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"Sure Pop, But Give Me Your Credit Card"

The Halacha is that when honoring one's parents the money need not come from the child. If a parent wants the child to feed him or her - it is the parent and not the child who must foot the bill. "Mishel Av" - it is called by our Holy Talmud. [Even though "Michelle" would more likely be the name of the "Aim".]

Wait a minute!! Come Succos time, I must spend up until a fifth of all of my money [which would come to about $2.50] to acquire an esrog. For that matter, to fulfill any mitzvas aseh, one must spend up until a fifth. [To refrain from transgressing an aveirah one must spend EVERYTHING. Hey, I know people who will do an aveirah and PAY for it.]

Why is the mitzva of honoring one's parents different and no outlay of the child's funds is necessary? It is a mitzva to honor one's parents and it should be no different from any other mitzva.

let me be a jew and answer a question with a question (actually this is my rebbe, rav avigdor's question). why doesn't the talmud there (kidushin 32a) justify in any way either of the two opinions? (mishel av and mishel ben)

maybe all agree that the maaseh of kibud av va'em is only the act of kibud itself. maybe even the opinion that holds mishel av would agree that one has to spend up to a fifth in order to perform the mitvah like any other mitvat aseh. the question is beyond that. the opinion that holds mishel av says that only the ma'seh kibud is the mitzvah(ma'achilo, maskhehu etc.), also the opinion of mishel ben agrees in princaple, however if one funds it mishel av (ask your dad for his credit card) it is pogea the kibud itself. (all of this is rav avigdor. none of it is me. in fact, he actually typed it, b/c i wasn't sure i would get it right.)

My dear friend Morah!

Rav Avigdor is a fine Torah scholar, much greater than myself. I just haven't the foggiest what he means.

Also, what do you mean by "justify". [Sorry, as I mentioned in a recent post, English is my second language.]

Chag Sameach

by "justify" i mean the gemora doesn't explain the makhlokes, "mai taime?" etc. just gives both sides without explaining the makhlokes in any way. quite odd.
after some research i found in the chazon ish (y"d siman 149;2) that he suggests that kibud av doesn't apply to the giving of money, he even suggests that even according to the opinion of "mishel ben" that would only apply when the father doesn't have money of his own! (again according to the chazon ish the maaseh kibud is the mitzvah, not the money. there isn't a special mitzvah of tzedokah to parents). according to this the opinion of "mishel ben" is more difficult to understand.
i wanted to suggest that the opinion "mishel ben" holds that taking the money from your parents is pogei'a the maaseh kibud itself.

Dear Rav Avigdor,

Thank you for the clarification!

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About me

  • I'm Rabbi Ally Ehrman
  • From Old City Jerusalem, Israel
  • I am a Rebbe in Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh.
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