Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Parshas VaYeitzei:Talmud Torah and Kibbud Av V'Eim

This past weeks shiur was about whether talmud torah is doche kibbud av v'eim.

The gemara in the end of the first perek of Megillah says that Ya'akov wasn't punished for being away from home for the 14 years he spent in Yeshiva. From here we see that "godol talmud torah m'kibud av v'eim"

In siman 240 the Mechabeir paskens "godol talmud torah m'kibud av v'eim".

The question is what are the parameters of this halacha.

There are three different scenarios which have to be addressed.

Scenario 1: Stopping your learning to serve your parent:

The Perisha (YD 240) writes that if you are learning and your parent asks for a drink of water you don't have to stop since "godol talmud torah m'kibud av v'eim". The Pischei Teshuva (YD 240:8) quotes the Pri Chadosh who disagrees. "godol talmud torah m'kibud av v'eim" only allows you to leave town and avoid kibbud av but in our case you must stop your learning. The Pischei Teshuva points you to YD siman 246 and I understand him to be saying that in this case kibbud av is no different then any other mitzvah. In siman 246 the Shulchan Aruch paskens that you must stop learning to do a mitzvah which no one else can do. kibbud av is no different then any other mitzvah and since noone else can do it you must stop learning.

Scenario 2: Leaving town to learn and avoiding the mitzvah of kibbud av:

As mentioned above the Pri Chadosh holds that this is what the statement "godol talmud torah m'kibud av v'eim" refers to. Noone seems to disagree with this. The only question is, why is leaving town to learn docheh kibud av, but if you are in the same town you must stop learning.
I thought you could answer t he following. We find that talmud torah can be docheh the chiyuv to get married. Rav Moshe in the Dibbros Moshe Kiddushin Siman 43 explains that there are two facets to learning, quantity and quality. If someone feels that his quality of learning will be affected he is patur from getting married. Perhaps the same idea can be applied here. To stop learning for 5 minutes and get your parent a drink won't affect the quality of your learning, but if you can't leave town and go to the Yeshiva of your choice that definately impacts your quality of learning. The Minchas Ahsher has a similar sevara but he phrases it a little differently. ayin sham.

Scenario 3: Leaving town to learn against your parents wishes:

The Shulchan Aruch brings this as a separate halacha in 240:25. The question would be why is it necessary to have 2 separate halachos. Also, the other question is is this a violation of kibbud av v'eim? Who says there is an obligation to listen to ones's parents. I recently heard a shiur from Rabbi Willig where he quoted a Gur Aryeh in Kedoshim that not listening to one's parents is a violation of moreh av. Just like you can't contradict your parents, so too you would need to listen to them. Obviously there are (many) situations where this would not apply but the point is that from a halachic perspective one has to take into account the violation of moreh av v'eim.

The Terumas HaDeshen(quoted by the Shulchan Aruch) writes that in this case one does not have to listen to one's parents and you can go away to a Yeshiva against their will.

Contemporary Poskim

I was given in article on this subject and the article quotes Rav Zilberstien as paskening that if your father is sick and he wants you to visit him then if you are in town you must go. If you are learning out of town you don'thave to go. However, if there is noone to take care of your parent you must go.

Rav Shternbuch is quoted as saying that if you are in the same town you must help your parents. However, if it will really affect your learning then you are pattur. (which seems like a rayah to my chiluk of quality vs quantity). Also, if your parent is sick you must help even if they are out of town but you shoul dtry to minimize the bittul torah as much as possible.

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