Matters of honor that one is obligated towards his parents:
Included in the mitzvah to honor one’s parents are matters relating to thought, speech, and action. The mitzvah of honor affects how one should think of one’s parents, how one should speak of one’s parents and to one’s parents, and the matters that one must do on behalf of one’s parents, as will be listed in this chapter. In truth, the amount of acts of honor that one is required to show his parents is much more than is able to be listed, and all that was listed by the sages as a mere nonexclusive example, as can be seen from the many acts of honor recorded in the Talmud that the sages show their parents, as brought below. In practice, one must honor them with all accepted forms of honor, and be careful with all matters that can be viewed as disrespect. This especially applies to all forms of honor that are accustomed to be shown to one’s parents within ones society.
No limit to honor: This mitzvah of honoring one’s parents does not have any limitation and extends up until the heavens. The Talmud states regarding Rebbe Tarfon that whenever she desired to climb up to her bed he would bend down and have her climb on his back, and whenever she desired to go down from the bed she would climb down onto his back, and the sages remarked regarding this that he is not even reached half of the required respect needed to be shown to one’s parent. The Jerusalem Talmud states: One time when the mother of Rebbe Tarfon went down to her yard for a walk on Shabbos and her sandals broke and Rebbe Tarfon placed his hands under his mother’s feet in order to help her walk to her bed. The sages responded about this that even if he does hundreds of thousands as such, he is still not reached half of the honor the Torah requires one to show his parents. Nevertheless, this extent of honor as shown by Rebbe Tarfon is not an actual obligation, but rather a Midas Chassidus for which one receives reward but does not get punished if he does not fulfill.
A demanding Mitzvah: Due to its severity and demanding details, Rebbe Yochanon stated that from a certain perspective, one who has not met his parents benefits from the fact that he will not be subject to being punished for not properly honoring them. Likewise, Rebbe Zeira once expresses sorrow that he was an orphan who never met his parents and was never able to fulfill the mitzvah of honoring them, and later after learning of the severity of this mitzvah exclaimed that he is indebted to G-d for not having been challenged with this mitzvah.
The following matters are included within the command to honor one’s parents, as explained throughout this chapter:
- Loving them
- Thinking positively of them.
- Speaking gently and respectfully with them. [Some write that this is the main intent of the command of honoring one’s parents as understood from the simple words of Scripture.]
- Visiting and communicating with them
- Feeding them. [Some write that this is the main intent of the command of honoring one’s parents.]
- Dressing them.
- Walking them.
- Putting on their shoes.
- Bathing them.
- Anointing them.
- Some Poskim learn that the prohibition against causing pain to one’s parents is included within the mitzvah to honor one’s parents. See Chapter 5 Halacha 6!
As stated above, this list is only some of the examples of matters of honor that one is required to show one’s parents and in truth the number of acts of honor that one is required to show his parents is much more than is able to be listed.
Obeying the same commands relevant to G-d:
Some Mefarshim right to from the fact that the command to honor one’s parents was included in the 10 Commandments we can learn that the same commands which G-d commanded us regarding how He is to be treated likewise applies towards one’s parents, and hence the following applies:
- Not to reject their recognition as one’s parent: One may not deny the existence of his parent and claim someone else to be his parent who is not, just as one may not deny G-d’s existence and may not accept another G-d upon himself as learned from the first two of the 10 Commandments.
- To not serve them with ulterior motives: One should not serve his parents with ulterior motives such as to be granted an inheritance, just as one should not serve G-d for an ulterior motive.
- Not to swear in their name: One may not swear falsely in the name of his parents just as one may not swear falsely using G-d’s name.
 Pesakim Uteshuvos 240:13; Encyclopedia Talmudit Erech Kibud Av Vaeim Vol. 26 p. 376 footnotes 83-93
 See Pirush Hamishnayos of Rambam Kiddushin 1:7 [29a]; Meiri Kiddushin 31a; Ledavid Emes 5:34; Meiah Shearim 16
 See Tanya Rabasi 100
 Ledavid Emes 5:34; See Encyclopedia Talmudit ibid footnote 93
 See Meiri Kiddushin 31a; Rash and Rosh Hashaleim Peiag 1:1; Rabbeinu Baruch Kiddushin 31a; Yireim Hashaleim 222
 Kiddushin 31b
 Yerushalmi Peiah 1:1; Kiddushin 1:7; Meiri Kiddushin 31a; See Encyclopedia Talmudit Erech Kibud Av Vaeim Vol. 26 footnote 88
 Rishon Letziyon 240:7; Meshivas Nefesh 1:16-9; See Ran Kiddushin 33b
 Kiddushin ibid
 Yerushalmi Peiah 1:1
 See Sefer Chareidim Asei 12:4-1; Meiri Kiddushin 31a; Mechilta Yisro who learns the command of honoring one’s parents to initially be referring to honoring them in speech; Encyclopedia Talmudit Erech Kibud Av Vaeim Vol. 26 p. 377 and 381 footnote 140
 Semak Hakdama 7; 50; Kala Rabasi 3; Encyclopedia Talmudit Erech Kibud Av Vaeim Vol. 26 p. 378 footnote 101
 See Kiddushin 31a; Ralbag Parshas Yisro; Igeres Hateshuva of Rabbeinu Yona; Rav Akiva Eiger 1:68; Tochachas Chaim Toldos; Encyclopedia Talmudit Erech Kibud Av Vaeim Vol. 26 p. 384
 See Ramban and Tur on Shemos 20:11; Rabbeinu Bechayeh Shemos ibid and in Kad Hakemach Erech Kibud Av Vaeim; Encyclopedia Talmudit Erech Kibud Av Vaeim Vol. 26 p. 378 footnote 100