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Living in Israel against Parents’ Wishes

Hi,

If one feels that living in Eretz Yisrael is better for his children’s chinuch as well as the shalom bayis between him and his wife, is he (with his family) allowed to live there if his parents feel strongly otherwise? The parents are very good people who generally just want what’s best for their children. In this particular case however, they feel as though kibud av v’aim should come first. The parents are not elderly and are fully functional on their own (both in their 50’s). However, their claim is that if we are really sincere about FULLY fulfilling the mitzvah of kibud av v’aim, we would move closer to them to maximize our opportunities to do so. We just feel that it is best for our family here in E”Y and, while taking every chance to fulfill the mitzvah of kibud av v’aim possible, it seems strange that we would have to NOT put our own family’s best interest in the forefront. We feel that it would hurt our family in many ways to live in America. However, this particular concept of living there potentially hurting us is not something the parents will fully accept and appreciate.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Answer:

Living in the Land of Israel is a mitzvah (according to the great majority of authorities), and it follows that you do not need to heed your parents’ instructions on the matter, because the mitzvah of honoring parents is deferred by other mitzvos.

The points mentioned in the question concerning chinuch and Shalom Bayis might also be sufficient reason for this, but as noted, there is no need to utilize this in the specific question.

In addition to this, most authorities maintain that the actual mitzvah of honoring parents applies specifically to parental instructions to serve and wait upon their needs, and not to general instructions to live in this or that place (see this week’s [Vayishlach] article for details).

Yet, as the Gemara derives from our parashah (Yaakov Avinu who lived away from his parents), without special reason one must dwell close to one’s parents in order to fulfill the mitzvah of honoring them close-up. Certainly, you should go to the greatest extent to appease your parents, to show them that life in Israel is good and fulfilling, and to honor them in whichever ways possible.

Best wishes.

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