Appendix 2-Summary of Rambam Mishneh Torah
Hilchos Mamrim Chapter 5: Cursing and hitting one’s parent
Halacha 1: Cursing and hitting one’s parent
- Cursing parent: One who curses his father or mother is liable for Sekila [i.e., death by stoning].
- After death: This liability for Sekila for cursing one’s, parent applies even after the death of the parents.
- Witnesses and warnings: This liability for Sekila for cursing one’s parent only applies if the cursing took place in the presence of witnesses and with prior warning.
- Gender: This liability for Sekila applies both for a man or woman [i.e., a son or daughter] who curses [their parent].
- This applies for both a Tumtum and Androgynous.
- Age: This liability for Sekila for cursing one’s parent only applies if the child who cursed his parent is a Gadol and has reached the age of punishment.
Halacha 2: The names of Hashem used in the curse
- This liability for Sekila for cursing one’s parent only applies if one curses the parent with one of the [seven] designated names of G-d [that cannot be erased].
- If, however, a nickname for G-d was used in the curse, then the child is [not liable for stoning but rather is] only liable for transgressing a negative command like anyone else who curses any other Jew.
Halacha 3: Cursing grandparents
- One who curses his paternal or maternal grandfather is liable for transgressing a negative command like anyone else who curses any other Jew.
Halacha 4: Warning against cursing one’s parent
- The Torah warns against cursing one’s parents within the same command which warns against cursing any other Jew, as a parent is no less than any other Jew.
Halacha 5: Hitting one’s parents:
- One who hits his father or mother during their lifetime is liable for the death penalty of strangulation.
- Witnesses and warnings: This liability for Sekila for cursing one’s parent only applies if the cursing took place in the presence of witnesses and with prior warning.
- Gender: This liability for Chenek applies both for a man or woman [i.e., a son or daughter] who hits [their parent].
- This applies for both a Tumtum and Androgynous.
- Age: This liability for Chenek for cursing one’s parent only applies if the child who cursed his parent is a Gadol and has reached the age of punishment.
- Type of injury: The above liability only applies if blood was drawn through the hit. If, however, blood was not drawn through the hit, then [one is not liable for death, although] it is included within the negative command against hitting any Jew.
- After death: A child who hits the dead body of his parent is not liable for death.
Halacha 6: Causing one’s parent to become deaf:
- One who hit his parent by their ear and caused them to become deaf is liable for death, as it is not possible that one become deaf without a wound with a drop of blood that is extracted from within the ear and causes him to become deaf.
Halacha 7: Performing an amputation and bloodletting to a parent
- If a child is a professional bloodletter or doctor, it is forbidden for him to initially [cut him to] perform bloodletting on his father or amputate a limb of one’s father [or mother for medicinal reasons] even though he is exempt if he decides to do so.
- Removing a splinter from a parent: A son should not remove a splinter that is stuck within the skin of his father [or mother] due to that one may come to cause him a wound in the process.
- No one else available: The above prohibition, however, only applies if there is another doctor available to perform the procedure. If, however, there is no one else available, and the parent is in pain [or danger], then the son may let blood from him and amputate him according to that which the parent allows to do. [Likewise, if the child is a greater expert in this field than other doctors, then the son may give the treatment.]
Halacha 8: The source for the prohibition against hitting a parent
- The warning against hitting a parent is not explicitly stated in Scripture, in contrast to the punishment, which is explicitly written in Scripture, and is rather included in the general prohibition against hitting any of Jew.
Halacha 9: Shtuki, Gentile child, convert
- Shtuki-One who does not know the identity of his father: A person who is defined as a Shtuki [which is that he does not know the identity of his father although he knows the identity of his mother], is liable for [hitting and cursing] his mother and is exempt for [hitting and cursing] his father.
- This applies even if the mother claims the man to be his father, nonetheless, she cannot cause him to get Sekila or Chenek due to her word.
- Son or daughter from a gentile woman: A person’s son from a maidservant [i.e., Shifcha Kenanis] or from a Gentile woman [is not considered Jewish and hence] is not liable [for hitting or cursing] his father or mother.
- Child born after conversion: If a woman converted when she was pregnant, then the child born is not liable for hitting or cursing his father.
Halacha 10: Convert born after conversion regarding mother
- If a woman converted when she was pregnant, then the child born is not liable for hitting or cursing his mother, as only one who is liable for hitting and cursing his father is liable for hitting and cursing his mother.
Halacha 11: Convert regarding parents
- It is forbidden for a convert to curse or hit or shame his father in order so people do not say that his conversion caused him to leave a higher state of holiness to a lower state of holiness.
- A convert must treat his Gentile parents with some level of honor.
- Slave [Eved Kenani]: A slave does not have any lineage, and hence his father is not considered like his father for any purpose, even if he was emancipated.
Halacha 12: If one’s parents are Reshaim
- Son hitting and cursing: [Even] if a person’s father and mother were complete Reshaim and transgressed sins, it still remains forbidden for the son to hit or curse his parent.
- Son hitting and cursing parent when being put to death: This prohibition applies even if the parent was liable for capital punishment and was in the process of being taken out to be killed.
- However, if one hit or cursed a parent in such a state [of being taken out for capital punishment], then he is exempt from [the death penalty].
- Parents did Teshuvah: If, however, the parents performed Teshuvah, then the son is liable for the death penalty [for hitting or cursing them] even though the parents are in the process of being taken out to be killed.
- Other people: The above law of liability for parents who have repented only applies towards the children of the Rasha parents, however, any other person who curses or hits them even after they have repented is exempt from liability.
- However, if a person shames them, then he is liable for the fine given to one who shames another person.
Halacha 13: Punishing the parents as an emissary of the court
- Giving lashes to one’s parents as an emissary of the court: If a person’s father or mother transgressed a sin for which they are liable to receive lashes, then the son cannot be the one to administer the lashes to his parents even if the son is the appointed executioner of the court.
- Excommunicating one’s parents as an emissary of the court: If a person’s father or mother transgressed a sin for which they are liable to receive excommunication, then the son cannot be the one to administer the excommunication to his parents.
- Harassing and hitting one’s parents as an emissary of the court: A son cannot harass or hit his parents even if the son is the appointed executioner of the court. This applies even if the parents are befitting of receiving this harassment from the court and have not repented.
Halacha 14: Punishing Heretic parents as an emissary of the court
- A son may not be an emissary of the court to hit or harass his parents no matter what his parent’s sin is, with the exception to parents who are a Meisis and Madiach, a missionary for idolatry.
Halacha 15: Oath, Goel Hadam, Shaming
- Swearing in court: If in litigation against their son, a father [or mother] has been found liable by the court to swear to the son regarding a statement they made, then the oath taken may not contain a curse, as this is considered as if the son is cursing his father. Rather, the oath taken shall not contain any curse.
- Goel Hadam: If a father murdered his son, his other children who are the brothers of the victim may not act as the Goel Hadam to murder the father in vengeance.
- Shaming-The punishment for one who shames his father or mother: The Torah was not just particular against a son who curses or hits his parents but even against a son who simply shames them.
- Whoever shames his father and mother is considered cursed by the mouth of G-d [i.e., Gevura], as the verse states “cursed should be one who shames [i.e., Makleh] his father and mother.”
- This applies even if one only shamed them with words.
- This applies even if one only shamed them with a mere hint [and did not explicitly express the shame in words].
- A court of Jewish law has the authority to give rabbinical lashes to such a child and is to give due punishment to the child as they see fit.
Hilchos Mamrim Chapter 6: Honoring and fearing one’s parents
Halacha 1: Its greatness
- Great positive command: Honoring and fearing one’s father and mother is a great positive command in the Torah.
- Weighed equal to the Mitzvah to honor and fear G-d: This command to honor and fear one’s parents is weighed by Scripture equal to the Mitzvah to honor and fear G-d, as both verses commanding one to honor and fear his father and mother contains connecting verses which command one to honor and fear G-d. Just as G-d commanded one to honor and fear His great name so too he commanded us to honor and fear our parents.
- Punishment for cursing parents: One who curses his father or mother is liable for death by stoning, as is one who blasphemes G-d, and hence we see that Scripture has made them equal regarding the punishment.
- Equal obligations towards father and mother: The Torah preceded the father to the mother regarding the command of respect and preceded the mother to the father regarding the command to fear in order to teach us that they’re both to be equally respected and feared.
Halacha 3: Detailed obligations of love and fear
- What is included within the command to fear one’s parents?
- Not to stand in one’s parents designated area for standing.
- Not to sit in one’s parents designated area for sitting.
- Not to contradict the words of one’s parents.
- One may not arbitrate like his parents’ opinion.
- Calling their name: One may not call one’s parent [father or mother ] by their name whether they are alive or dead. Rather one is to call them by saying “Aba Mori/My father my teacher.” If there is a person who shares the same name as one’s parent or teacher, then one has to change their name. However, in my opinion, this only applies if one’s father’s name is a very rare name which people are not accustomed to. However, by a common name such as Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov, Moshe, and the like in all languages and times, it is permitted to call another person by this name when not in the presence of the parent who has the same name.
- What is included within the command to honor one’s parents?
- One is to feed his parents food,
- Give them to drink
- Dress them
- Who pays? If the parents cannot afford to support themselves, then if the child can afford it, then he is forced to support them with his own money according to his affordability.
- Help them enter and leave [i.e., walk].
- One is to perform all other forms of service for his parents, as a servant serves his master.
- One is obligated to stand for his father as he would do for his teacher.
- Who stands for whom if the father is the Torah student of the son: In the event that one’s father is a student of his son in his Torah learning, then the father is not to stand on behalf of his son although his son is to stand on behalf of his father even though he is his student.
- Honoring during business and chore performance: One is obligated to respect his parents during his business dealings and performance of chores. Hence, if one is in need of a certain matter from another person, then he should request them to do it out of respect for his father.
- All in all, a person should always make it seem in his words that he worries about the honor of his father and fear him.
Halacha 5: Honoring one’s parents after their death
- One is obligated to honor his father and mother even after their passing.
- Saying Hakam: Upon mentioning them within the 12 months, such as one who says, “My father taught me such and such”, he is to say, “My father my teacher, Hareini Kaparas Mishkavo [i.e., Hakam/הכ”ם].”
- Saying Zichrono Livracha: After the 12 months one is to say “Zichrono Lichayeh Olam Habah.”
Halacha 6: Women-Is a woman obligated to honor her father and mother?
- Both men and women are equally obligated to honor and fear [their father and mother].
- A married woman: However, a man has the capability of doing so while a [married] woman does not have the capability of doing so being that she is subjugated to others [i.e., her husband].
- A divorcee or widow: Therefore, if she becomes divorced or widowed then she becomes obligated in the command just like a man.
Halacha 7: Accepting abuse from parent with silence
- Throwing away his money: One’s honor of his father and mother must extend to the point that even if they were to take his wallet of gold from his possession and throw it in front of him to the sea, nonetheless, he should restrain himself from embarrassing them, and he should not express any pain while in their presence, and he should not get angry at them, and is rather to accept the decree of Scripture, and remain silent.
- Tearing child’s clothing and shaming him in public: One’s fear of his parents must extend to the point that even if he was wearing elegant clothing and sitting at the head of the congregation, and his father or mother came and tore his clothing, and hit him over the head, and spat at him, nonetheless, he may not [retaliate and] shame them in return, and is rather to remain quiet and fear the king of all kings which commanded him to do so as certainly if a king of flesh and blood decreed upon him something even worse than this he would not be able to protest, and hence even more so by Hashem the creator of the world.
Halacha 8: Not to overburden one’s child with demands
- It is forbidden for a parent to overburden his children with demands and to be overparticular with their respect towards him, in order so he does not cause them to stumble.
- Forgiving one’s honor: Rather, a parent should forgive [his honor] and ignore [their disrespect], as a father who forgives his honor, his honor is forgiven.
Halacha 9: Hitting one’s children
- One who hits his adult children would be placed in excommunication as he transgresses the prohibition of “Lifnei Iver Lo Sitein Michshol.”
Halacha 10: Shoteh-Parent is mentally insane
- If a person’s father or mother has lost their mind, the child needs to try to treat them and act with them in accordance with their mental capability, until [G-d] has mercy on them.
- If, however, it is not possible for the child to deal with his parent being that the parent has become unbearably insane, then he may go and leave them be and instruct others to properly deal with them.
Halacha 11: Mamzer, Rasha, Reprimanding for sin
- Is a Mamzer obligated to honor her father and mother? A Mamzer is obligated to honor and fear his father even though the child is exempt from capital punishment for hitting and cursing them prior to them doing Teshuvah.
- Must one honor a parent who is a Rasha: One is obligated to honor and fear his father even if his father is a Rasha and big Baal Aveiros.
- Reprimanding a parent for transgressing Jewish law: One who witnesses his father transgressing words of the Torah should not explicitly tell him, “You have transgressed the words of the Torah.” Rather, one is to say, “Father, is it not written in the Torah such and such?” making it as if one is asking the parent a question, rather than warning him [and accusing him of transgression].
Halacha 12: Parent instructs a child to transgress Torah
- If one’s father instructed him to transgress words of Torah, he may not listen to him as everyone is obligated in the honor of G-d.
- This applies whether it is a positive or negative command.
- This applies even by rabbinical command.
Halacha 13: Kibbud Av Vaeim versus other Mitzvos-Which receives precedence
- If one’s father asks him to bring him a cup of water, and at the same time there is a mitzvah that he is able to fulfill, then if it is possible for him to delegate this Mitzvah to someone else to perform, then he should delegate it and in the meantime perform the mitzvah of honoring his parent.
- If, however, there is no one else available to perform the mitzvah in his stead, then he should perform the mitzvah and put aside the mitzvah to honor his father [and not perform the service for his father] as he and his father are both obligated in the honor of G-d.
- Kibbud Av Vaeim versus Talmud Torah: The mitzvah of Torah learning is greater than the mitzvah of honoring one’s father and mother.
Halacha 14: Father versus Mother-Who receives precedence
- If one’s father instructed him to give him water to drink, and also his mother instructed him to bring her water to drink, then he is to leave his mother’s request and deal with the honor of his father as one’s mother is also obligated in honoring his father which is her husband.
Halacha 15: Honoring relatives other than parents
- Stepmother: A person is obligated to honor his father’s wife even though she is not his mother [i.e., stepmother] so long as one’s father is alive, as this is included in the command to honor one’s father.
- Stepfather: One is obligated to honor his mother’s husband [i.e., stepfather] so long as one’s mother is still alive.
- After death of parent: After the passing of one’s mother one is no longer obligated to honor his stepfather.
- Honoring one’s older brother: A person is Rabbinically obligated in the honor of his older brother just like the honor of his father.
Chapter 7: Ben Sorer Umoreh-The rebellious child
Halacha 1: The scriptural source for the punishment
- The punishment: Scripture explicitly states that a rebellious child receives capital punishment through stoning.
- The source: The actual scriptural warning is found in a different verse which states that one may not eat over blood. This means that one may not eat a meal that causes his blood to be spilled, which is the gluttonous meal of a rebellious son that causes him to be liable for capital punishment.
- The term Zolel: The term Zolel means that he eats meat in a state of hunger.
- The term Sovei: The term Sovei means that he drinks wine in a state of hunger.
Halacha 2: The conditions necessary to be fulfilled to be liable for capital punishment
- For a rebellious son to become liable for capital punishment carries with it a number of conditions.
- All these conditions were received through the oral tradition.
- The rebellious son is not liable for stoning until he:
- Steals money from his father. If he stole money from another person, then he is not liable for capital punishment.
- Uses the money to buy cheap meat and cheap wine
- He eats and drinks the food outside of his father’s property. If he eats the food on his father’s property, then he is not liable.
- The food being eaten does not contain any prohibition involved in its consumption, not even rabbinical. Thus, if the food was not kosher, or it was a fast day when the food was eaten, then he is exempt from liability.
- The food being eaten does not involve the fulfillment of any mitzvah, not even rabbinical. Thus, if he ate the food by a Seudas Mitzvah, or Maaser Sheiyni in Jerusalem, or in a mourner’s home in the process of comforting the mourners, then he is exempt from liability.
- he eats the food together with a group of lowlifes
- he eats the food in a half-cooked state, not completely raw and not fully cooked.
- He mixes the wine together with some water
- he drinks the wine like a glutton
- he eats a weight of 50 Dinarim of meat in one session of eating
- he drinks 1/2 a Lug of wine in one eating session
Halacha 3: The food and drink that makes the rebellious child liable
- The type of meat: If the rebellious child ate foods other than meat of an animal, then he is not liable.
- This applies even if he ate poultry.
- If he ate only some meat of an animal, and then poultry, which added up to a total of 50 Dinarim of meat and poultry together, then he is liable.
- The type of beverage: If the rebellious son drank beverages other than wine then he is not liable.
- Raw meat: If the rebellious child ate raw meat of an animal, then he is not liable.
- Wine not mixed with water: If the rebellious child drank wine that was not mixed with water, then he is not liable.
- Salted meat: If the rebellious child ate salted meat of an animal on its third day of being salted, then he is not liable.
- Freshly squeezed grape juice: If the rebellious child drank freshly squeezed grape juice that has not yet aged to become wine, then he is not liable.
Halacha 5: The age of the rebellious child was liable for capital punishment
- Under Bar Mitzvah: If the rebellious child has not reached the age of mitzvos then he is not liable.
- An adult: If the rebellious child is an adult who is in his own domain, then he is not liable for stealing and eating the gluttonous meal.
- Practically, the lifespan of a rebellious child who is liable for capital punishment is from age 13 years and one day, who has grown to pubic hairs, until his entire genitalia is surrounded with hair. Once the genitalia is surrounded with pubic hair, then he is considered in his own domain and is not liable for stoning.
Halacha 6: The lifespan of liability of a rebellious child
- Three months: The maximum lifespan of a rebellious child is only three months. These three months begin from when he first grows his two pubic hairs, as starting from this time he can impregnate a woman and have her fetus be recognizable, and the Torah only made a rebellious child liable for capital punishment and not a potential father.
- If the child grows an abundance of pubic hairs that surround the genitalia prior to the three months, then is likewise exempt.
Halacha 7: The judicial process of the rebellious son
- The first testimony: The father and mother must bring the rebellious child to a court which contains three judges.
- They must bring two witnesses who tell the judges that their son is rebellious and has stolen from his father had purchased meat and why with the money that he stole and ate it in the above-described method after being warned not to do so.
- As a result of this testimony the rebellious child receives lashes.
- The second testimony: If the child repeats the above stealing and eating a second time then the parents are to bring the child to a court which is presided by 23 judges. They must bring two witnesses who testify that he once again stole and ate the foods in the above-mentioned manner.
- The witnesses: It is valid if the witnesses for the first testimony are the same witnesses for the second testimony.
- Checking the age of the child: After the above sense of testimony is received the court is to check the age of the child and if his genitalia has been surrounded by pubic hair. If it is not surrounded by pubic hair and three months have yet to pass since he first began growing them, then his verdict is given in the same manner as all other people were liable for capital punishment.
- The original three judges: The rebellious child cannot be stoned unless the three original judges are present.
Halacha 8: Parents forgive son
- If the mother and father forgive the son for his rebellious actions prior to the verdict, then he is exempt from liability.
Halacha 9: Son runs away
- If the rebellious child ran away prior to the verdict and was only caught after he already grew pubic here around his entire genitalia, then he is exempt from liability.
- If he ran away after the verdict was already given, then he is to be stoned even if he is captured in his old age, as whoever receives a verdict of death is considered like dead is not of any blood.
Halacha 10: The father and mother
- If both parents don’t want to bring child to court: The rebellious son is only liable for capital punishment if both parents, father and mother, agree to take him to court. If either the father or mother do not want to take him to court, then he is not held liable.
- If one of the parents are missing a hand or leg, or are mute, or are blind or deaf, then the son is not liable for capital punishment.
Halacha 11: A rebellious daughter
- It is a decree of the verse that the law of a rebellious child only applies to a son and not to a daughter.
- It also does not apply to a Tumtum or Androgynous.
Halacha 12: Tumtum
- If a Tumtum was later discovered to be a male, he is not liable for capital punishment.
Halacha 13: Announcing the death of the rebellious son
- It is an obligation to announce the death of the rebellious son to the public.
- This is done by writing and distributing to all the Jewish people that an individual was stoned in the following court due to him being a rebellious son.
Halacha 14: Inheriting his money
- The father of the rebellious son inherits all of his assets after his death.