Monday, December 20, 2010

Disobeying parents for their own good

Today is the 13th day of Tebet, 5771

Honoring our parents includes obeying them and pleasing their wishes, especially when dealing with something they wish for their own benefit.

But, what if the parents ask their son or daughter something which will be detrimental for them? For example: What should a son do if his father asks him to bring for him liquor, and the son knows the father will become intoxicated. Does the son still needs to obey his dad and bring the liquor, following blindly his father's order or should he refuse the order?

Most rabbis agree that in this case the son should refuse to buy or get the liquor for his father, but he should do so with utmost respect, trying to dissuade his father reasoning with him. The son is not allowed to fight, yell at or disrespect his father in any way, even when the son is right.
The rabbis bring a few other common cases. If the parent is diabetic and asks his son to bring him a sweet food or when a father ask his son or daughter to bring cigarettes or anything that would cause a 'significant' damage to the father's or mother's health, i.e. anything the physician will forbid them to have.

The rabbis agree that the son or daughter should refuse the order, but they insist that in all these cases, it is critical to maintain a respectful approach and avoid, God forbid, to offend or humiliate one's parents while trying to protect them from harm. (Yalkut Yosef, Kibbud Ab va-Em, Bet, 46-60)

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

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