Giving medical treatments to a parent

Giving medical treatments to a parent:

A. Removing a splinter from a parent:[1]

It is forbidden to remove a splinter from a father [or mother] due to that one may come to cause him a wound.


B. Amputation and bloodletting:[2]

It is forbidden for a doctor to amputate the limb of one’s father [or mother] or to cut him to perform bloodletting, even though he intends to do so for healing purposes.[3] This however only applies if there is another doctor available to perform the procedure. If however there is no one else available and the parent is in pain [or danger] then he may blood let him and amputate him according to that which the parent allows.[4]



May one scratch his father’s back?

One may only do so if it will not cause bleeding.


May one slap five with his parent?

One may do so with consent of his parent out of jest and playfulness.[5] If however any damage or pain will be inflicted to the parent then it is forbidden to do so, even with his consent. This applies towards any person and not just a parent.[6]


May one massage one’s parent forcefully?

Yes.[7] One may do so upon his parents’ request.


May one box with his parent?

No. It is forbidden to do so even with a non-parent, even with the persons consent.[8]


May one wrestle with a parent?

No, as it is possible to cause the parent an injury through doing so.


May one play tackle football with a parent?

No, as it is possible to cause the parent an injury through doing so.





[1] Michaber 241/3; Rambam

[2] 241/3

[3] Michaber ibid;

[4] Rama ibid; Rambam Mamarim 5; Ramban

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule it is forbidden to do the above procedures even if no one else is available. [Rif and Rosh; Shulchan Gavoa in accordance to Michaber ibid]

[5] This follows the same law as slapping five with any other person, as there is no wound being created in the process and the Michaber ibid states that hitting a parent without release of blood retains the same prohibition as applies towards any person. Now, since slapping five with another person involves his consent it is therefore not considered hitting at all, the same way that taking someone’s money with consent is not considered stealing at all. It is the consent that makes a difference between whether the act is stealing or charity, and whether the act is hitting or playfulness. Now, although it is forbidden to hit another Jew even with his consent, or to cause it pain [Admur Nizkei Haguf 4; Rivash 484] nonetheless slapping five does not cause one pain at all, or any damage, and is hence not considered within the category of a hit. Hitting is defined as doing an act which is either painful, or damaging to another person. If however it is neither painful nor damaging then it is not considered a hit at all.

[6] Admur Nizkei Haguf 4; Rivash 484

[7] This follows the same allowance as stated above, that an action that is neither painful nor damaging is permitted, and on the contrary, here the action is helpful to the body.

[8] As doing so causes one unnecessary pain and even possible longtime damage in the head.

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