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If one's parent is ill, one would probably want to visit. It is, it seems, some level of mitzvah (though it isn't explicitly on the Rambam's list of 613, it is included under some other general category).

However, honoring parents is also a mitzvah (number 59 on the aforementioned list). The Aish website includes this statement:

In general, a child should be eager to fulfill his parents' wishes. There are some limits, however:

This first limit is

If a parent instructs a child to do something that violates Jewish law, the child should respectfully refuse to do so [30]

[30] Yoreh De'ah 240:15, based on Leviticus 19:3 with Rashi. This includes posthumous requests, such as to cremate the parent's body (Achiezer 3:72, based on Maimonides – Avel 12:1), or not to say Kaddish (Yabia Omer, vol. 6 – YD 31:4).

This concept of the conflicting obligations, kibbud vs. keeping the mitzvot is discussed in general here.

What happens in a case where a parent expressly states that she or he does not want any visitors when sick -- no calls or anything else -- the parent wants to be alone with his/her thoughts because that will effect the most efficient recovery.

Is "not visiting the sick" a transgression (or simply the missing out on an opportunity to fulfill a mitzvah) and enough of a transgression that it cannot be demanded by a parent?

Does the existence of it on some rabbinic level make it "real" enough that a child must perform it even in the face of a parental wish otherwise which is bound up in a clear de'oraita mitzvah?

  • ShA YD 335:2 and :8 – Double AA Dec 7 '16 at 13:51
  • @DoubleAA 8 seems to say that I can call the other parent and ask about the sick parent (from sefaria) "we enter the vestibule of their house and ask after their welfare, inquiring whether they need anything in particular, and we listen to learn about the suffering of [the patient? the caregiver?], and we pray for the patient." So I can be mekayem bikur cholim by davening? – rosends Dec 7 '16 at 14:05
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    The important point is there isn't a "Kiyum" in just physically being with X Amot of a sick person. The goal is to be helpful. Coming when a parent told you not to isn't being helpful and hence isn't the Mitzva. It's not that the parent is telling you not to do a Mitzva; they're telling you there is no Mitzva. – Double AA Dec 7 '16 at 14:37
  • So since 335:2 says not to be a tircha, if I go and am a tircha, I have not fulfilled a mitzvah. And since my parent says not to go, going, itself, would be a tircha and therefore not a mitzvah. Am I combining those ideas properly? – rosends Dec 7 '16 at 14:46
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    it isn't explicitly on the Rambam's list of 613, it is included under some other general category That category is ואהבת לרעך כמוך! See: judaism.stackexchange.com/a/53889/8775. It is just an outgrowth of doing to others what they would want done to them. Thus in a case where a parent expressly states that he doesn't want to be visited, it would make absolutely no sense for there to be any sort of mitsvah to visit him. Rather, the very mitsvah that dictates visiting them in general, would dictate not visiting them, in this case. | If you are interested, I will post this as answer. – mevaqesh Dec 7 '16 at 19:26

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