Halachically speaking, one is obligated to honor parents. My question is, if a parent happens to have a serious mental health defect (such as say Alzheimer’s syndrome), is it permissible to put them in an institution like a nursing home? I don’t know if this constitutes a violation of the positive commandment of honoring mother and father, but I could see a strong case it is not if the officials at the nursing home are competent. What is the general rule regarding this

  • Rabbi Torczyner will be talking about this TONIGHT: eitzchayim.shulcloud.com/adult-education
    – Shalom
    Dec 3, 2023 at 17:31
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    I don't get it. If that's the best care how can it be a violation? And if it's not why would you do it?
    – Heshy
    Dec 3, 2023 at 18:37
  • @Heshy: Theoretically you could care for your parents - but at the cost of a significant personal sacrifice: Giving up your career, losing almost all of your free time etc.
    – einpoklum
    Dec 4, 2023 at 11:42

1 Answer 1


Ask your LOR if this is relevant but the Shulchan Aruch Yore Deah 240:10 says that if one can not deal with their elderly parents due to serious mental health defects he should have others do so:

מי שנטרפה דעת אביו או אמו משתדל לנהוג עמהם כפי דעתם עד שירוחם עליהם ואם אי אפשר לו לעמוד מפני שנשתנו ביותר ילך לו ויניחם ויצוה לאחרים לנהגם כראוי

If one's father or mother has become mentally lost , he should make an effort to behave toward them according to their state of mind, until they will be shown mercy.(heal) But if it is impossible for him to stand because they have become utterly insane, he may leave them and go, find others to take proper care of them.

In todays times that would be either hiring aides for them or putting them in a nursing home

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    The literal translation from the Hebrew seems to be "one's father or mother have lost their minds" or "become insane"; "mentally lost" is a more relaxed requirement IMHO.
    – einpoklum
    Dec 4, 2023 at 11:43

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