The Mitzvah and obligation of Kibud Av Vaeim-Part 1

The Mitzvah and obligation:[1]

A. Its Biblical status:

Honoring and fearing one’s father and mother are each a positive command in the Torah[2], and honoring one’s parents is famously listed as the fifth of the 10 Commandments. [The command of honoring one’s parents is listed by the Rambam as the 210th Command of the Torah[3], while the command to fear one’s parents is listed by the Rambam as the 211th Command of the Torah.[4]]


B. Its importance:

Being very careful in this Mitzvah:[5] One must be very careful in the honor of his father and mother and in fearing them.[6] [This mitzvah is considered the most severe of severe.[7] People must strengthen themselves in the fulfillment of this mitzvah, as due to our many sins, there are many common transgressions that occur in this command due to lack of knowledge of its details and due to lack of knowledge of its importance. Things have become so bad that is now the parents who need to respect and honor and fear their children as opposed to the opposite.[8] Part of the reason behind why people are lax in this mitzvah, is because people are so accustomed to being with her parents and become accustomed to a relationship that does not involve respect or fear of parental hierarchy.]

Overcomes the evil of Eisav and hastens the redemption:[9] Esav was renowned for his meticulous honor that he showed his father. Until this day his descendants reap the rewards of his mitzvah, and due to it were given the power to rule over the Jewish people. Thus, when the Jewish people also properly perform this mitzvah of honoring their parents, they revoke this permission from the descendants of Esav. This in essence hastens the redemption. It is due to this great power contained within the mitzvah of honoring one’s parents, that Satan wages war against it and places obstacles in front of children to prevent them from fulfilling it properly.

C. Its greatness and reward:

The greatness of the Mitzvah:[10] Honoring one’s parent is a great positive command in the Torah.

The virtue:[11] One who honors his father and mother, G-d considers as if He has dwelled in that household, and that He was honored.[12] [Indeed, the fulfillment of this mitzvah draws the divine presence onto the Jewish people.[13]]

Is praised:[14] Whoever is most careful and pious and strict in the fulfillment of this mitzvah, is praised.

Reaps the reward in this world: The Mishneh[15] states that honoring one’s father and mother is one of those Mitzvos listed which one gets to eat from their fruits in this world, and still retains its reward in the next world. Thus, although he will receive reward and even this world, he will not lose out from any of the main designated reward in the next world.[16]

A high place in the Garden of Eden:[17] One who is careful in the mitzvah of honoring his parents, merits a high place in the Garden of Eden on the level of the absolutely righteous.



[1] Pesakim Uteshuvos 240:1-2; 15

[2] Rama ibid “Mitzvas Asei”; Rambam Sefer Hamitzvos Mitzvah 210-211; Chinuch Mitzvah 33; 212

[3] Rambam Sefer Hamitzvos Mitzvah 210; Chinuch lists it as the 33rd command of the Torah

[4] Rambam Sefer Hamitzvos Mitzvah 211; Chinuch lists it as the 212th command of the Torah

[5] Michaber Y.D. 240:1; Braisa Kiddushin 30b

[6] The reason: As this command to honor one’s parents is connected with the verse which discusses the honoring of God [“Kabeid Es Hashem Mihonecha,” Mishleiy 3:9]. [Kiddushin 30b and 32a]

[7] Tanucham Parshas Eikev 2; Yerushalmi beginning of Peiah; See Kiddushin 31b that due to its severity and demanding details, Rebbe Yochanon stated that from a certain perspective, one who has not met his parents benefits from the fact that he will not be subject to being punished for not properly honoring them. Likewise, Rebbe Ze’ira once expressed sorrow that he was an orphan who never met his parents and was never able to fulfill the mitzvah of honoring them, and later after learning of the severity of this mitzvah exclaimed that he is indebted to God for not having been challenged with this mitzvah. [Yerushalmi Peiah 1:1]

[8] Yearos Devash 2:2 and 12                                                               

[9] See Noam Elimelech Parshas Vayeitzei; Rachamei Ha’av 2

[10] Rambam Mamarim 6:1; Maharashdam O.C. 36 “There is no greater mitzvah than the mitzvah to honor one’s father and mother which is connected with the honor of God.”; See Yerushalmi Peiah 1:7 that this mitzvah of honoring one’s parents in the eyes of God is even greater than the mitzvah to honor Him Himself.

[11] Kiddushin 30b

[12] As a man “Ish” and woman “Isha” both contain the Yud and “Kei” of G-d’s name. Thus, it is considered that G-d is dwelling within them, and by them being honored one is likewise honoring Him. When however, there is lack of honor, then G-d does not dwell his name of Yud “Kei” within the parents and they thus remain “Eish” Eish”, fire with fire. The reason that the parents get punished for this is because they brought up a son which does not honor them. [Agados Maharsha]. Based on this perhaps one can explain the connecting between chapter 240 in Orach Chaim and this current chapter which is also 240. As when parents fulfill the proper form of kedusha in their marriage, which is the laws mentioned in 240 Orach Chaim, then they merit that the sons fulfill the laws of Kibud Av Vaeim in 240 Yoreh Deah.

[13] Menoras Hamaor 13

[14] Harash Peiah 1; Yireim Mitzvah 222; Meiri Kiddushin 31b

[15] Peiah 1:1; Kiddushin 39b; Shabbos 127a

[16] Meiah Shearim Shaar Vav

[17] Seder Hadoros Erech Rebbe Yehoshua Ben Alam

Leave A Comment?

You must be logged in to post a comment.