HONORING PARENTS (Yerushalmi Peah Halachah 1 Daf 3a)


(The Mishnah taught (daf 2(b)) that) honoring one's parents (is amongst those Mitzvos for which a person eats from their fruits (i.e. a small part of the reward) in this world and the principal (reward) is in the world to come.)



(R. Avuhah citing R. Yochanan): They asked R. Eliezer - how far (reaching) is (the requirement to) honor one's parents?


(R. Eliezer): You are asking me? Go and ask Damah ben Nesinah! Damah ben Nesinah was the head of the army. Once, his mother hit him on the face with a shoe, in front of all of his soldiers. The shoe fell from her hand and he handed it back to her to prevent her from being upset.

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(R. Chizkiyah): He was a gentile from Ashkelon and head of the army. He never sat on the stone on which his father sat. When his father died, he made the stone his deity.

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Once, the Yashpeh stone of the tribe of Binyamin (used on the Kohen Gadol's breastplate) was lost. They asked who had such a stone and were told that Dama ben Nesinah had it. They went to him and settled on a price of 100 golden dinar. Dama went to get it and discovered that his father was sleeping. Some say that the key to its box was on his father's finger and some say that his leg was resting on the box. He returned to them and told them that he cannot get it. They said, "Perhaps he wants more money for it". They raised their offer to 200 dinar and eventually to 1000 dinar. When his father woke up, Dama went and brought them the stone. They tried to pay him (the full 1000 dinar) like the last offer they had made, but he did not accept it. He said, "Would I sell you my father's honor for money? I will not get any benefit from my father's honor!"

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How did Hash-m reward him? R. Yosi bei R. Bun said - That night, his cow gave birth to a red calf and all of the Jews paid him for it its weight in gold.

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R. Shabsai: The pasuk states (Iyov 37, 23), "...With justice and great righteousness, he does not act strictly"- Hasham does not delay the reward for good deeds performed by gentiles.

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R. Tarfon's mother went to walk in her courtyard on Shabbos and her sandal broke. R. Tarfon went and placed his hands under her feet and she walked in this way until she reached her bed.


The Chachamim once went to visit R. Tarfon who had become sick and his mother said to them, "Pray for my son Tarfon as he is honoring me too much! They asked her what he does for her and she told them the story. They told her, "Even if he would do this a million times, it would not reach even half the honor commanded by the Torah."

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R. Yishmael's mother came and complained about him to the Rabbis. She told them to rebuke her son Yishmael as he does not honor her. When the Rabbis heard this, they were shocked. They said, "Could it be that R. Yishmael does not honor his parents?" They asked her what he had done to her and she said, "When he returns from the study hall, I wish to wash his feet and give him water to drink, but he does not allow it. The Rabbis told R. Yishmael, "Since this is her will, you must allow her to do it."

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(R. Mana): The grinders have a good saying -'every person has his merits in his box' (meaning that whether a person produces a lot of wheat or not is according to his Mazal and merit). R. Tarfon's mother told the Sages that he is honoring her too much. They replied that he hasn't even reached half of what the Torah requires. R. Yishmael's mother told this to the Sages and they replied that this is her honor. R. Zeira was upset that he didn't have parents to honor and inherit Gan Eden. When he heard these two Baraisos (about R. Tarfon and R. Yishmael), he said, "Baruch Hash-m that I don't have a father or mother - I couldn't do like R. Tarfon nor accept upon myself that which R. Yishmael accepts.


R. Avun: I am exempt from honoring my parents, as my father died when my mother was pregnant with me and my mother died in childbirth.


A person could feed his father fattened bird and still inherit Gehinnom. A person could have his father grind with a millstone and still inherit Gan Eden.


How could he feed his father fattened bird and still inherit Gehinnom? A person was once feeding his father fattened bird. His father asked him where he obtained the bird. His son replied, "Old man, old man; eat and be quiet like a dog."

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How could he have his father grind with a millstone and he still inherit Gan Eden? A person was once grinding with a millstone and the order came that his father must grind in service of the king. The man said to his father, "Come and grind here in my place and don't go and grind for the king. It is better that they disgrace me rather than you and it is better that they hit me rather than you."

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The pasuk states (Vayikra 19:3), "Every man shall fear his mother and his father"; and the pasuk states (Devarim 6:13), "You shall fear Hash-m your G-d and to Him you shall serve". The Torah compares fear of one's parents to fear of Hash-m.

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The pasuk states (Shemos 20:12), "Honor your father and your mother" and it says (Mishlei 3:9), "Honor Hash-m from your wealth". The Torah compares honoring one's parents to honoring Hash-m.

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The pasuk states (Shemos 21:17), "One who curses his father or mother shall be put to death"; and the pasuk states (Vayikra 24:15), "If a person shall curse his G-d, he shall bear his sin". The Torah compares cursing one's parents with cursing G-d.



However, the Torah could not have referred to hitting G-d; but it is logical to compare them in reference to honor and fear, since they were partners (with G-d) in their son's creation.


What is fear? Don't sit in his place; don't give a public Torah class in a place that he usually speaks; don't contradict him. What is honor? Feed him, give him to drink, clothe him, give him shoes, bring him in (to town), send him off.


Question: Who pays for all of these services (the father or the son)?



Answer (Huna bar Chiya): The father. And some say - the son. Didn't R. Abahu say in the name of R. Yosi bar Chanina - from where do we know that even if his father told him to throw his money pouch into the sea, the son should listen to him?


Both a man and a woman are obligated in honoring their parents, but a man has the capability to do so and a woman does not, because she is in the domain of others (i.e. her husband). If she was widowed or divorced, it is as if she is capable.

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R. Chiya bar Vava disagrees (with comparing the honor of parents with the honor of Hash-m), as R. Yudan, his cousin, taught a Baraisa from R. Shimon bar Yochai - so great is the Mitzvah of honoring parents, that Hash-m preferred it over his own honor, as the pasuk states (Shemos 20:12), "Honor your father and your mother" and it says (Mishlei 3:9), "Honor Hash-m from your wealth" - with what should you honor Him? With that which He graced you...Separate Leket, Shichecha and Peah; separate Terumah, Maaser Rishon, Maaser Sheni, Maaser Ani, Challah, make a Succah, a Lulav, perform the Mitzvos of Shofar, Tefillin, Tzitzis, feed the poor and the hungry and give the thirsty to drink.


If you have (produce/ possessions/ fields) you are obligated in these Mitzvos. But whether one has wealth or not and even if one collects charity from door to door, one is obligated in the Mitzvah of honoring one's parents. (The beginning of this Baraisa clearly shows that honoring parents is preferable to, rather than comparable to honoring Hash-m.)

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(R. Acha citing R. Aba bar Kahanah): The pasuk states (Mishlei 5:6), "Lest you weigh the path of life, her paths have wandered off and you shall not know." Hash-m did not reveal the reward for Mitzvos in the next world, so that people would serve Him faithfully.

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(R. Acha citing R. Yitzchak): The pasuk states (Mishlei 4:23), "From every prohibition guard your heart, because the matters of life (come) out of it" - from whatever was said to you in the Torah, guard yourselves, because you do not know from which of them life will come to you.



(R. Abba bar Kahana): The Torah equated the lightest Mitzvah with the most serious Mitzvah; the lightest Mitzvah is sending away the mother bird; the most serious Mitzvah is honoring one's parents - about both of them the pasuk promises long life.

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(R. Avin): If about something which is considered to be paying off a debt (honoring parents), the Torah writes, "in order that He will give good to you and in order that your days will be lengthened"; something that involves monetary loss and danger will certainly be rewarded greatly.

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(R. Levi): (Disagreeing) On the contrary, greater is something that is paying off a debt than something that is not.

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(R. Shimon ben Yochai): Just as the reward for honoring parents and sending away the mother bird are the same (as the pasuk states), so the punishment for not fulfilling them is the same, as the pasuk states (Mishlei 30:17), "The eye that mocks the father and despises the mother's wrinkles (may the ravens of the valley pick it out, and the young eagles devour it)" - The eye that mocked honoring its father and mother and despised not taking 'the mother upon the young', 'may the ravens of the valley pick it out' - let the cruel raven come and pick it out and not benefit from it and let the merciful eagle come and benefit from it.

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R. Yonasan and R. Yannai were once sitting and a man came and kissed R. Yonasan's feet. R. Yannai asked R. Yonasan what he had done for this man to deserve this treatment. R. Yonasan told him that once the man had complained that his son does not sustain him. R. Yonasan told him, "Go and embarrass him publicly in the Synagogue and he will sustain you!"

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R. Yannai asked R. Yonasan why he didn't force the son to sustain his father. R. Yonasan replied. "Force him? (But the law is that one honors a father from the property of the father?!)" R. Yannai said, "But you are not aware that if the father does not have the wherewithal but the son does, the son must sustain him." R. Yonasan retracted and established the Halacha in the name of R. Yannai.



R. Yaakov bar Acha/ R. Shmuel bar Nachman also said in the name of R. Yonasan that we force the son to sustain the father.

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(R. Yosi bei R. Bun): If only all of my learning was as clear to me as this law that one may force a son to sustain his father.