1

Honoring one's father and mother is a positive commandment of great importance, as is fearing one's father and mother. The Torah equates the honor and fear of one's parents with the honor and fear of God Himself. Exodus 20:12 states: "Honor your father and your mother," and Proverbs 3:9 states: "Honor God from your wealth." Similarly, with regard to one's father and mother, Leviticus 19:3 states: "A person must fear his mother and father," and Deuteronomy 6:13 states: "And you shall fear God, your Lord." Just as He commands us to honor and fear His great name; so, too, He commands us to honor and fear our parents."

א

כִּבּוּד אָב וָאֵם מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה גְּדוֹלָה וְכֵן מוֹרָא אָב וָאֵם. שָׁקַל אוֹתָן הַכָּתוּב בִּכְבוֹדוֹ וּבְמוֹרָאוֹ. כָּתוּב (שמות כ יב) "כַּבֵּד אֶת אָבִיךָ וְאֶת אִמֶּךָ" וְכָתוּב (משלי ג ט) "כַּבֵּד אֶת ה' מֵהוֹנֶךָ". וּבְאָבִיו וְאִמּוֹ כָּתוּב (ויקרא יט ג) "אִישׁ אִמּוֹ וְאָבִיו תִּירָאוּ" וְכָתוּב (דברים ו יג) "אֶת ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ תִּירָא". כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁצִּוָּה עַל כְּבוֹד שְׁמוֹ הַגָּדוֹל וּמוֹרָאוֹ כָּךְ צִוָּה עַל כְּבוֹדָם וּמוֹרָאָם:

2

A person who curses his father or mother is executed by stoning and a person who blasphemes God is executed by stoning. Thus the punishment for the two is equated.

A father is mentioned before a mother with regard to honor and a mother is mentioned before a father with regard to fear to teach that they are both equal with regard to fear and honor.

ב

הַמְקַלֵּל אָבִיו אוֹ אִמּוֹ בִּסְקִילָה וְהַמְגַדֵּף בִּסְקִילָה. הִנֵּה הִשְׁוָה אוֹתָן בָּעֹנֶשׁ. הִקְדִּים אָב לְאֵם לְכָבוֹד וְהִקְדִּים אֵם לְאָב לְמוֹרָא לְלַמֵּד שֶׁשְּׁנֵיהֶם שָׁוִים בֵּין לַמּוֹרָא בֵּין לְכָבוֹד:

3

What is meant by fear and what is meant by honor? Fear is expressed by not standing in his place, not sitting in his place, not contradicting his words, nor offering an opinion that outweighs his.

He should not call him by name, neither during his lifetime or after his death. Instead, he should say: "My father and my master." If his father or his teacher had the same name as others, he should call those other people by a different name. It appears to me that one should be careful only with regard to this matter with regard to a name that is unusual which is not used frequently by people. With regard to the names which people are generally called, by contrast, e.g., Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and the like, one can call others by that name in any language and at any time outside his father's presence without thinking anything of the matter.

What is meant by honoring them? One should bring them food and drink, clothe them and cover them from their resources. If a father does not have financial resources and a son does, the son is compelled to sustain his father and his mother according to his capacity. He should bring him out and bring him home and serve him in all the ways one serves a teacher. Similarly, he should stand before him as one stands before a teacher.

ג

אֵי זֶהוּ מוֹרָא וְאֵי זֶהוּ כָּבוֹד. מוֹרָא לֹא עוֹמֵד בִּמְקוֹמוֹ. וְלֹא יוֹשֵׁב בִּמְקוֹמוֹ. וְלֹא סוֹתֵר אֶת דְּבָרָיו וְלֹא מַכְרִיעַ אֶת דְּבָרָיו. וְלֹא יִקְרָא לוֹ בִּשְׁמוֹ לֹא בְּחַיָּיו וְלֹא בְּמוֹתוֹ. אֶלָּא אוֹמֵר אַבָּא מָרִי. הָיָה שֵׁם אָבִיו אוֹ שֵׁם רַבּוֹ כְּשֵׁם אֲחֵרִים מְשַׁנֶּה אֶת שְׁמָם. יֵרָאֶה לִי שֶׁאֵין נִזְהָר בְּכָךְ אֶלָּא בְּשֵׁם שֶׁהוּא פֶּלֶא שֶׁאֵין הַכּל דָּשִׁין בּוֹ. אֲבָל הַשֵּׁמוֹת שֶׁקּוֹרְאִים בָּהֶן אֶת הָעָם כְּגוֹן אַבְרָהָם יִצְחָק וְיַעֲקֹב משֶׁה וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן בְּכָל לָשׁוֹן וּבְכָל זְמַן קוֹרֵא בָּהֶן לַאֲחֵרִים שֶׁלֹּא בְּפָנָיו וְאֵין בְּכָךְ כְּלוּם. אֵי זֶהוּ כָּבוֹד מַאֲכִיל וּמַשְׁקֵה מַלְבִּישׁ וּמְכַסֶּה מִשֶּׁל הָאָב. וְאִם אֵין מָמוֹן לָאָב וְיֵשׁ מָמוֹן לַבֵּן כּוֹפִין אוֹתוֹ וְזָן אָבִיו וְאִמּוֹ כְּפִי מַה שֶּׁהוּא יָכוֹל. וּמוֹצִיא וּמַכְנִיס וּמְשַׁמְּשׁוֹ בִּשְׁאָר הַדְּבָרִים שֶׁהַשַּׁמָּשִׁים מְשַׁמְּשִׁים בָּהֶן אֶת הָרַב. וְעוֹמֵד מִפָּנָיו כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁהוּא עוֹמֵד מִפְּנֵי רַבּוֹ:

4

When a father was the student of his son, the father need not stand in the presence of the son. The son, by contrast, must stand before his father even if he is his student.

A son is obligated to honor his father in other matters when he is carrying out his business and seeing to his concerns. What is implied? If a person went to a place because of his father's words, he should not say: "Hurry and free me on my own account," or "Let me go on my own account," instead "Hurry and free me because of my father," "Let me go because of my father." Similar laws apply in all analogous situations. He should always include in his words statements that indicate that he is concerned with his father's honor and that he fears him.

ד

וְהָאָב שֶׁהָיָה תַּלְמִיד בְּנוֹ אֵין הָאָב עוֹמֵד מִפְּנֵי הַבֵּן אֲבָל הַבֵּן עוֹמֵד מִפְּנֵי אָבִיו אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא תַּלְמִידוֹ וְחַיָּב לְכַבְּדוֹ בִּשְׁאָר דְּרָכָיו בִּשְׁעַת עֲשִׂיַּת מַשָּׂאוֹ וּמַתָּנוֹ וַעֲשִׂיַּת חֲפָצָיו. כֵּיצַד. הַנִּשְׁמָע בִּדְבַר אָבִיו לְמָקוֹם לֹא יֹאמַר מַהֲרוּנִי בִּשְׁבִיל עַצְמִי פִּטְרוּנִי בִּשְׁבִיל עַצְמִי. אֶלָּא מַהֲרוּנִי בִּשְׁבִיל אַבָּא פִּטְרוּנִי בִּשְׁבִיל אַבָּא. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה. לְעוֹלָם יִכְלל בִּכְלַל דְּבָרָיו שֶׁהוּא חוֹשֵׁשׁ בִּכְבוֹד אָבִיו וְשֶׁמִּתְיָרֵא מִמֶּנּוּ:

5

A son is obligated to honor his father even after his death. What is implied? If he repeats a teaching in his father's name, he should not say: "This is what my father said." Instead, he should say: "This is what my father, and teacher - may I serve as atonement for him - said."

When does the above apply? Within twelve months of his passing. After twelve months, he says of him: "May he be remembered for the life of the world to come."

ה

וְחַיָּב לְכַבְּדוֹ אֲפִלּוּ לְאַחַר מוֹתוֹ. כֵּיצַד. הָיָה אוֹמֵר דְּבַר שְׁמוּעָה מִפִּיו לֹא יֹאמַר כָּךְ אָמַר אַבָּא. אֶלָּא אוֹמֵר כָּךְ אָמַר אַבָּא מָרִי אֲנִי כַּפָּרַת מִשְׁכָּבוֹ. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּתוֹךְ שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר חֹדֶשׁ שֶׁלְּאַחַר מִיתָתוֹ. אֲבָל לְאַחַר שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר חֹדֶשׁ אוֹמֵר זִכְרוֹנוֹ לְחַיֵּי הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא:

6

Both a man and a woman are obligated to honor and fear their parents. It is only that the man has the capacity to do this and a woman is subject to another's influence. Therefore if she is divorced or widowed, they are both equal.

ו

אֶחָד הָאִישׁ וְאֶחָד הָאִשָּׁה חַיָּבִין בְּמוֹרָא וְכָבוֹד. אֶלָּא שֶׁהָאִישׁ יֵשׁ בְּיָדוֹ לַעֲשׂוֹת וְהָאִשָּׁה אֵין בְּיָדָהּ לַעֲשׂוֹת שֶׁהֲרֵי רְשׁוּת אֲחֵרִים עָלֶיהָ. לְפִיכָךְ אִם נִתְגָּרְשָׁה אוֹ נִתְאַלְמְנָה הֲרֵי שְׁנֵיהֶם שָׁוִים:

7

To what degree does the mitzvah of honoring one's father and mother extend? Even if one's parent takes his purse of gold and throws it into the sea in his presence, he should not embarrass them, shout, or vent anger at them. Instead, he should accept the Torah's decree and remain silent.

To what degree does the mitzvah of fearing them extend? Even if one was wearing fine garments and sitting at the head of the community, if one's father and mother came, ripped the clothes, struck him on the head, and spit in his face, he should not embarrass them. Instead, he should remain silent and fear the King of kings who commanded him to conduct himself in this manner. Were a mortal king to decree something which would cause him even more suffering he would not be able to move a limb in protest. Certainly, this applies when the command emanates from He who spoke and caused the world to come into existence as He desired it.

ז

עַד הֵיכָן הוּא כִּבּוּד אָב וְאֵם. אֲפִלּוּ נָטְלוּ כִּיס שֶׁל זְהוּבִים שֶׁלּוֹ וְהִשְׁלִיכוּ בְּפָנָיו לַיָּם לֹא יַכְלִימֵם וְלֹא יְצַעֵר בִּפְנֵיהֶם וְלֹא יִכְעֹס כְּנֶגְדָּם אֶלָּא יְקַבֵּל גְּזֵרַת הַכָּתוּב וְיִשְׁתֹּק. וְעַד הֵיכָן מוֹרָאָן אֲפִלּוּ הָיָה לוֹבֵשׁ בְּגָדִים חֲמוּדוֹת וְיוֹשֵׁב בָּרֹאשׁ בִּפְנֵי הַקָּהָל וּבָא אָבִיו וְאִמּוֹ וְקָרְעוּ בְּגָדָיו וְהִכּוּהוּ בְּרֹאשׁוֹ וְיָרְקוּ בְּפָנָיו לֹא יַכְלִימֵם אֶלָּא יִשְׁתֹּק וְיִירָא וְיִפְחַד מִמֶּלֶךְ מַלְכֵי הַמְּלָכִים שֶׁצִּוָּהוּ בְּכָךְ. שֶׁאִלּוּ מֶלֶךְ בָּשָׂר וָדָם גָּזַר עָלָיו דָּבָר שֶׁהוּא מְצַעֵר יֶתֶר מִזֶּה לֹא הָיָה יָכוֹל לְפַרְכֵּס בַּדָּבָר. קַל וָחֹמֶר לְמִי שֶׁאָמַר וְהָיָה הָעוֹלָם כִּרְצוֹנוֹ:

8

Although these commands have been issued, a person is forbidden to lay a heavy yoke on his sons and be particular about their honoring him to the point that he presents an obstacle to them. Instead, he should forgo his honor and ignore any affronts. For if a father desires to forgo his honor, he may.

ח

אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁבְּכָךְ נִצְטַוֵּינוּ אָסוּר לְאָדָם לְהַכְבִּיד עֵלּוֹ עַל בָּנָיו וּלְדַקְדֵּק בִּכְבוֹדוֹ עִמָּהֶם שֶׁלֹּא יְבִיאֵם לִידֵי מִכְשׁוֹל. אֶלָּא יִמְחל וְיִתְעַלֵּם שֶׁהָאָב שֶׁמָּחַל עַל כְּבוֹדוֹ כְּבוֹדוֹ מָחוּל:

9

A person who strikes a son who has attained majority should be placed under a ban of ostracism, for he is transgressing the charge, Leviticus 19:14: "Do not place a stumbling block in front of the blind."

ט

וְהַמַּכֶּה בְּנוֹ גָּדוֹל מְנַדִּין אוֹתוֹ שֶׁהֲרֵי הוּא עוֹבֵר עַל וְלִפְנֵי עִוֵּר לֹא תִתֵּן מִכְשׁל:

10

When a person's father or mother lose control of their mental faculties, their son should try to conduct his relationship with them according to their mental condition until God has mercy upon them. If it is impossible for him to remain with them because they have become very deranged, he should leave them, depart, and charge others with caring for them in an appropriate manner.

י

מִי שֶׁנִּטְרְפָה דַּעְתּוֹ שֶׁל אָבִיו אוֹ שֶׁל אִמּוֹ מִשְׁתַּדֵּל לִנְהֹג עִמָּהֶם כְּפִי דַּעְתָּם עַד שֶׁיְּרֻחַם עֲלֵיהֶן. וְאִם אִי אֶפְשָׁר לוֹ לַעֲמֹד מִפְּנֵי שֶׁנִּשְׁתַּטּוּ בְּיוֹתֵר יְנִיחֵם וְיֵלֵךְ לוֹ וִיצַוֶּה אֲחֵרִים לְהַנְהִיגָם כָּרָאוּי לָהֶם:

11

A mamzer is obligated to honor and fear his father even though he is not liable for striking him or cursing him until he repents. Even when his father was a wicked person who violated many transgressions, he must honor him and fear him.

If he sees his father violate Torah law, he should not tell him: 'Father, you transgressed Torah law.' Instead, he should tell him: 'Father, is not such-and-such written in the Torah?', as if he is asking him, rather than warning him.

יא

הַמַּמְזֵר חַיָּב בִּכְבוֹד אָבִיו וּמוֹרָאוֹ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא פָּטוּר עַל מַכָּתוֹ וְקִלְלָתוֹ עַד שֶׁיַּעֲשֶׂה תְּשׁוּבָה. אֲפִלּוּ הָיָה אָבִיו רָשָׁע וּבַעַל עֲבֵרוֹת מְכַבְּדוֹ וּמִתְיָרֵא מִמֶּנּוּ. רָאָהוּ עוֹבֵר עַל דִּבְרֵי תּוֹרָה לֹא יֹאמַר לוֹ אַבָּא עָבַרְתָּ עַל דִּבְרֵי תּוֹרָה אֶלָּא יֹאמַר לוֹ אַבָּא כָּתוּב בַּתּוֹרָה כָּךְ וְכָךְ כְּאִלּוּ הוּא שׁוֹאֵל מִמֶּנּוּ וְלֹא כְּמַזְהִירוֹ:

12

When a person's father tells him to violate the words of the Torah - whether he tells him to transgress a negative commandment or not to fulfill a positive commandment, even if all that is involved is a point of Rabbinic Law - he should not listen to him, as can be inferred from Leviticus 19:3: 'A person must fear his mother and his father and keep My Sabbaths.' Implied is that all are obligated in honoring Me.

יב

מִי שֶׁאָמַר לוֹ אָבִיו לַעֲבֹר עַל דִּבְרֵי תּוֹרָה בֵּין שֶׁאָמַר לוֹ לַעֲבֹר עַל מִצְוַת לֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה אוֹ לְבַטֵּל מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה אֲפִלּוּ שֶׁל דִּבְרֵיהֶם. הֲרֵי זֶה לֹא יִשְׁמַע לוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא יט ג) "אִישׁ אִמּוֹ וְאָבִיו תִּירָאוּ וְאֶת שַׁבְּתֹתַי תִּשְׁמֹרוּ". כֻּלְּכֶם חַיָּבִין בִּכְבוֹדִי:

13

The following laws apply when a person's father tells him: 'Draw water for me,' and he has the opportunity to perform a mitzvah. If it is possible for the mitzvah to be performed by others, they should perform it and he should concern himself with honoring his father. For we do not negate the observance of one mitzvah, because of the observance of another mitzvah. If there are no others able to perform the other mitzvah, he should perform the mitzvah and neglect his father's honor. For he and his father are obligated to perform the mitzvah.

Torah study surpasses honoring one's father and mother.

יג

אָמַר לוֹ אָבִיו הַשְׁקֵנִי מַיִם וְיֵשׁ בְּיָדוֹ לַעֲשׂוֹת מִצְוָה אִם אֶפְשָׁר לַמִּצְוָה שֶׁתֵּעָשֶׂה עַל יְדֵי אֲחֵרִים תֵּעָשֶׂה וְיִתְעַסֵּק בִּכְבוֹד אָבִיו שֶׁאֵין מְבַטְּלִין מִצְוָה מִפְּנֵי מִצְוָה. וְאִם אֵין שָׁם אֲחֵרִים לַעֲשׂוֹתָהּ יִתְעַסֵּק בַּמִּצְוָה וְיָנִיחַ כָּבוֹד אָבִיו שֶׁהוּא וְאָבִיו חַיָּבִים בִּדְבַר מִצְוָה. וְתַלְמוּד תּוֹרָה גָּדוֹל מִכְּבוֹד אָב וָאֵם:

14

If a person's father tells him: 'Bring me a drink of water,' and his mother tells him: 'Bring me a drink of water,' he should overlook his mother's honor and honor his father first. For both he and his mother are obligated to honor his father.

יד

אָמַר לוֹ אָבִיו הַשְׁקֵנִי מַיִם וְאָמְרָה לוֹ אִמּוֹ הַשְׁקֵנִי מַיִם מֵנִיחַ כְּבוֹד אִמּוֹ וְעוֹסֵק בִּכְבוֹד אָבִיו תְּחִלָּה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא וְאִמּוֹ חַיָּבִין בִּכְבוֹד אָבִיו:

15

A person is obligated to honor his father's wife even though she is not his mother throughout his father's lifetime, for this is included in honoring his father. Similarly, he should honor his mother's husband throughout her lifetime. After her death, however, he is not obligated to honor her.

It is a Rabbinical decree that a person is obligated to honor his oldest brother as he is obligated to honor his father.

טו

חַיָּב אָדָם לְכַבֵּד אֶת אֵשֶׁת אָבִיו אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינָהּ אִמּוֹ כָּל זְמַן שֶׁאָבִיו קַיָּם שֶׁזֶּה בִּכְלַל כְּבוֹד אָבִיו. וְכֵן מְכַבֵּד בַּעַל אִמּוֹ כָּל זְמַן שֶׁאִמּוֹ קַיֶּמֶת. אֲבָל לְאַחַר מִיתָתָהּ אֵינוֹ חַיָּב. וּמִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים שֶׁיִּהְיֶה אָדָם חַיָּב בִּכְבוֹד אָחִיו הַגָּדוֹל כִּכְבוֹד אָבִיו: