Summary of Miseches Kiddushin Sugya of Kibbud Av Vaeim

Summary of Miseches Kiddushin Sugya of Kibbud Av Vaeim

Talmud Kiddushin 30b-32a


Kiddushin 30b

1. Is a woman obligated to honor her father and mother:

  • Both men and women are equally obligated to honor and fear their father and mother. This is learned from the verse “Ish Imo Veaviv Tirau”, with the word Tirau/fear being in plural, thus implying that both a son and daughter are obligated to honor their parents.
  • A married woman: A married woman is exempt from [fulfilling the acts of] the command of honoring her father and mother, being that she is subjugated to her husband. This is learned from the use of the term “Ish” in the verse mentioned above, to teach us that only a man remains constantly obligated to honor the parents while a women’s obligation can sometimes be revoked.
  • A divorcee: Rav Idi Bar Avin states that the above exemption of a married woman applies only so long as she is still married, however, if she becomes divorced then she becomes obligated in the command to honor her father and mother just like a man.
  1. Is weighed by Scripture equal to the Mitzvah to honor and fear G-d:
  • The sages teach us that this command to honor and fear one’s parents is weighed by Scripture equal to the Mitzvah to honor and fear G-d. The reason for this is because there are three partners in the creation of man. This is learned from the following similar words used in the verses.
  • Honor: In the verse regarding honoring, one’s parents it states, “honor your father and mother” and in another verse it states, “honor G-d with your money.” We hence see that Scripture has equated the honor of one’s father and mother to the honor of G-d.
  • Fear: Regarding fear, the verse states, “a man shall fear his father and mother” and in another verse it states that “and Hashem your G-d, you shall fear him and Him you shall serve.” Hence, we see that Scripture has equated the fear of one’s father and mother to the fear of G-d.
  • Cursing: Likewise, the verse states that a person who curses his father or mother is put to death and in another verse, it states that one who curses G-d is liable for his sin. Hence, we see that Scripture has equated the cursing of a parent to the cursing of G-d.
  • Hitting: Nonetheless, regarding hitting a parent it is not possible for it to be equated to G-d being that it is not possible to hit G-d.
  • The three partners in the creation of man: The sages teach us that there are three partners in the creation of man, G-d, his father and his mother.
  • One who honors his father and mother, G-d considers as if He has dwelled in that household: Accordingly, one who honors his father and mother, G-d considers as if He has dwelled in that household, and that He was honored.


Kiddushin 31a

  1. One naturally honors the mother more and fears the father more although the command is the same for both:
  • Rebbe teaches us that it is revealed and known before whom said and created the world that a son honors his mother more than his father being that his mother sweet talks him. Therefore, G-d preceded the honoring of the father to the honor of the mother.
  • It is revealed and known before whom that said and created the world that a son fears his father more than his mother being that his father teaches him Torah. Therefore, G-d preceded the fearing of the mother to the fearing of the father.
  1. A person who pains his father:
  • When a person causes pain to his father and mother G-d proclaims that it is good that he did not dwell within them because if He would have, they would’ve pained Him too.
  1. Father versus Mother-Who receives precedence:
  • A certain son of a widow asked Rebbe Eliezer as to what he is to do if his father instructed him to give him water to drink, and also his mother instructed him to bring her water to drink? Whom should he precede to be served? He answered that he should leave his mother’s request and deal with the honor of his father as both he and his mother are both obligated in the honor of his father.
  • If the parents are divorced: The same boy then asked Rebbe Yehoshua as to what the law would be if the parents got divorced, and he replied to him in a mocking manner due to him being the son of a widow and hence the question not been relevant to him, and practically he did not answer the question.
  1. Revealed to the nations that the 10 Commandments were not just about Him:
  • Ula taught: After hearing the first two of the 10 Commandments which instructs one to believe in G-d and that serve other deities, the nations of the world said that the 10 Commandments were given by G-d for the sake of His own personal glory. However, after they heard the command to honor one’s parents they retracted and acknowledged the first commands.[1]
  1. The extent one must go to fulfill the mitzvah of honoring one’s parents

A. Story of Dama Ben Nesina not waking father from sleep:

  • Ula taught: The extent that one must go to honor one’s parents can be learned from a certain idol worshiper from the city of Ashkelon by the name of Dama the son of Nesina. The sages came to him with a business offer to purchase an item of his that would give him 600,000 gold coins as profit. However, since the key to retrieve the item was under the head of his father [and the cabinet with the gem was under his father’s feet[2]] who was sleeping, and he could not sell the item, as he did not want to awaken his father and cause him pain.
  • Rebbe Eliezer taught the same story, however adding that the item that the sages desire to purchase was a precious stone for the Ephod, and that the next year G-d rewarded the Gentile by having a red cow born to his heard. When the sages approached him regarding the sale of the red cow, he replied that although he could request any money in the world, he only request the amount of money that he lost from not selling the precious stone the previous year due to his desire to honor his parent.
  • Rav Chanina stated that if someone who is not even commanded in the mitzvah receives such a reward all the more so will be the reward of one who is commanded and does so.


B. Story of Dama Ben Nesina not shaming his mother for throwing away his money:

  • Rav Dimi taught: One time [Dama Ben Nesina[3]] was sitting amongst the dignitaries of Rome wearing a gold garment and his mother [who was insane[4]] came along and tore it from him and hit him over the head and spat in his face and he did not shame her.
  1. Doing the Mitzvah in a happy spirit:
  • Avimi, the son of Rebbe Avahu taught: It is possible for one to feed his father the best poultry meat [i.e. Petumos] and nonetheless be punished, and on the other hand it is possible for one to force one’s father to work in a flour mill and be rewarded with the world to come [if he does it with a good spirit and for good intents[5]].


Kiddushin 31B

  1. The honor that Avimi would show his father Rebbe Avahu:
  • Personally answering the door for your father: Rebbe Avahu stated: One should honor his parents as did my son Avimi. My son Avimi had five sons in the lifetime of his father, and nonetheless when his father Rebbe Avahu would come knocking on the door, he would personally run up the door to open it up for him even though he could’ve had one of the sons do so. He would also acknowledge his father’s presence right away and as he was running to open the door he would tell him that he is coming to open it.
  • Waiting for parents to wake up from sleep: One time Avimi was asked by his father Rebbe Avahu to bring him a cup of water. By the time he brought in the waters father had fallen asleep, and he waited next to him with the water ready to serve him until his father woke up. In the meantime, G-d gave them divine assistance to understand a certain chapter in Psalms [and reward for his waiting].
  1. Allowing one’s parents to serve him:
  • Rebbe Yaakov Bar Avahu asked Abayey as to what he is to do being that as soon as he arrives home his father offers him a cup of wine and his mother pours for him a cup of water. Abayey answered that while he may allow his mother to do so he may not allow his father to do so being that his father is a Ben Torah he will become weakened.
  1. Helping mother climb up and down the bed:
  • Rebbe Tarfon had a mother whom 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.
  • When Rebbe Tarfon came to the house of study, he bragged of the great honor that he has for his mother. The students present responded to him that he has not yet reach even half of that which is required to be done to honor one’s parents.
  • Not to shame if parent throws wallet to the sea: They said to him, has your mother thrown in front of you a wallet full of money to the sea and you still held back from shaming her?
  1. Standing up for the divine presence:
  • When Rav Yosef heard the steps of his mother, he replied that he needs to stand up for the divine presence which is arriving.
  1. Amoraim who were orphans:
  • Rebbe Yochanon stated that praised be one who did not see his parents.
  • Rebbe Yochanon’s father passed away while his mother was pregnant with him, and his mother passed away during the birth.
  • The same also happened with Abayey.


  1. The extent that Rav Assi served his mother:
  • Rav Assi had an elderly mother and would do whatever she asked. If she asked for jewelry, he would give her jewelry. When she asked for a husband he replied that he would search for one on her behalf.
  • Mother lost her mind: When however, she asked for a husband like him, he realized that she lost her mind, and he therefore left her for Israel.
  • Leaving Israel When he heard that she was coming to see him in Israel he approached Rebbe Yochanon and asked him if he may leave Israel to the Diaspora? He replied that it is forbidden to leave Israel. So, he asked him if it is permitted to leave Israel in order to greet his mother? He replied that he does not know. After some time, Rav Assi asked Rebbe Yochanon a second time the same question, to which he replied that since he sees that he really wants to leave Israel, may G-d return him to Babylon in peace. Rav Assi approached Rebbe Elazar asked him if Rebbe Yochanon was angry with him and therefore answered him in this manner. Rebbe Elazar replied that since Rebbe Yochanon blessed him he was therefore serious in his answer not angry.
  • In the end, his mother passed away after he left Israel to greet her, and Rav Assi exclaimed that if he would have known he would have not left Israel.
  1. Honoring one’s parents after their death:
  • One is obligated to honor his father and mother both during their lifetime and after their passing.
  1. Honoring during lifetime-Asking for a favor in the honor of one’s parent:
  • How does one honor one’s parent in their lifetime? If one is in an area where people respect and honor one’s father then if he needs from them a favor, he should not request it on behalf of himself, but rather request it out of respect for his father.
  1. Honoring after death-Saying Hakam:
  • How does one honor their parent after their death? Upon mentioning them one is not to say, “My father taught me such and such”, but is rather to say, “My father my teacher, Hareini Kaparas Mishkavo [i.e., Hakam/הכ”ם].”
  • This however only applies within the 12 months from the passing, however after 12 months from the passing one is to say “Zichrono Lichayeh HaOlam Haba.”
  1. Saying the name of one’s parent:
  • A Sage is to change the name of his father and teacher. However, a translator is not required to change the name of his father or his teacher. Rava taught: The above allowance for a translator only refers to the father and teacher of the Sage, however, the translator may not say the name of his own father and his own teacher.
  1. The definition of fear:
  • The following matters are included within the command to fear one’s parents:
    • Not to stand in one’s parents designated area for standing.
    • Not to sit in one’s parents designated area for sitting.
    • One may not contradict their words
    • One may not arbitrate their words.
  1. The definition of honor:
  • The following matters are included within the command to honor one’s parents:
    • One is to feed his parents food,
    • Give them to drink.
    • Dress them.
    • Help them enter and leave [i.e., walk].

Kiddushin 32A 

  1. Mishel Mi-Who must pay, the father or the son?
  • Rav Yehuda is of the opinion that the son must pay.
  • Rav Nasan Bar Oshiyah is of the opinion that the father must pay. The sages also ruled to Rav Yirmiyah that it is the father’s obligation to pay.
  • The Gemara then goes on to bring a Braisa in support of the first opinion and against the opinion that the father must pay. However, the Gemara concludes with answering the contradiction according to the second opinion.
  • Nullifying work: According to all opinions, a son must stop working and lose income for the sake of honoring his parents.
  • The Gemara then goes on to bring the proof from a Braisa in support of the second opinion that the father must pay, although later answers that this can be answered by the first opinion.
  • Rav Yehuda says that a curse will befall a person who feeds his father from Maaser Ani.
  1. Not to shame if parent throws wallet to the sea:
  • Rebbe Eliezer was asked to what extent a person must honor his parent? He replied that one must honor them to the point that even if they were to take his wallet and throw it in front of him to the sea, nonetheless, he should restrain himself from embarrassing them.
  • According to the opinion which states that the above rule would only apply if a parent is throwing his own money into the sea, nonetheless the system will challenge being the son would inherit this money from his father.


  1. Tearing child’s clothing and shaming him in public:
  • Rav Huna tore a silk garment in front of his son Raba Bar Rav Huna in order to test him to see if he would get angry. He did so when his son was already angry over another issue.
  • By doing so, he did not transgress the prohibition of Lifnei Iver being that he had already forgiven his honor.
  • He likewise did not transgress the prohibition of Bal Tashchis being that he tore it in an area where it would not lose any of its value.
  1. Not contradict one’s father:
  • Rebbe Yechezkal was in the midst of teaching his son Rami a certain law and his son Rav Yehuda corrected his father telling him “You should not teach it this way”, and they went back and forth regarding the correct law. Shmuel, who was present at the exchange of opinions and argument between father and son chastised Rav Yehuda for speaking in such a manner to his father.
  • How to correct father if he’s transgressing a law: If one’s father was seen to be transgressing words of Torah one should not tell his father that he has transgressed Torah but rather is the tell him that there is a verse in the Torah which states such and such. He should not even say the Torah says such and such as doing so would embarrass him.
  1. Kibbud Av Vaeim versus other Mitzvos-Which receives precedence:
  • Elazar Ben Masya taught: If one’s father asks him to bring him a cup of water, and at the same time there is a mitzvah that he is able to fulfill, then he should perform the mitzvah and put aside the mitzvah to honor his father, as both he and his father are obligated in the midst.
  • Isi Ben Yehuda stated that in the event that the mitzvah can be done by another, then it should be done by another, while he should go and honor his father.
  • Rav stated that the law follows the opinion of Isi Ben Yehuda
  1. Forgiving is honor:
  • Rav Yitzchak Bar Shila said in the name of Rav Masna who said in the name of Rav Chisda: A father who forgives us honor his honors.



[1] See Chida in Pesach Eiynayim Kiddushin 32a; Likkutei Sichos Vol. 36 p. 92

[2] Tosafus ibid in name of Yerushalmi

[3] Rashi ibid

[4] Tosafus ibid in name of Midrash

[5] Rashi ibid

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