Parental Say

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How much can a parent tell an adult child what to do? Shalom Rosenfeld examines these issues in an article in a recent issue of Tradition. His article “Parental Say In the Life Choices of the Post-Adolescent Child: Some Halakhic Guidelines” from Tradition (46:2) is presented here, with permission: link (PDF).

Here is a snippet from his conclusion:

In summary, should the letter of the law be demanded, it appears we can conclude as follows:

  • In most situations, there is no absolute obligation for parents to feed or educate an adult child.
  • Whether the value of honoring parents is compelling enough on its own will vary depending on the case and the rabbi consulted.
  • A non-binding commitment has signifi cant halakhic value and should be weighed strongly against other considerations.
  • Monetary contracts would be recognized, if properly executed.
  • Oaths are not recommended.

I know that I have been delinquent in providing summaries of new periodicals. I hope to return to the practice soon.

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of TorahMusings.com, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student serves on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America. He also serves on the Editorial Boards of Jewish Action magazine, the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society and the Achieve Journal of Behavioral Health, Religion & Community, as well as the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

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