The Shulchan Aruch says:

It is forbidden to burden your children by being particular about them honoring you. [This is so that] you will not pose a stumbling block before them, rather you should forego [your honor] and close your eyes to their actions… [Yoreh Deah 240:19]

What is the source for this law? How far does it extend? Do you know other statements to the effect that parents should not be too demanding of their children of the honor due them?

  • There is a nice peice by Rav Yonason Eibshitz ,who explains that by Eshter since she had no parents and longed to do the mitzva of kibud av it is like she completed kibbud av to the highest level,this was able to deafeat haman who comes from amelek which is gematria 240 which is the same number as siman 240 in YD which is kibbud av,even though esav qas known for his kibbud av it is no match for eshter since she didnt have parents and her wanting was like honoring her parents 100%...ayin sham in Yaaros Devash
    – sam
    Commented Aug 15, 2019 at 2:08
  • 1
    You'e asking three questions. I recommend you ask each in a separate question post so it gets the attention it deserves from potential answerers.
    – msh210
    Commented Aug 15, 2019 at 5:40
  • Also the first Mishnah in Peah says Kibbud has no measure - so very little of it also counts as a Mitzvah.
    – Al Berko
    Commented Aug 17, 2019 at 19:20

2 Answers 2


The idea a father can forego his honor is not obvious on its own since the Torah writes "Honor your father and your mother". It comes from a gemara in Kiddushin 32a

Rav Yitzḥak bar Sheila says that Rav Mattana says that Rav Ḥisda says: With regard to a father who forgoes his honor, his honor is forgone, and his son does not transgress if he does not treat him in the proper manner. By contrast, with regard to a rabbi who forgoes his honor, his honor is not forgone.

The Rambam in Mamrim 6:8 writes similarly

Although these commands [of honoring parents] have been issued, a person is forbidden to lay a heavy yoke on his sons and be particular about their honoring him to the point that he presents an obstacle to them. Instead, he should forgo his honor and ignore any affronts. For if a father desires to forgo his honor, he may.

Despite looking for them, I didn't find other statements on the details of this law, or other statements to that effect.

  • 1
    +1 for the good overview source. I sense that there must be several writings around that provide some specifics. One particular area I'd like to research is how it relates to elder care as well as Shalom Bayit conflicts. E.g. I believe that Shalom Bayit overrules honoring your parents. But, even there, perhaps, there are limits. I may ask about that aspect.
    – DanF
    Commented Aug 15, 2019 at 15:19
  • There is a lot of literature about honor/respect required towards abusive parents, or parents whose mental health is declining lo aleinu
    – mbloch
    Commented Aug 15, 2019 at 15:25

I think the real source AND the measure for this Halachah - the requirement for not being too demanding - is the story in the Gemmorah in Semachot 2:-4 (thanks @Double):

.מעשה בבנו של גורנוס בלוד שברח מבית הספר והראה לו אביו באזנו ונתירא מאביו והלך ואבד עצמו בבגד...:
מעשה בתינוק אחד מבני ברק ששבר צלוחית בשבת והראה לו אביו באזנו ונתירא מאביו והלך ואבד עצמו בבור ...:
מכאן אמרו חכמים אל יראה אדם לתינוק באזנו אלא מלקיהו מיד או ישתוק ולא יאמר לו כלום ר׳ שמעון בן אלעזר אומר יצר תינוק ואשה תהא שמאל דוחה וימין מקרבת:

The conclusion is that only two things might obligate the parents to step back - a kid's physical and religious/spiritual health (which equals or even overrides the physical). In other words, [only] if we suspect that a kid can hurt himself physically or stray from the religious path we should not insist on satisfying our will. If none is at stake, acc. to the Rambam it is a Mitzvah to rebuke and reprimand one's kids for keeping Mitzvos.

Anyways, that's how I learned this Sugya with my Chevrusah.

  • Is it the Rambam in Teshuva 4:1 ? If yes might be worth to mention it
    – mbloch
    Commented Aug 18, 2019 at 17:44

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