Listening to the instructions and commands of one’s parent and the limitations to the requests that they can make:
*Important note: The below law focuses only on the obligations that the child has towards his parents and as to which instructions he is required to listen to. However, as explained in chapter ?? it is forbidden for a parent to overburden his children with demands and requests, which is defined as any matter which one assesses the child may choose not to adhere to due to its difficulty and the like and a parent who makes such a request transgresses the prohibition of Lifnei Iver. Hence, although the below laws give the parent certain request rights from their children, it is not to be abused, and is only to be requested on a case-by-case basis after assessing the child’s willingness to follow it.
Matters that relate to the father and mother and give them direct benefit: According to all opinions, a son and daughter are obligated to obey the requests and instructions of their parents regarding matters that give the parent direct benefit. [Thus, if one’s father or mother asks their child to bring them a cup of water, the child is obligated to obey the request. Likewise, if the parent request from the son that he visit them or call, then he is obligated to do so. This obligation applies even if the requested matter is not befitting for the parent, such as an elderly woman who asks for expensive jewelry. Furthermore, even if one’s parent does not explicitly ask for a certain matter but the child knows that this is his parents’ wishes, then it is a mitzvah to obey their wishes.]
Matters that do not relate to the father or mother and do not give them direct benefit: Some Poskim rule that one is only obligated to listen to his parents’ requests and instructions if the parent will receive some direct benefit from it. However, if the parent will not receive any direct benefit from his wishes being fulfilled, then the child is not obligated to listen to him even regarding mundane matters and certainly regarding matters of religion. Listening to one’s parents in such a case is not included in the command of honoring or fearing one’s parents. Likewise, it does not transgress causing pain to one’s parent, as it is the parent who is causing his own pain by making requests of the child that he is not obligated to follow. Other Poskim, however, rule that it is forbidden for a child to disobey his parents instructions due to the obligation he has to fear his parent, and hence a child is required to listen and obey the wishes and instructions of his parent even if the parent receives no direct benefit and the matter relates solely to the child. This, however, only applies in the presence of the parent or if the parent will eventually become aware that one did not listen to his instructions [and only applies if the matter does not involve a monetary loss, or great discomfort, as explained next]. However, when not in the presence of the parent and in a way that the parents will not find out about it, the child may choose not to adhere to his parents instructions in a case of difficulty or pain, even according to the above stringent opinion. Certainly, from the letter of the law one is not obligated to listen to his parents instructions after their death. [However, if there is no difficulty or pain involved then according to the stringent opinion he is to listen to his parents even when not in their presence and even if they will never find out about it, and even after their death.] Likewise, it only applies to those matters in which there is a reason behind the request. However, if the parent instructs the child to do something simply in order to control the child, then according to all opinions one is not obligated to listen to his parents. Likewise, it only applies if the parent gives a clear instruction to the child. However, if it is a mere suggestion and recommendation then according to all opinions the child is not obligated to listen to his father. certainly, if the parent made no mention of the matter then the child has no obligation to abide by the wishes of his parents even if he knows what their opinion really is. Practically, even according to the first opinion and even in those cases that one is exempt according to all opinions, a child who obeys his parent’s wishes even when not obligated, fulfills the command of honoring his parents and is doing a great Mitzvah in doing so.
Matters that involve monetary loss: According to all opinions, one is not required to listen to the instructions of his parents if doing so will cause him a monetary loss, such as if his parents instructed him to use his money for a purpose which he does not wish to spend the money on. Even if one’s father or mother instructed the child to make a payment on their behalf, such as to make an order for them, or to donate money to an individual or to a cause in their honor, the child is not required to listen to these instructions. This, however, only applies to a loss of money or property that one already has, however, if the instruction will merely cause a loss of profit, then the matter is subject to the debate above. [Some Poskim rule that the above exemption of listening to one’s parents regarding matters that will cause him monetary loss only apply when the son is responsible for earning his own money. If, however, the son received his money from his parents, then the parents have the right to dictate to the son what the money should be used for, and he must listen to their instructions even if it will cause him a monetary loss. Thus, if a parent instructed a child in a will regarding what to do with the inheritance money that they received after the parents’ death, then the child must adhere to his parents’ instructions.]
Matters that involve great sacrifice and lifetime changes on the side of the child: According to all opinions, one is not required to listen to the instructions of his parents if the matter will entail a great sacrifice on the side of the child [and will have long-lasting affects, such as regarding where to live and whom to marry and what job to take], then the child is not obligated to listen to the instructions of his parents.
Matters that involve the public honor of the parent or may bring them shame: If a request is made by the parent from which the parents will derive an honor in the eyes of the public if it is listened to, then perhaps according to all opinions the child is obligated to adhere to their parents request. However, some Poskim are lenient even in such a case. However, if the matter that they’re requesting will bring the parents to shame if it is not adhered to, then according to all opinions one must adhere to their instructions and on this the Torah instructs us that one who shames his parents is cursed.
Matters that will shame the child: According to all opinions, a child is not obligated to listen to the instructions of his parents if doing so will bring him public shame. [Thus, if one’s parent instructs his child to do something outside that will shame and embarrass him to the onlookers, then he is not obligated to listen to his parents.]
Matters that relate to religious observance: See Halacha ?? where this matter was dealt with extensively.
To decline in a respectful manner: Even in those cases that a child is not obligated to obey the instructions of his parents, nevertheless, in light of the prohibition to contradict a statement of one’s parents, it is most certainly also forbidden for one to disobey their instructions in a rude manner, such as to rudely answer them back that he does not feel like doing it, or to completely ignore their instructions.
Examples of matters which are under the above debate of whether one is required to listen to his parents:
- One’s parent instructed him not to drink coffee being that it’s damaging to self
- One’s parent instructed him not to smoke cigarettes.
- One’s parent instructed him to put on a sweater or coat outside being that it is cold.
- One’s parent instructed him not to guarantee a loan for another person.
- One’s parent instructed him not to invest in a certain business. [However, if not entering the business will cause one to lose the money that he has, and not just a potential loss of profit, then according to all opinions he is not obligated to listen to his parents’ instructions.]
- One’s parent instructed him not to enter into politics or to accept upon himself a public position. [This applies even if the position involves the performance of a mitzvah such as to become a fundraiser for a charity or Torah institution. This, however, only applies if there are other people who can do as good of a job as he in the public position. If, however, he would be the best fit for the job, then according to all opinions he does not have to listen to his parents in this matter, being that it is as if they are asking him to abstain from doing a mitzvah which cannot be done by others.]
- One’s parent instructed him to dress a certain way or to avoid certain forms of dress. [However, if the forms of dress that the parents request are in order to give them honor and not cause them to be shamed in public by the way their child dresses, then even according to the lenient opinion above one should be stringent. This however is with exemption to matters of dress that relate to religious observance such as a beard, yarmulke, Tzitzis, white shirt, hat and jacket, and the like.]
- One’s parent instructed him to attend a certain event in their honor. [If attending the event will give public honor to the parent, then perhaps according to all opinions the child is obligated to adhere to their parents request. However, some Poskim are lenient even in such a case.]
- One’s parents instructed him to go to sleep earlier than his usual bedtime. [If, however, the parent request from the child to go to sleep earlier than most people go to sleep without any real reason, then according to all opinions he is not obligated to listen to his parents.]
One is only obligated to adhere to his parents’ requests and instructions in the following cases:
1. The parent will receive direct benefit from the request being followed and the request will does not contradict Torah law.
2. The parent will not receive direct benefit from the request being followed but it will give them great shame if it is not adhered to.
3. According to some opinions, one is always to adhere to the requests of his parents even if they do not receive direct benefit from it, if there is good reason behind the instruction, and the matter will not bring shame to the child, and it will not cause the child monetary loss or a great sacrifice with long-term effects. Other opinions hold that there is no obligation to adhere to his parents’ requests even in such a case if they do not receive direct benefit from the request being followed, and so is the ruling of Admur.
One is not obligated to adhere to his parents’ requests and instructions in the following cases:
1. The request will bring great shame to the child.
2. The request will cause the child monetary loss.
3. The request will require a great sacrifice on the side of the child and have everlasting effects.
According to some opinions there is no obligation to adhere to his parents’ requests if they do not receive direct benefit from the request being followed, and so is the ruling of Admur.
Is a child obligated to listen to the instructions of a parent who is insane?
No, with the exception to matters relating to their general health and well-being.
May one distance himself from his parents if they request from him things that are not befitting for them?
 See Pesakim Uteshuvos 240:64-66 and Miluim 10; Encyclopedia Talmudit Erech Kibud Av Vaeim Vol. 26 p. 385-388; Encyclopedia Talmudit Erech Morah Av Vaeim Vol. 42 p. 592-594
 All Poskim incoming footnotes; Menoras Hamaor Elenkava 4:18; Chareidim 16 Asei 5-1; Encyclopedia Talmudit ibid p. 385 footnotes 209-212
 The reason: Some Poskim rule that this is due to the obligation to honor one’s parent, as part of honoring them is to provide them with their requests of matters that give them direct benefit as well as that listening to their instructions gives them benefit. [Mizrachi Vayikra 19:3; Rishon Letziyon 240; Maharsha Kiddushin 34a; Implication of Chavos Yair 214 and Chaim Sheol 5; Shut Rav Akiva Eiger 1:68 due to both Kavod and Mora; Yad Eliyahu 1:40] Other Poskim, however rule that this is due to the obligation to fear one’s parent, from which we learn that there is a prohibition against contradicting their word. [Maharal in Gur Aryeh Kedoshim 19:3; Ralbag Vayikra 19:3; Kneses Yechezkal 35; Hamakneh Kiddushin 31b; Shut Rav Akiva Eiger 1:68 due to both Kavod and Mora; Emek Sheila C.M. 6; Chazon Ish Y.D. 149:8; Minchas Elazar 2:63; Dibros Moshe Kiddushin 50 footnote 14]
The scriptural source: The verse in Mishleiy 23:22 states “Shema Leavicha Zeh Yiladetecha/listen to your father who has born you” and states [Mishleiy 1:9] “Shema Bini Mussar Avicha/listen my son to the chastising of your father.”
 Pesakim Uteshuvos ibid footnote 551
 Rameh Kiddushin 31b
 See Encyclopedia Talmudit Erech Morah Av Vaeim Vol. 42 p. 594
 See Encyclopedia Talmudit ibid p. 386-387
 Implication of Rama 240:25 that the son is not obligated to obey his father’s requests regarding who he should marry [as understands Gr”a; however, see Derisha 240; 3rd reason in Maharik Shoresh 166 and 2nd reason in Darkei Moshe 240:10 [that the reason for this is because the parent does not receive any direct benefit from this request, as only in relation to matters which give direct benefit to a parent may the parent instruct his child to perform]; Igros Admur Hazakein 81 [printed in Shut Admur Hazakein 75 with many enlightening Biurim, in which he defends the rights of the son to daven the Nussach of his choice despite his parents protests based on the ruling of the Maharik ibid and that so is implied from Kiddushin 31b and the Shulchan Aruch and Yerushalmi 1:7 that one is only obligated to serve the parent, and listen to the parent in matters relating to his service, and not to other matters, and that so is proven from Shita Mekubetzes Bava Metzia 32a, Chidushei Harashba, Ritva, Tosafus Shantz Kiddushin 31a, Tosafus Yevamos 6a]; Maharam Melublin 136; Rashba Yevamos 6a in name of Rabbeinu Chananel; Ramban Yevamos ibid; Ritva Yevamos 6a and Bava Metzia 32a; Michtam Ledavid Y.D. 33; Meshivas Nafesh 1:16; Tirosh Viyitzhar 72; Maharshag O.C. 52:7; Torah Lishma 280; Divrei Yatziv Y.D. 125; Betzel Hachochmah 2:55; Poskim in Encyclopedia Talmudit ibid footnote 218-229
 Meshivas Nafesh ibid
 Implication of Teurmos Hadeshen 40 [regarding that a son may choose his own Yeshiva due to the mitzvah of Torah study, and no mention is made that this is a matter not relevant to the parent]; Ritva ibid in name of Rashi; Levush 240; Ralbag Vayikra 19:3; Maharal in Gur Aryeh Kedoshim 19:3; Mishneh Lemelech Gezeila Veaveida 11:19; Pnei Yehoshua Kiddushin 32a; Minchas Chinuch Mitzvah 539:3; Kneses Yechezkal 35; Chavos Yair 214; Biur Hagr”a 240:36; Chaim Sheol 5; Shut Rav Akiva Eiger 1:68; Hamakneh Kiddushin 31b; Panim Yafos Vayikra 19; Yad Eliyahu 1:40; Emek Sheila C.M. 6; Agudas Eizov Y.D. 15:19; Riy Perlow on Rasag Asei 9; rugas Habosem O.C. 19; Maharsham 1:101; 2:224-13; Minchas Elazar 2:63; Imrei Yosher 2:165; Chazon Ish Y.D. 149:8; Igros Moshe in Teshuvos of his brother 1:3; Koveitz Teshuvos 1:12 of Rav Elyashiv; Shevet Halevi 10:156; Kaneh Bosem 2:91; Chut Shani 240:2; Sefer Ateres Melech p. 91; See Tehila Ledavid Y.D. 95; Implication of all the following Poskim who explained the allowance for a son to marry a woman of his choice against his parents’ wishes is because this would be considered as if the father is telling his child to go against Torah, and not due to the reason of the Maharik brought above [See Levush 240; Derisha 240:4; Maharsham Y.D. 95; Avnei Tzedek Y.D. 99; Aruch Hashulchan 240:45]; Poskim in Encyclopedia Talmudit ibid footnote 230-246; Encyclopedia Talmudit Erech Morah Av Vaeim Vol. 42 p. 594 footnote 324-325
 Some Poskim rule that even according to this opinion this prohibition is only Rabbinical. [Agudas Eizov ibid; Amudei Arazim on Yireim; Encyclopedia Talmudit ibid footnote 242]
 The reason: As it is forbidden for a child to contradict the statements of his father or mother due to the obligation to fear one’s father and mother, and hence certainly he may not disobey their commands. [Ralbag ibid; Hamakneh ibid; Rav Akiva Eiger ibid; Kneses Yechezkal ibid; Encyclopedia Talmudit ibid footnote ] Alternatively, as a person receives more pleasure when his wishes are obeyed even more than being fed or given to drink, and hence it is included within the command of honoring one’s parents. [Rav Akiva Eiger ibid] Likewise, just as we are commanded to obey G-d’s command so too one is commanded to obey his parents’ commands. [Riy Perlow ibid] As for the opinion of the Rama and Maharik ibid who allow the child to marry a woman of his choice even against his parents’ wishes, there are three reasons recorded by the Maharik behind this ruling and it is only with the joint of all three reasons that he was lenient, and it is for this reason that the Rama did not record any reason behind the ruling. [Yad Eliyahu ibid; Sefer Ha?mkneh ibid; Arugas Habosem ibid; Chazon Ish ibid]
 Shut Rav Akiva Eiger Kama 68; Shevet Halevi 10:156; Sefer Yosher Hori 7:18 in name of Rav Elyashiv; Pesakim Uteshuvos 240:65
 Shvus Yaakov 1:168
 Shut Rav Akiva Eiger Kama 68; Maharsham 2:224-15; Minchas Elazar 2:63; Pesakim Uteshuvos 240:65
The reason: As the obligation to listen to his parents’ instructions is due to the obligation of fearing them, which is an offshoot of the prohibition against contradicting their word, of which some Poskim rule that one is required to be stringent even when not in front of them. Furthermore, even according to the main opinion [Taz 240:3] which permits one to contradict their word when not in their presence, listening to their instructions is of greater severity. [Rav Akiva Eiger ibid]
Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that this matter is purely dependent on the dispute regarding if one may contradict his parents when not in their presence and the main opinion is that it is permitted to do so. [Emek Sheila C.M. 6]
 See Agudas Eizov Y.D. 15:19; Chut Shani 240:2; Yosher Horai; Divrei Yoel 105:2; Shevet Halevi 10:156
 Chazon Ish Y.D. 149:8
 Kneses Hagedola 240:29 in name of Maharshach 1:136; Marachei Leiv 2 Derush 73; Shoel Vinishal 3:307
 Meshivas Nafesh 1:16; Birchas Shmuel Yevamos 3; Sefer Yismach Moshe Toldos; Encyclopedia Talmudit ibid p. 387 footnote 229
 Michaber 240:5; Admur C.M. Mechira Halacha 7 “Mitzvas Kibbud Av Eino Ela Bemamon Shel Av”; Kiddushin 32a, as instructed Rabanon to Rebbe Yirmiyah; Rambam Mamrim 6:3; Sheilasos Rav Achaiy Parshas Yisro Sheila’s 56; Tosafus Kiddushin ibid in name of Sheilasos ibid and Riy and Rabbeinu Chanel; Rif Kiddushin 13b; Rosh Kiddushin 1:50; Pesakim Uteshuvos 240:18-23; Encyclopedia Talmudit Erech Kibud Av Vaeim Vol. 26 p. 406 footnote 480-482
 Maharsham 2:224-16; Teshuvos Vehanhagos 3:275; See Pesakim Uteshuvos ibid footnote 594
 Maharsham ibid
 Maharik Shoresh 166 in first reason; Sefer Darkei Hayam p. 146 that this applies according to all opinions; Agudas Eizov Y.D. 15:15; Chazon Ish Y.D. 149:8; Teshuvos Vehanhagos 3:27; Koveitz Hayashar Vehatov 13:31 article of Rav Shpurn; See Beis Meir 239:8; Pesakim Uteshuvos 240:66 footnote 562-563
 See Teshuvos Vehanhagos 3:27; Koveitz Hayashar Vehatov 13:31 article of Rav Shpurn; Pesakim Uteshuvos 240:66 footnote 563
 The reason: As the obligation to listen to his parents instructions is only in a case that it will not cause the child a monetary loss, as stated above, and something that will cause the child great everlasting distress is no less of significance than monetary loss for which the child is exempt. [Poskim ibid; See Pesakim Uteshuvos 240 footnote 562 for how he resolves the seeming contradictions to this point]
 Maharsham 2:224-16; Betzel Hachochmah 2:55; Implication of wording of Maharik ibid and other Poskim ibid
 Maharam Melublin ibid
 Meishiv Davar 2:50; Arugas Habosem O.C. 19
 Torah Lishma 270 based on Mishneh Kesubos 71b
 Igros Kodesh Rayatz 13:505 “Honoring one’s parents is dependent to a certain degree also on the form of speech and therefore when speaking with one’s parents it must be in a very gentle manner and with true Derech Eretz, even if one’s final response to them must be an emphatic no [for a request they make which one is not obligated to listen to]”; Igros Kodesh 13:205; Chut Shani 240:4; Pesakim Uteshuvos ibid
 Pesakim Uteshuvos 240:64
 See Shelah Shaar Haosiyos Derech Vatranus 10 that he testifies of himself that he was instructed by his father not to guarantee a loan for any of the person, and that he must listen to these instructions
 Pesakim Uteshuvos ibid footnote 549
 Chaim Sheol 5; Mishkanos Haroim Mareches Gimel 11
 Shoel Vnishal 4 Y.D. 69; Kinyan Torah 5:100; Pesakim Uteshuvos ibid footnote 595
 Maharsham 2:224-16; Meishiv Davar 2:50; Arugas Habosem O.C. 19; Betzel Hachochmah 2:55.
 See Igros Admur Hazakein 81; Agudas Eizov Y.D. 15; Meshivas Nafesh Y.D. 16; Pesakim Uteshuvos ibid and 240:64
 Maharsham 2:224-16; Betzel Hachochmah 2:55; Implication of wording of Maharik ibid and other Poskim ibid
 Maharam Melublin ibid
 Divrei Yoel 105:2
 Bach 240
 Rameh Kiddushin 31b; Yam Shel Shlomo Kiddushin ibid; Chacham Tzvi Tosafus Chadashim 20