Is there anything wrong with celebrating Father's Day? (Perhaps implying that you only need to give your father special attention one day a year?)

Is there anything right with celebrating Father's Day? (Perhaps ensures that at least one day a year you will give your father special attention?)

Do any contemporary poskim discuss this?

  • And chukas hagoyim is not part of your question? Jun 16 '14 at 21:02
  • @Nafkamina I left it open-ended and offered one possibility for each side. If you can find idolatrous roots for Father's day, or some other reason it should be a problem, fire away. Jun 16 '14 at 21:04
  • I assume this question goes for mothers' day as well?
    – bondonk
    Jun 16 '14 at 21:10
  • Kibbud Av v'Em is not restricted to one day!
    – bondonk
    Jun 16 '14 at 21:10
  • 3
    In Israel they have "Yom Aim" (Mother's Day), but they also have Chodesh Av. Jun 16 '14 at 22:43

Will Rogers commented on Mother's Day:

It's a nice idea and all, but whoever came up with it must have had a hurting conscience.

I can't see Father's Day as having blatantly pagan origins. If having one day a year to focus on recognizing your father is meaningful for your father (especially if he's expecting some recognition), then by all means do it. If neither he nor you really cares about it, then there's no need.

Look, today we like to turn values into simple actions that can be ceremonialized and commercialized. You bought dad a plasma TV on Father's Day? Yotzei. The true meaning of honoring your parents is complex; the medrish says that you could feed your elderly father the finest of aged steaks while dishonoring him ("it's food dad, just eat it, old man. I've got take this phone call now."); or give him heavy labor at the millstone while honoring him ("between the two of us, one needed to work the mill, and the other needed to be drafted into the army; I'm so sorry dad, I think this is the least-difficult thing I could do to you.") It's all about the attitude.

And from the father's perspective, well, Judaism expects men to civilize themselves and shoulder the responsibility of being an involved parent. If it makes you feel better that there's one day a year when everyone publicly gives you a salute for it, then fine. Hey the Talmud says you don't always have to have perfect motivations for doing the right thing.

I'll tell you how I was taught to observe Father's Day: my father would remind me to call my grandfather (his father) and wish him a Happy Father's Day.

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