Asking G-d

In the laws of honoring one's parents, it is forbidden to contradict one's parents. It is also disrespectful to agree with one's parents in their presence, as if their opinion requires validation. There are questions whether a person can express a different opinion on secular matters when they are not present.

The book, the Fifth Commandment, by R. Moshe Lieber, presents the following in its Insights portion: Tanna D'vei Eliyahu Rabbah (27) states, "A prisoner was visited by three people during his nine month term. One supported him during the term, one helped free him, and one provided him with food until he reached home. He felt indebted to all three.

One's mother provides while in the womb, G-d frees the child from the womb, and the father provides for the child until he is able to provide for himself.

The Torah therefore equates honoring parents with honoring G-d. Although everything is ultimately from G-d, we are enjoined to honor our parents and not ignore those who are responsible for our physical existence and sustenance.

In Kiddushin (31a) the fifth commandment is critical to our understanding of G-d purpose for the world... "The nations of the world claimed the G-d commanded us for His own prestige after hearing the first two commandments (I am the L-rd your G-d and Have no other gods before me"). But after the fifth commandment to honor parents the actual intent emerged - to expose man to authentic and objective truth.

What if a parent contradict's G-d? The Dubno Magid taught a parable. There were three brothers who traveled to different countries for a year. On their return, they shared their experiences. One brother had a mirror which could see all over the world. The second had a flying machine to go anywhere in the world very quickly. The third brother had a magic potion that cured all known diseases. One day the first brother saw a deathly ill princess in the mirror. The father, the king, had tried all the doctors and hadn't found a cure. The brothers all took the flying machine and went to the princess in the capital city, and the third brother consulted the king and gave the princess the potion. The princess recovered and the king offered his daughter as a bride to one of the sons, provided she chose one of them. The princess said, "Regarding the past, I am equally indebted to all of you. However if I become sick again, only the third brother can help me, so I choose him." While there are three partners in creation, but as far as the future, every moment of life comes from G-d. This is the overriding factor when parental wishes clash with those of G-d.

- Adapted from the Fifth Commandment pgs 19-22 by R. Moshe Lieber Mesorah Publications 1998

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