Shaming-The punishment for one who shames his father or mother

Shaming-The punishment for one who shames his father or mother:[1]      

Whoever shames his father and mother is considered cursed by the mouth of G-d [i.e., Gevura], as the verse[2] states “cursed should be one who shames [i.e., Makleh] his father and mother.” This applies even if one only shamed them with words. This applies even if one only shamed them with a mere hint [and did not explicitly express the shame in words]. [This applies even in one’s thought, and hence it is forbidden to think of one’s parents in a belittling manner even in one’s thought without verbalizing it.[3] One who speaks Lashon Hara about his parents[4] or does things to annoy them and cause them pain transgresses this prohibition.[5]] A court of Jewish law has the authority to give rabbinical lashes to such a child and is to give due punishment to the child as they see fit. [In this regard, the shaming of a parent is more severe than the shaming of a regular individual. Thus, although shaming an individual for the way he speaks or dresses may not be a biblical prohibition, it would be a biblical prohibition of one to shame his parent in this matter.[6] The punishment for shaming a parent is explicitly written in Scripture[7] a “his eyes will be gouged by ravens of the river and his flesh will be eaten by the children of the Eagles,” and as has been testified to have occurred in the past to a child who shamed his parents.[8]]

Converts:[9] [One who converted is not liable [for hitting or cursing] his father or mother. This applies even if his father or mother also converted. Nevertheless,] it remains [Rabbinically[10]] forbidden for a convert to curse or hit or shame his father [or mother] in order so people do not say that his conversion caused him to leave a higher state of holiness to a lower state of holiness. This applies even if his parents are idol worshipers.

Slave [Eved Kenani]:[11] A slave does not have any lineage, and hence his father is not considered like his father for any purpose. Accordingly, even if a slave was emancipated, he is not liable for cursing or hitting his father [or mother] and there is no prohibition involved in doing so any more than any other person.

Excommunicating one’s parents as an emissary of the court:[12] If a person’s father or mother transgressed a sin for which they are liable to receive excommunication, then the son cannot be the one to administer the excommunication to his parents even if the son is the appointed executioner of the court.



[1] Michaber 241:6; Tur 241; Rambam Mamrim 5:15; Pesakim Uteshuvos 241:6; Encyclopedia Talmudit Erech Kibbud Av Vaeim Vol. 26 p. 372; Encyclopedia Talmudit Erech Morah Av Vaeim Vol. 42 pp. 563-565

[2] Devarim 27:16

[3] Sefer Chareidim Asei 1:35; Shiyurei Bracha 241:2; Lev David 19; Ben Ish Chaiy Shoftim 2:23

[4] Chofetz Chaim Pesicha Asei 10

[5] Meshech Chochmah Parshas Ki Savo; Haemek Sheila on Sheilasos 60:6

[6] See Bach 241; Mishlei 30:17 and Rashi there; Chayeh Adam 67:19

[7] Mishlei 30:17

[8] Sefer Chareidim Asei 1:35

[9] Michaber 241:9; Rambam Mamrim 5:11; Yevamos 22a; See Beis Hillel 241; Yad Avraham 241; Zekan Aron 2 Y.D. 87; Yad Shaul 241:4; Shaareiy Deiah 241:9; Igros Haperi Megadim Igeres 3:20, brought in Hagahos Rav Akiva Eiger 241; Keli Chemda Yisro 7; Igros Moshe 2:130; Divrei Yatziv Y.D. 127

[10] Chinuch Mitzvah 260; See Tzafnas Paneiach 1:85

[11] Michaber 241:9; Rambam Mamrim 5:11

[12] Michaber 241:5; Rambam Mamrim 5:13

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