1

This question is pretty straightforward but I'll and explain it in a more detailed way.

A Jewish man has a mother who is abusive. She is abusive in such a way that she creates confrontations with him. The mother in question has a mental issue which she is aware of but she refuses to accept any treatment for. (Bi-Polar)

The man in question has routinely been pushed (physically, emotionally and spiritually) into situations where he raises his voice at his mother and rebukes her vitriol with his own vitriol. It's a relationship of mutual self-destruction.

This is clearly a sin against Hashem as these acts are banned. You shall not raise your voice at your mother and you shall not speak to her in a disrespectful manner.

After thinking long and hard, the man comes to a conclusion, the least spiritually damaging course of action would be to shun the relationship with his mother completely. His logic is as follows:

Screaming and returning emotional violence against your mother is a sin against God. The act is spiritually damaging and each confrontation can be assumed to be a new sin against Hashem.

While shunning is considered a sin because it can be considered a form of disrespect toward one's mother...you can only do it once. Meaning you shun the person one time and that is the sin.

Contrast that with holding onto the relationship and you can understand where his logic comes from.

Each confrontation with my mother would be considered a new sin on top of a new sin on top of a new sin. Because of the nature of the relationship is destruction and abuse. I would be continually choosing to put myself into a situation where I am risking sin. This in itself is spiritually damaging because by putting yourself in a situation where you are at risk of sinning, you are tempting sin.

From a Rabbinical standpoint, does this logic make sense? Would a person actually be considered doing "right-er" by Hashem if he broke off a relationship which would lead to further sinning?

  • 2
    May Hashem heal your situation. – David Kenner Apr 14 '17 at 15:17
  • 2
    similar judaism.stackexchange.com/q/78248/759 – Double AA Apr 14 '17 at 15:23
  • This sounds like a question for your LOR. – Robert Columbia Apr 14 '17 at 21:09
  • @user13783 I am sorry about your situation. It does sound like a question for your LOR. Meanwhile, kibud av va'eim means making sure your parent remains fed, clothed, and housed even in infirmity, and is one of the mitzvot one is able to do through a shaliach. You can even be yotzei the mitzvah paying the shaliach with your parents' money. I really recommend doing it that way, because cursing your parent is a distinct aveira, and making yourself emotionally ill is possibly another one. If you hire someone else to watch out for your parent, you can both do your duty and avoid harm. – SAH Sep 13 '18 at 9:00
2

Each situation is different and a person unfortunately facing this situation should ask his own Rav who knows the family for real guidance.

The OP writes: "While shunning is considered a sin because it can be considered a form of disrespect toward one's mother...you can only do it once. Meaning you shun the person one time and that is the sin."

That logic doesn't work because one should be honoring their parents every moment available. So shunning is a "new sin" every minute. We can see this from the Chazal that tells us that Yaakov Avinu was seperated 22 years from Yosef because he himself was seperated from his own parents for 22 years and did not fulfill kibud av v'em during that time.

That being said, I have been involved in more than one case like this and my Rabbis taught me that sometimes a temporary break with all due respect is needed because the destruction damages everyone, and Torah cares about the well being of the child too. However, the child in most cases can learn how to avoid some confrontation with a parent and avoid some pain by working on their own chracter as well.

More details would be too complicated to post because each case needs to be dealt with in detail by your family Rav and/or personal family mental health professional.

  • 1
    Consider adding sources. Preferably halakhic ones. – mevaqesh Apr 14 '17 at 17:41

You must log in to answer this question.