הארנק לים, רשאי לעשות כן, ועל כל פנים יכול אחר כך לתבוע את אביו ואמו לדין, משום שאדם אינו מחויב להפסיד ממון מפני מצות כבוד אב ואם.

ולהלן נבאר בעזרת ה' את החילוקים שיש בין עניני כבוד אב ואם, לעניני מורא אב ואם

The Laws of Honoring and Revering One’s Parents

As was mentioned in the previous Halacha, the Mitzvah of honoring one’s parents includes two different aspects: honoring one’s parents and revering one’s parents. Indeed, the Torah states, “Honor your father and mother” and “Each man shall fear his mother and father.”

What does revering entail? One should not stand in one’s father’s designated place for prayer or sit in his designated seat at home (for instance, at the head of the table). Additionally, one should not contradict one’s father’s words by saying, “Father, what you have said is incorrect” or approve of his words by saying, “My father’s words seem correct.” (This shall be explained further.)

Some say that one may not sit in one’s father’s designated seat even when the father is not home. Others say that this is only a problem when this is done in the father’s presence, for only then is it a display of audacity and a lack of respect by the child sitting in his father’s place. However, if the father is not home, one may sit in his place.

Halachically speaking, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l writes that according to the letter of the law, a child may indeed sit in his father’s designated place if the father is not present. Nevertheless, we must add that in places such like ours where sitting in one’s father’s designated seat is considered disrespectful toward one’s father and his honor, for instance, due to the fact that he has a special chair and the like, according to all opinions one may not be lenient in this matter, for disrespect to one’s father is prohibited in any situation.

To what extent must one revere one’s parents? Even if one was wearing expensive clothing and sitting among important and influential people and his parents arrived, tore his clothing, hit him on the head, and spit at him, one may not humiliate them by exclaiming, “What have you done to me?,” and the like; rather, one must remain silent and fear Hashem, King of all kings, who has commanded one to do so. (This law is derived from the incident recorded by the Gemara, which we have mentioned in the previous Halacha, about how once,  Dama ben Netina was bedecked with golden garments and was sitting among honorary Roman noblemen; his mother came, tore his clothing, whacked him on the head, spit in his face, and yet, he did not humiliate her).

What does honoring entail? One must feed his parents, give them to drink, dress them, cover them, and the like. All this should be done with a smiling and radiant countenance, for even if one were to feed one’s parents stuffed ducklings every day while bearing a scowling expression, one will be punished for this. Indeed, cheer and a radiant countenance is an integral part of the Mitzvah of honoring one’s parents

To what extent must one honor one’s parents? Even if a parent takes a wallet full of gold coins belonging to the child and throws it into the sea in front of the child, the child should not humiliate them, distress them, or become angry at them; rather, he should accept this Heavenly decree and remain silent. Some say that if the child has the ability to prevent the parent from throwing the wallet into the sea, he may in fact exercise it. In any event, he may summon the parent to a Bet Din after the fact, for one is not obligated to lose money due to the Mitzvah of honoring one’s parents.

In coming Halachot we shall, G-d willing, explain the differences between honoring and revering one’s parents




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