If your father is a guest in your home for a meal (ex. Sabbath) are you under duty to give him the head of the table due to the commandment of honoring your father?

  • 1
    Note if the father would feel weird or prefers (shepping nachas) the son sitting up front (as is almost always the case) there is certainly no obligation. This question is largely theoretical.
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 20:57

2 Answers 2


The Aruch Hashulchan in Yoreh Deah siman 240 siff 11 seen here says no. The son keeps his seat at the head. His reasoning was that since it's the son's house and his wife sits next to him, it would be improper for the father to sit at the head next to his daughter in law. (However that works out.)

He goes on to say that all other honors should go to the father first, such as washing and receiving the first portion of food.

  • 2
    That does seem to be what he says but I don't see how it makes any sense. Just move the daughter in law next to the son, and the mother next to the father. What's the problem?
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 20:48
  • That's why I stuck in the parenthetical however that works out. She also has to honor her father in law siff 24. It also might contradict the A.H. himself in siff 9 where he says that women don't generally have a makom kavua.
    – user6591
    Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 20:50
  • @user6591 - Anyway I'm not sure the Aruch Hashulchan's would-be problem is even applicable to the case of the questioner - the Aruch Hashulchan is talking about when the parent is elderly and moves in with his kids - it's a permanent arrangement, he lives there now, so there is more reason for him to sit at the head. The questioner is asking about a casual visit.
    – Jay
    Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 21:33
  • 1
    @Jay you are entitled to that opinion. I would assume that in those times having your father travel to you for a shabbos was not too common. He was just setting up a common situation as he ends off with pointing out that is the minhag.
    – user6591
    Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 21:41
  • @Jay I'm also not sure what you mean by more of a "reason for him". Who's "him"?
    – user6591
    Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 21:42

Although, as noted earlier, the Aruch Hashulchan YD (240:11) writes the son sits at the head, the sefer Moreh Horim UKevodom (1:52) quotes Rav Elyashiv and Rav Benzion Abba Shaul who both say the son should have his father sit at the head of the table.

Additionally, the Sefer Habayis (26:23) writes:

When one hosts parents at his house, he must honor them, have them wash their hands, and serve them food, before other members of the household. It is proper to seat his father at the head of the table.

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