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Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Should you disobey your parents to obey G-d?


Daf Yomi Yevamos 5

NCSY is probably the most successful initiative in the world of kiruv – drawing our brothers and sisters back to their heritage.  Dozens of our community kids have been inspired by NCSY to live Torah-observant lives.  The Shabbatons are incredible – many a teen has returned from a Shabbos away determined to become a more committed Jew.

But it doesn’t always come without its costs.  Justin’s parents were irate.  He had been inspired to keep Shabbos and now refused to go by car with his parents to eat Friday night dinner with their friends who live downtown.
“You think you’re so frum (religious)?” they said to him mockingly, “What about the fifth commandment – Honour thy father and thy mother?”

The Beraisa states: You might think that honouring one’s parents overrides the observance of Shabbos.  Therefore, Scripture teaches, “Each person, his mother and father, you must fear; and you all shall keep My Sabbaths; I am the L-rd.”  The verse means that all of you – you, your father and your mother – are obligated in My honour, says G-d.

There are three instances when we may disobey our parents.  They can’t tell you who to marry.  They can’t instruct you where to learn Torah.  And they most certainly can’t ask you to disobey the Almighty.  After all, they too are obligated in His honour; so in fact by listening to them telling you to disobey the Torah, you are bringing them dishonour!

It’s not easy when a loved one chooses to take a new path and start leading a Torah observant life.  It takes patience on the part of both parties, whether it’s your child, your spouse, your parent.  And you have to be so careful to navigate the rough waters of the new dynamic of the relationship.  Yes, you must obey G-d.   But if you talk disrespectfully to your parent or spouse in an attempt to get your point across, then you have dishonoured Him. 

Don’t become preachy.  Don’t become annoying.  Do your very best to observe the commandments without inconveniencing anyone else.  Need to cook kosher food?  The whole family doesn’t need to transform their kitchen and eating habits to accommodate you.  Buy a single camping stove to cook your food.  Wash your dishes in the laundry room.  Eat cold food.  Do whatever you must to make sure that your newfound enthusiasm for Torah is not causing anyone else to be less enthusiastic about Torah.


Torah should bring families together not cause ill feeling between loved ones.  If you’re really striving to honour the Almighty, bend over backwards to indeed bring Him honour from all who see your commitment!