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When is it permitted for an adult child to disobey their parent?

Question:

Hi!

I’m looking for a halachic answer to this question – not the musar perspective.

I have an upcoming business trip abroad centered around a meeting that will take place the Shabbat before Simhat Torah.

Although I live in Eretz Yisrael, my mother still lives in this country by herself, and is asking me to extend my trip by a few days to spend time with her. As there is no Jewish community in this country and I will be spending Yom Tov alone (or only with my mother), this does not sound appealing, and I would rather fly back to Israel in time for the chag.

In this circumstance, am I obliged to honor my mother’s request?

Answer:

Before answering you, I must comment that essentially we are looking to do what H-shem wants us to do, therefore we should also be considering the mussar perspective.

After saying that, it does look like you are in a difficult situation, and whatever you do will be difficult. The technical halacha would be that you are not obligated to stay. The reason for this is because there is controversy if a child may disobey a parent when the parent makes a request that does not affect them physically. the poskim say that if the child will have a loss as a result, then the child is not obligated to abide the request. However the correct thing (without taking your family situation into consideration) would be to stay being that this is what your mother would like.  Our job in this world is to do what H-shem would want us to do, and although it is hard, that will make the mitzva of kibud av v’em much greater.

 

Sources:

The Fifth Commandment pg. 126-127, see footnote 27, poskim.

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