1 02, 2018

Honoring an Abusive Parent?

February 1st, 2018|Aveilut, Kibbud Av Ve'Eim, Yoreh De'ah|

Must a Person Honor and Mourn for an Abusive Parent?

The short answer is “no.”  One of the core principles in halakha when it comes to our obligation to others is hayekha kodmin, meaning our first ethical obligation is to ourselves.  One must prioritize her own physical, emotional and psychological health, even if this means that kibbud av v’em must be set aside.

Let’s explore this in more detail.

Honoring one’s parents is a mitzvah that can demand a great deal from us.  This is particularly true for the sandwich generation, adults who have responsibilities to their spouses and children, and yet who […]

25 01, 2018

Saying Kaddish for a non-Jewish Parent

January 25th, 2018|Aveilut, Kaddish, Kibbud Av Ve'Eim, Lifecycles, Non-Jews and Other Religions, Tefillah, Yoreh De'ah|

May a Jew by choice sit shivah and say kaddish for their non-Jewish parent?

To answer this question we must address two issues: (1) What is halakhah’s view of the parent-child relationship in these cases? The gemara states, “A person who converts is like a newborn infant,” (Yevamot 22a). In other words, a convert is unrelated halakhically to his biological father and mother. Should we read this statement in absolute terms or is halakhah cognizant of the biological and emotional bonds between parent and child regardless of legal definitions? (2) Do our halakhic and religious obligations direct us to mourn the […]

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