After the death of a close relative, a person enters the state of aninut, during which he is exempt from a variety of mitzvot. It seems (from the limited write ups which I have read) that this exemption applies to positive mitzvot ("An onen is exempt from positive mitzvot but can't violate any negative mitzvot.")

According to the Rambam's list of mitzvot, honoring parents is a positive mitzvah. Here, see #59 and 62.

Without looking at specific actions/cases, theoretically, is a person exempt from having to honor a parent when he is an onein?

  • 1
    He's clearly not exempt from the obligation to bury the relative! Are you asking specifically where the obligation to honor the parent is not related to the current issue of handling the deceased?
    – Double AA
    Jun 11, 2018 at 17:40
  • @DoubleAA It isn't a blanket "exempt from everything" because it stems from a particular obligation. It turns into an "exempt from everything else".
    – rosends
    Jun 11, 2018 at 17:45
  • Are you talking about, e.g., one is an onen for his child, but someone else is physically handling the body, etc. Does he need to honor his mother's requests, meanwhile?
    – DanF
    Jun 11, 2018 at 18:29
  • @DanF if he is distracted or preoccupied with whatever qualifies one as being patur because of aninut and there is also a particular momentary kibbud moment.
    – rosends
    Jun 11, 2018 at 23:11

1 Answer 1


See Yalkut Yosef (Laws of Aveilus 7:18, p. 136) [ילקוט יוסף הלכות אבלות סימן ז' סעיף יח עמוד קלו]

אונן חייב במצות מורא, בדברים שהם בשב ואל תעשה, כגון שלא להזכיר את שמו, או שלא לחלוק עליו, או שלא לישב במקום המיוחד לאביו, וכל כיוצא בזה.

An Onen, is obligated to observe the Mitzvah of awe [of his parents], in regard to those things which are ['Don't do's], ex. not to call his parent by name, or not to sit in his father's designated seat, and all things similar to this.

(Taken from HERE)

It seems from this, that observing active honor to his parents is included in the Mitzvos which an onen is exempt from.

  • Awe is not honor
    – DonielF
    Jun 21, 2018 at 14:18
  • @DonielF Correct. But just like with Awe "yirah, he may only observe the dont do parts but not the active parts, so too with kibud honor. Jun 21, 2018 at 14:53
  • Can you give an example of a “don’t do” when it comes to honor? Fearing is a positive mitzvah but it’s fulfilled as a shev v’al ta’aseh. I don’t think there is a case of honor that’s not a kum asei.
    – DonielF
    Jun 21, 2018 at 15:28
  • @DonielF So if there is not so the onen cannot do kibud then. Jun 21, 2018 at 22:02

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