Monday, November 15, 2010

Financial support to one's parents

8th of Kislev, 5771

The Mitzva of honoring ones' parents consists of assisting one's parents and devoting to them part of our time and our physical effort. As we mentioned before (, this Mitzva applies mainly when our parents are older and need our help.

The Talmud (Kiddushin 32) asserts that children are not obligated to support their parents financially when the parents have the means to support themselves.

However, when the parents cannot work because they are too old, and they don't have the means to support themselves, and the children have the means to do so, it is a Mitzva to support one's parents financially and provide them with food, clothing, shelter, and to provide them at least with the minimum necessary for a livelihood with dignity.

It is imperative for a child who is providing support to his parents, to do so in the most honorable way possible.

The obligation to support parents in these circumstances, must be divided amongst the children based upon each one's ability.

If the parents have the means to support themselves but they don't want to spend from their own assets and/or they choose to live in a very low standard of living, then the children are not obligatedto provide additional financial assistance to their parents. The children, however, should not discouragetheir parents from spending more to improve their own standard of living.

For a interesting article comparing Jewish Law and American Law in assisting one's
parents, click here


Rabbi Yosef Bitton. YMJC 130 Steamboat Rd. Great Neck NY 11024