Is there a special mitzvah to love one's parents?

If so, does it require the parent's awareness of that love?

  • 2
    There are two explicitly mentioned mitzvot - respect and fear / awe. The Torah never uses the term "V'Ahavta" - to love. Having said this, I think you need to narrow down your question in several areas. "Love" has numerous aspects and definitions - please narrow this. 2) When you say "mitzvah" do you mean written in the Torah or derived otherwise?
    – DanF
    Jul 8 '14 at 13:25
  • @DanF You can define love as part of your answer if you would like. I don't know why one would assume "mitzvah" = "written in the Torah." I meant a mitzvah of any sort. Jul 8 '14 at 17:35
  • @DanF note Matt's answer below which did not necessitate any clarification of what love is. Jul 8 '14 at 17:36

Considering the fact that the Torah only writes of one's relationship to one's parents in terms of fear and respect, it would seem that the answer is no (as this Rabbi's asserts rather emphatically).

The Chayei Adam, however, writes in the beginning of the Laws of Honoring Parents:

פשיטא שצריך לאהוב אותם כגופו שהרי הוא בכלל ואהבת לרעך כמוך אלא שבאביו ואמו הוקש אהבתם לאהבת המקום כדאית׳ בזוהר פ׳ תצא

Based on a Zohar, a person should have the perspective that honoring his parents is similar to honoring God. Therefore, aside from the general mitzvah of loving one's fellow Jew, just as a person has a special mitzvah to love God, there is, by extension, a special mitzvah in loving one's parents.

In addition, loving one's parents makes sense in light of the obligation to respect them, because loving them makes doing the necessary services for them much easier. Anything that helps one do mitzvos is a good thing [citation needed].

  • The source from the zohar is also in Kiddushin: dafyomi.org/index.php?masechta=kiddushin&daf=30b (last lines)
    – Baby Seal
    Jul 8 '14 at 15:35
  • @BabySeal yeah I was actually thinking of adding that myself. The truth is that there are a lot of sources in chazal that make this connection, so I just left what the Chayei Adam himself quotes Jul 8 '14 at 15:36
  • This is a nice answer. Despite this, I would question the Chayei Adam if one has an abusive parent. I believe that there is still a mitzvah to respect them, but is one required to love them?
    – DanF
    Jul 8 '14 at 18:08

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