Is a convert obliged to honor his parents? I understand that a convert loses all halakhic relationship to his parents upon being "reborn." Therefore, does the mitzvah of kibud av va'eim still apply?

1 Answer 1


Yes. See Igros Moshe YD 2:130, and importantly the Rambam Mamrim 5:11 where he writes:

הגר אסור לקלל אביו העכו"ם ולהכותו. ולא יבזהו כדי שלא יאמרו באו מקדושה חמורה לקדושה קלה שהרי זה מבזה אביו. אלא נוהג בו מקצת כבוד.‏

A convert is prohibited from cursing his non-Jewish father or hitting him. And he shouldn't disgrace him, so that people shouldn't say that the converts came from greater holiness to lesser holiness by converting, since behold this one is disgracing his father. Rather, the convert should treat his parents with at least some honor.

The basis for this, as explained in Igros Moshe and elsewhere, might be that honoring parents is a logical mitzvah which is incumbent upon and practiced by all people, Jew and non-Jew, thus one must continue honoring biological parents after conversion, since logic dictates that one owes his parents an enormous amount.

  • 4
    So would it be fair to say that it becomes de-rabbanan instead of de-'oraita? (Just curious about this "logical mitzvah" thing...)
    – SAH
    Commented Feb 27, 2012 at 1:21
  • 4
    I would categorize it under chilul Hashem, but not kibud av/em.
    – YDK
    Commented Feb 27, 2012 at 1:24
  • 2
    @ YDK: The Rambam uses the word kavod. @ SAH: It is not clear whether it is d'rabbanan or de'oraiysa. See the tshuva on saying kaddish for a non-Jewish parent in Z'kan Aharon 2:87 where he discusses the status of the obligation in detail.
    – Curiouser
    Commented Feb 27, 2012 at 3:44
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    As you can see from the answer, they are not obligated in Kivud Av v'Am, rather they are obligated in being a good person.
    – avi
    Commented Feb 27, 2012 at 7:01

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