- Degree of Honoring Parents
- Reader: I am not Orthodox but my daughter is and her husband
is, so I am writing to understand something. Before they were
engaged to be married, my daughter's now husband told my husband (my
daughter's father) that he wanted to propose to my daughter and that
he wanted my husband's blessing. My husband told the young man
that to get his blessing, the couple would have to wait a year and a
half to marry, when they had both graduated from school. The
young man said he planned to wed in 6 months and that there was no
reason to wait. My husband and I were very hurt. My
daughter and her intended married in Hevron without a single member of
her family being present.
My question is, what does the commandment to honor one's parents mean?
My husband will not speak to my daughter (she has now been married for
5 months) and neither my husband nor I will speak to her husband or
allow him in our home. He had been warned months before the
wedding that he would be considered personna non grata if they married
before graduation and I urged my daughter to think about her husband's
treatment by us if our wishes, no, demand was not met. The
demand was really not so unreasonable and was very important to my
husband and me, obviously.
The fellow's Orthodox rabbi called one night and informed me that the
commandment to honor one's parents did not apply in this situation.
Why not? This was the last request that was being made to my
daughter in our capacity as her caretakers and guiders.
Thank you, in advance, for your response.
- Mesora: Clearly, your daughter
and son in law did nothing incorrect according to Torah Law, or
otherwise. I do not understand the circumstances, but asking a person
to wait one and a half years to marry is not something anyone should
impose on another. It is cruel and selfish. I would congratulate them
both, as they decided to live in accordance with Torah by marrying,
and not be tempted to violate Torah law which might occur, had they
waited. The Talmud records a story of a sage where he married at the
age of 15, and felt had he married at 14, he would have completely
controlled his instincts, literally stated, "I would have spat
the Satan in the eye." Meaning, had he married even earlier than
age 15, he would be doing himself good. Certainly we today should
learn from this sage, and not delay marriage. We also learn that the
Rabbis teach us to marry by 18 years of age. There are emotional and
physical needs which are of the strongest nature, and stifling them
only leads one to do wrong.
- If two people feel they wish to marry, and the boy in this case was
a fine person, as appears from your husband's postponed permission,
they should be given the blessings of both you and your husband. You,
your husband and your children are now paying the price for a faulty
decision, by asking them to wait a unnecessary amount of time.
- I urge you and your husband to think through the cause of this
decision of excommunicating your son in law. There are no grounds for
such behavior, and standing on ceremony is not the way of a righteous
individual, especially where no wrong was done. These two children
desired only what is good for them. Too many times parents abuse their
role in areas they have no jurisdiction, as in this case.
- The boy did nothing worse than your daughter, yet you talk with her
and banish him. This points to a distortion wherein your perceived
- Enough time has been lost. Contact them and make amends. You owe a
great apology to both your daughter and son in law by placing your
demands before your daughter's happiness.