I'm asking this question as a follow up to my other question - Honoring a parent vs. Shalom Bayit - which has priority?

The main answer given in that question indicates that honoring one's parents generally has extremely high priority. However, when that conflicts with the observance of a Torah law, then, one should not listen to the parents.

With these conditions in mind, I'd like to follow up with a practical question.

Elder care is a huge concern for the "sandwich" generation. Families have to make difficult decisions between their own family's "health" and their parents. The problem is compounded when parents live some distance away.

In viewing the answer in the linked question, there seems to be "equal weight" Torah commandments between educating your children and honoring your parents.

So, assume that someone's parents requests that that the child live with them so that s/he can care for them, and assume that they do not want an aide or others to do this job. With these two "equal" Torah commandments in mind, can a child absolve himself of honoring his parents request completely (i.e. living with his parents, specifically)? Can / should s/he find an aide or place them in a nursing home so that someone else can care for them, and override his parent's objections? And, can s/he absolve him/herself of other solutions if the parents insist on no other solution other than his living with them?

  • 1
    To VTCers: I’m not sure how this is practical psak, nor how it’s too broad.
    – DonielF
    Aug 15, 2019 at 16:48
  • In this to type of situation, as well as the one in your earlier question, one has to be on the lookout for אפשר לקיים שניהם a way to fulfill both mitzvos. Many times there is an un-obvious way to do both, an expensive way to do both, a non-optimal way, etc. תשוע ברוב יועץ, get lots of advice (not just from Mi Yodeah :-)
    – Mordechai
    Aug 15, 2019 at 18:06
  • I VTCed as "impossible to tell" aka too broad. There's no pure "honoring" halochos, no pure "elder care" etc, so it's impossible to tell. Why not toss in Limud Torah and Living in Israel. But I'd like to hear what you expected posting such question?
    – Al Berko
    Aug 17, 2019 at 19:00

1 Answer 1


Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 240:12:

אמר לו אביו השקני מים ויש לפניו לעשות מצוה עוברת כגון קבורת מת או לויה אם אפשר למצוה שתעשה ע"י אחרים יעסוק בכבוד אביו (ואם התחיל במצוה תחלה יגמור דהעוסק במצוה פטור מן המצוה) (ב"י בשם הר"ן) ואם אין שם אחרים לעשות יעסוק במצוה ויניח כבוד אביו. (מיהו אם אין זמן המצוה עוברת יעסוק בכבוד אביו ואח"כ יעשה המצוה) (רבינו ירוחם נתיב א' בשם רא"ש):

His father said to him, “Give me water to drink,” and there is before him an opportunity to do a passing Mitzvah, such as burying or eulogizing a deceased: if it can be done by others, he should involve himself in honoring his father (Rema: if he already began the Mitzvah, he should conclude it, as one who is involved in a Mitzvah is exempt from [other] Mitzvos), and if there are no others to do it, he should involve himself in the Mitzvah and leave the honor of his father. (Rema: However, if the time of the Mitzvah will not pass, he should involve himself in the honor of his father and then do the Mitzvah.)

Since the son must be home to educate his children, it would seem to be a Mitzvah which cannot be performed by others, and he’s exempt from honoring his parents if they insist on it being performed in a way which will interfere with his children’s education.

  • +1. But, I agree with your comment in that I'm uncertain how or if this can be extrapolated to my case mentioned, above. The scenario that I mentioned, though, is quite common.
    – DanF
    Aug 15, 2019 at 17:15
  • Your answer to this question - judaism.stackexchange.com/a/73125/5275 may influence your opinion, here, perhaps?
    – DanF
    Aug 15, 2019 at 17:18
  • @DanF The financial side of it I think is irrelevant to this case. I thought about Kiddushin 64 but it seems that both of these mitzvos are ones others imposed on him, rather than either being a personal obligation.
    – DonielF
    Aug 15, 2019 at 17:22

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