It says in Sotah 49a that

רַב אַחָא בַר יַעֲקבֹ אִיטַּפַל בֵיהּ בְרַב יַעֲקבֹ בַר בְרַתֵּיהּ כִי גָּדַל א״ל אַשְקְיָין מַיָּא אָמַר לוֹ לָאו בְרִיךְ אֲנָא

Rav Acha bar Yaakov reared Rav Yaakov, his daughter's son. When he grew up, the grandfather said to him, Give me some water to drink. He said to him, I am not your son.

Why did Rav Yaakov not get him water? He raised him, and even if kivud av va'em (Honoring one's parents) doesn't apply, doesn't he still have the obligation of hakarat hatov? (recognizing the good)

  • Tangentially related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/85610 judaism.stackexchange.com/q/95596
    – Fred
    Jan 2, 2023 at 7:36
  • 3
    Maybe his goal was to elucidate the halacha as per the Aruch hashulchan's understanding: "כלומר: דכיבוד כבן אינו מחוייב, אבל מכל מקום חייב לכבדו" Only by pointing out that he is a grandchild (and yet still gives kavod) do we learn that there is a chiyuv to give kavod. Note that the text doesn't say he didn't get him water.
    – rosends
    Jan 2, 2023 at 12:14

1 Answer 1


The DafDigest on Sotah 49a cites this Gemara and cites two different approaches. Approach 1 is that of the Maharik:

Maharik writes that there is no source that a grandchild is obligated to honor a grandparent and the Gemara in Yevamos that states that grandchildren are like children (בני בנים הרי הם כבנים) refers only to the mitzvah of פרו ורבו i.e. a grandparent is credited with the mitzvah of פרו ורבו if he leaves behind grandchildren even if he does not leave behind children.

Approach 2 is that of the Yad Avraham on the Shulchan Aruch:

Yad Avrohom in his commentary to Shulchan Aruch notes that our Gemara is not a definitive proof that a grandson is not obligated to honor his grandfather because a distinction could be made between a maternal grandfather and a paternal grandfather. Basing himself on a Midrash he entertains the possibility that a grandson is not obligated to honor a maternal grandfather but is obligated to honor a paternal grandfather.

The Sefer Charedim however, maintains that grandchildren are like children, and thus, the obligation of Kibbud Av Va-em applies here.

The Steinsaltz on this Gemara seems to echoe the commentary of the Yad Avraham.

In the case of this Gemara, "Rav Acha bar Yaakov reared Rav Yaakov, his daughter's son", the commentary of the approach of the Yad Avraham seems to apply, "a grandson is not obligated to honor a maternal grandfather".

  • 2
    How does this answer the question? The question is not why kibud av doesn't apply here, but why, despite it not applying, Rav Yaakov was rude to his grandfather.
    – Harel13
    Jan 4, 2023 at 8:51

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