Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Honour your elder sibling


The 33rd mitzvah, honouring one's parents, is frequently described (such as Talmud Yerushalmi Peah 1:1) as the most difficult mitzvah in the Torah, because there is no limit on the efforts required to repay our debt to those who partnered with HaShem to give us life, and who devoted years of their lives to raising us.

This mitzvah is divided into two categories: mora (Reverence) and kavod (Honour). Mora refers to displays of respect, such as not using our parents' seats and not contradicting them. Kavod refers to actions which actively provide honour, such as providing meals or dressing them.

The Talmud (Ketuvot 103a) teaches that one is also obligated to honour an older brother. According to Ramban, this is specifically while the parents are alive, because they wish for him to be honoured. However, the Minchat Chinuch understood Rambam to require such honour even after the parents have passed away. One is also obligated to honour an older sister; see sources cited in Torah Temimah to Shemot 20, note 86.

Have a great day,

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