Honoring One’s Father in the Koren Talmud Bavli

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June 16, 2019 marks Father’s Day in the U.S. The commandment of honoring one’s mother and father is considered so important in Judaism that it is one of the “Ten Commandments” that Moshe Rabbeinu brought down from Har Sinai. From here we learn that to honor one’s father is not just a yearly affair rather a mitzvah that we are obligated in all the days of the year. However, do we really know what it means to “honor one’s father?” Is it to simply buy your father a card and a tie or do our Sages have other ideas?

To answer that question let’s take a look at Tractate Kiddushin Daf 31 Amud B from the Koren Talmud Bavli edition:

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Here is one of many sections that discuss the details of this commandment:

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This section details what it means to “fear” one’s father and one it means to “honor” one’s father. From here we learn that:

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As more explicitly written in Halakhic works (Rambam’s Sefer Shofetim, Hilkhot Mamrim, Shulhan Arukh) to “fear” or “revere” one’s father is to not stand/sit in his place, not contradict him, don’t take another’s side in an argument involving one’s father, and to not call him by his name. To “honor” is to provide him with food, drink, and clothing and to take care of him in any other matter that he may require.

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The “Notes” section of the Koren Talmud Bavli contains the commentary by Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz. From this section we dissect even further the command to fear and honor one’s father. What does it mean to never contradict your father? The Meiri argues that this command applies only when in your father’s presence. Tosefot Rabbeinu Yizhak of Dampierre rules it applies only while the father is alive.

There you have it from this sugya! Study your copy of Tractate Kiddushin to learn even more on this subject and comment below to get the conversation started.

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