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The son is 8 years old. (I add this fact, b/c there may be some leniencies to the halacha as he is below Bar Mitzvah.)

Dad wants to begin Shabbat "early" before the "regular" candle lighting time (18 m before sundown). Dad wants the son to come to shul with him. (There is no "community time application" as there are numerous shuls each having different times.)

Mom needs a bit more time to cook the chicken and she wants the son to help her. Without his help, no chicken and mom says, "Shabbat will be ruined!" (OK, she's a nervous mom, but I think she means it, this time!) She needs to start Shabbat later.

For purposes of honoring parents (Kibud Av Va'em), whom does the son have to listen to? If there is a problem of desecrating Shabbat if he listens to mom (as he wants to start later), please indicate why. (In this case, it becomes obvious he has to follow dad who is observing halacha.)

Note: Please don't answer, "Go with dad to shul to ask the Rav what to do." The Rav is in the Catskills for the summer telling others what to do :-)

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Is this a Kibbud Av vaEm question? –  Double AA Jul 25 at 15:29
    
If so, he should probably listen to the father, as both he and the mother have a chiyuv to honor the father. –  LiquidMetal Jul 25 at 15:58
    
If Shabbat will be ruined then the father should stay home and pray later. –  Gershon Gold Jul 25 at 16:42
    
Sounds like this is a shalom bayit conversation. I don't understand where halacha comes into play. This is something the married couple needs to work out internally. –  Charles Koppelman Jul 25 at 17:07
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@DanF My inference is that each parent wants the son to do something different. I understand this question is asking from the son's POV, but it sounds like the problem is having two different "managers" so to speak with different expectations... The managers in this case are on the same team and should likely discuss things. –  Charles Koppelman Jul 25 at 18:38

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

On Kiddushin 31a, Rabbi Eliezer is quoted saying that when both parents want something the father should be given precedent, because both the mother and the child are obligated to honor the father.

This is based on the mishnah on Keritut 28a, which states that, biblically, the mother and the father have equal rights, but rabbinically the Sages gave the father precedent, for the above reason. This deliberation was probably made to preempt cases like this.

Choice of the father over the mother is likely based on Rabbi Judah Hanassi's saying at the end of 30b in Kiddushin, that one tends to honor their mother more than their father, because she persuades her child with words, which is why God mentioned the father before the mother1.

Obviously CYLOR for actual psak in the Catskills. I think there is an argument amongst Rishonim as to what constitutes honoring parents that might apply here. Specifically whether or not honoring means even fulfilling subjective desires that are more abstract, or only physically helping them in a palpable way. If the former, the father would be followed. If the latter, looks like the mother is the only one who actually wants to be "honored" by the letter of the law...

But based solely on the above information, the child should go to shul with his father.


1. In the 5th commandment, found in Exodus 20:11. Compare to fearing one's parents. Leviticus 19:3, where the mother is mentioned first. See further in Rebbi's saying.

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IIRC the children follow the mother, as far as accepting Shabbat is concerned.

This only applies to kids under Bar/Bat Mitzva. Adults have to accept Shabbat by themselves.

(It will take me a while to find the source - please be patient...)

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