Kibbud Av Vaeim versus Talmud Torah-which receives precedence?

Kibbud Av Vaeim versus Talmud Torah-which receives precedence?[1]

The mitzvah of Torah learning is greater than the mitzvah of honoring one’s father and mother.[2] [This implies that one is not obligated to stop his Torah learning for the sake of honoring his parents.[3] However, other Poskim[4] rule that one is obligated to stop his Torah learning for the sake of honoring his parents as is the rule regarding any other mitzvah which cannot be done by others.[5] This especially applies if the matter relates to providing aid for basic necessities of the parent, and there is no one else available to do so in once place.[6] Accordingly, we must conclude that the above rule that Torah study overrides honoring one’s parents only applies regarding allowing the son to go to a different city than his parents for the sake of Torah study even though he will end up neglecting honoring his parents, as explained in Chapter 6 Halacha 7.[7] Furthermore, in the event that he is learning Torah in another city then he is not required to constantly stop his Torah study and travel to his parents in order to serve them if this will disrupt his learning Seder. If, however, he is studying Torah in the same city as his parents, then he is obligated to stop his Torah learning in order to serve his father and honor him.[8] Nonetheless, this only applies if this will not disturb one’s Torah learning for a long period of time, if however, it will throw him off of his schedule of Torah learning to the point that it is difficult for him to study, then he is exempt from honoring his parents in this manner.[9] In all cases, if the child in any event takes off time from his Torah study for unnecessary matters, then certainly he cannot use Torah study as an excuse for not honoring his parents.[10]]

 Child’s Torah learning gives honor to parents:[11]

When a child is successful in his Torah learning this itself gives honor to his parents and is considered to fulfill the mitzvah of honoring and fearing one’s parents.


[1] Michaber 240:13; Rambam Mamrim 6:13; Megillah 16b; Sheilasos  19; Rif and Rosh Kiddushin 32a; Rabbeinu Yerucham 2:1; Pesakim Uteshuvos 240:40; Encyclopedia Talmudit Erech Kibud Av Vaeim Vol. 26 p. 344 footnotes 960-974

[2] The source and reason: This can be learned from the fact that our forefather Jacob was not punished for spending his time learning in yeshiva, in place of honoring his parents, even though he was punished for the time that he spent by Lavan. [Taz 240:15; Shach 240:15; Beir Hagoleh 240:30; Megillah ibid]

[3] Perisha 240:21; Hagahos HaRadal Kiddushin 32a; Zera Yaakov Vayeitzei; See Haemek Sheila Sheilasa 19:6; Poskim in Encyclopedia Talmudit footnote 964 and 973

The reason: Since it is possible for the father to forgive his honor, therefore it is not considered a mitzvah that cannot be done by others for which one is to nullify Torah study. [Haemek Sheila ibid] However, see Shita Mekubetzes Bava Metzia 32a in name of Rosh

[4] Meiri Moed Katan 9b in name of Gedolei Hamifarshim; Ran Moed Katan ibid; Rabbeinu Yerucham Nesiv 2:5 in name of Raavad; Yad Eliyahu Pesakim 41; Meishiv Davar 138; Poskim in Encyclopedia Talmudit footnote 972

[5] See Michaber 246:18

[6] Yifei Laleiv 3 Y.D. 240:25; Sefer Chassidim 338; Poskim in Encyclopedia Talmudit footnote 974

[7] Michaber 240:25; Terumas Hadeshen  40; Peri Chadash Likkutim 13; Pischeiy Teshuvah 240:8; Sheilasos ibid; Encyclopedia Talmudit footnote 965-968

[8] Michaber 246:18; Peri Chadash Likkutim 13; Pischeiy Teshuvah 240:8; Yifei Laleiv 3:25; Biur Hagra 240:35; Chesed Lealafim 240; Teshuvos Vehanhagos 3:274; Chut Shani 240:17; Encyclopedia Talmudit footnote 961; See Hamakneh on Kiddushin 31b; See also Shach 240:14.

The reason: The reason that Torah study only overrides honoring one’s parents in the case that he desires to study outside of his parents’ city is because if we do not allow him to do so he may not end up learning at all. However, if he is studying Torah in the same city as his parents, then he can simply stop his learning to go honor them and go back to Torah learning afterwards. [Pesakim Uteshuvos ibid; See Or Sameiach on Rambam Talmud Torah 3:4; Admur Hilchos Talmud Torah 3:1 and Kuntrus Achron 1:1]

[9] Pesakim Uteshuvos ibid

[10] Chut Shani 240:17

[11] Likkutei Sichos 22:214 and Igros Kodesh 28:279, printed in Shulchan Menachem 4:176

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