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Chillul Hashem Kibud av v’em


Cvod Harav,
If my mom said something to someone that hurt my feelings, is it fine that I asked her “why did you say that?” And tell her that what she said got me upset? Or could it be a chillul Hashem?
Thanks Rav!


Thank for your question.

The issue here is not one of chillul Hashem, rather if it is in contradiction to honoring one’s parents – kibud av v’em. It is true than any sin has an aspect of chillul Hashem, because Hashem is the one who commanded us to do the mitzvos. Therefore, not listening, in a way is degrading Hashem. But let’s get to the real issue here.

There are four mitzvos relating to the way we are to treat out parents. The two main one’s are to honor them ( כבד את אביך…) (Exodus 20-12) and to revere them (איש אמו ואביו תיראו…) ( Leviticus 19-3). Honor is the things that we do to show respect for our parents, similar to positive commandments which are things we have to do. Revering on the other hand, are the things we abstain from doing in reverence to our parent, similar to negative commandments. The gemora (Kiddushin 31a, Yora Deah 240-3) says that we may not speak disrespectfully to our parents even if they hurt us, (this is a very hard thing to do) rather we should fear the king of kings who commanded us to keep quiet. On the other hand, it is possible to say something to your mother, but only if you can say it in a respectful manner. You can say, “Mom, I’m sensitive about this topic, can you please not talk about it to others”. You can come up with your own suggestion, the idea is that it can be articulated to the parent, but not in an attacking, or derogatory fashion.

As a side point, the two other mitzvos related to kibbud av v’em are. It is prohibited for a child to hit or curse a parent, which is very serious sin. The Torah compares cursing a parent to cursing Hashem c”v. The other idea is that on Mount Gerizim, when all the Jews were gathered, and there were 15 blessings and curses for different sins. One of them was, “cursed is a person who ridicules his father or mother” (Deuteronomy 27-16). Therefore, we have to be very careful never to ridicule them, whether it be the way they act, or in general to put them down and insult them. On the other hand, we also have to remember that the curse given then were two-fold, a curse and a blessing. Therefore, a person who doesn’t ridicule his parents, and talks to them and about them with respect has a special blessing from Heaven.

And the same should be for you.

Best wishes


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