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Standing For a Parent
Authored by Moishe Dovid Lebovits
Reviewed by Rabbi Ben-zion Schiffenbauer Shlita
Piskei Harav Yisroel Belsky Shlita
Reviewed by Harav Yisroel Belsky Shlita
Standing For a Parent
The obligation of standing up for a parent is somewhat neglected and not practiced as frequently as other areas of halacha. In this issue we will discuss the obligation, reason and different details related to this halacha. How many times a day? How long to stand? What if one is davening? Is this halacha relevant in all situations? If the son is the father's Rebbi does the halacha change? Does mechilah help? What about an older brother or father-in-law? All these as well as other issues will be addressed in this issue.
The Gemorah states that when Rav Yosef heard his mother's footsteps he would rise because the Shechinah (his mother) was coming. From this story the poskim maintain that one is obligated to stand up for a parent. There are those poskim who maintain that this halacha falls under the category of kibud av v'eim and not revering (fearing) one's parent.
Many of the halachos regarding standing for a parent are derived from the halachos that require one to stand for a chacham /rebbi. We will make reference to those halachos from time to time.
Mother and Father / Daughter and Son
The obligation applies to standing up for a mother just as it does for a father. In addition, it applies to a daughter just as it applies to a son.
Father is not a Talmid Chacham
The halacha applies to a parent who is not a talmid chacham, but rather a simple person. In addition, it applies to a parent who is young as well.
Son is His Father's Rebbi
The Gemorah discusses a case of a son who is his father's Rebbi. Does the son have to stand up for his father, and does the father have to stand up for his son? There is no conclusion, but some poskim maintain that the son is required to stand up for his father and the father does not have to stand up for his son. The Aruch Hashulchan offers the following reason: since the final halacha is doubtful because the Gemorah has no conclusion, it is a sofeik in the halacha of kibud av v'eim which is a d'oraisa. Therefore, we take the stringent approach and the son has to stand for his father. By the same token, it is forbidden for the father to stand for his son. Although both the son and father can forgo their honor, it is preferred that the son forgo his honor and stand for his father than for the father rather to forgo his honor and stand for his son. However, the halacha is in accordance with the opinion that both should stand up for each other.
However, the Rama adds that, "If the son wants to forgo his honor he may and the son would have to stand up for his father. However, this should only be done in private or in public where people know who his father is. If the son is a giant in Torah and not everyone knows who is father is, there is a concern that it will be a disgrace if the son stands up for his father. One should further himself from each other in this situation in order not to belittle the other one."
Parent or Son is Blind r"l
An interesting question arises whether a son is obligated to stand for a blind parent r"l. The consensus of the poskim is that he should stand.
Hearing the Parent Coming
The Aruch Hashulchan (and others) maintains that the obligation to stand begins when one hears his parent's steps, as we see from the story of Rav Yosef. However, this is not the overwhelming custom. Even the stringent opinion only obligates the son if he hears the parent approaching and is in the same room. If the parent is in a different room he does not have to stand.
Some relate that when an individual spoke to a certain gadol on the phone he would stand in order to give the proper honor. This is not required l'halacha.
Within Your Four Amos
There is a debate among the poskim as to when exactly one should stand. As a matter of halacha many poskim say that a person must stand once he can see his parent walking into the room, and not merely when the parent walks into his four amos.
How Many Times
The poskim discuss how many times a day one has to stand up for a parent. The halacha is that one only has to stand up for his Rebbi once in the morning and once in the afternoon. This is the opinion of the Rama; therefore Ashkenazim do not have to stand up for a parent more than twice a day if the people present know that he stood up twice. However, if the people present are not aware of this, then one must stand up again. However, Sefardim have to stand up for a parent even one hundred times a day. This is based on the opinions of those who hold one has to stand up each time a parent walks into a room etc.
Who Are Considered Strangers
As mentioned above, if the people present did not know that one stood up for his parent he is obligated to stand up even one hundred times. Family members are not considered strangers.
Parent Reaches His Place or Out of Line of Vision
The obligation for one to stand for his parent endures until the parent reaches his destination and/or sits down. However, if the parent remains standing in the same room then the child must remain standing. Nonetheless, if a parent stops to talk to someone on the phone or to chat with someone for a long time then one may sit.
If the parent enters a different room then the son does not have to remain standing.
Once a parent either reaches his destination or is no longer in the child's line of vision, the child may sit down.
Even if Parent Does Not Know
The son is obligated to stand even if the parent does not know that the son is doing so for him. For example, if a father walks into the room while engaged in a complex discussion and the son is sitting unobtrusively in the corner he still has to stand up. In addition, if a parent does not recognize his son (he is sick r"l) the son still has to stand for him. This is done as a respect for the father that others should see one has honor for him.
A son who is sitting in one room does not have to stand up if the parent enters a different room. To illustrate: if the child is sitting on a porch and sees his parent walking on the street, or if one is in shul and sees his mother on the balcony in the women's section, no standing is required. Furthermore, different rooms in the same house are considered a separate area.
In addition, if a parent passes in a car even within four amos one does not have to stand since it is considered a different room.
Leaning on Something
There is a discussion in the poskim if leaning on an object is permitted while one is standing for a parent. Certainly, one should avoid leaning to the extent that he would fall if the item were removed.  While some permit this, it is preferable not to lean on anything while standing for a parent.
Son is Standing
If the son is standing when a parent walks into the room, it is preferable that he sit down and then stand up out of respect for the parent.
Leaving Right Away
It should be obvious that the son is standing for a parent. Therefore, if one stands for his parent he should not leave immediately since it looks like he stood because he has to go take care of something. Rather he should sit down and then stand up and leave. Similarly, if one stood for his parent in shul and then needed to get a sefer, he should sit down first and then stand up and get the sefer. However, this rule does not apply before going to use the bathroom.
While Learning / Davening/ Berachos / Aliyah / Shatz
One must interrupt his learning to stand up for his parent. Similarly, one must stand up for a parent while davening, even during birchos krias shema. The same is true while reciting a beracha. When the father gets an aliyah, the son must stand for his father until he reaches the bimah, and also when the parent leaves the bimah. When the father is at the bimah no standing is required (aside from the halachos of standing during leining) since the father is standing in a set place (see below).
If a son is standing on a bimah which is on a platform and his father walks by, some say there is no need to stand for the father (since the son is standing he would have to sit and then stand). The reason is since the bimah is considered a separate reshus.
When a father serves as a shatz the son does not have to remain standing the entire davening, but only when the father goes to and from the place where the shatz stands.
In The Bathhouse
The Rama says that this applies to the inner bathhouse (where people stand without clothes), but one does stand in the outer room. There is a discussion in the poskim if this halacha even applies to the parent. However, there are poskim who apply this halacha to a parent (as well as to ones rebbi muvhak).
A question arises whether a son has to stand up for his parent in the swimming pool area. Since everyone is clothed somewhat at the pool it is not considered a disrespectful place, and the son should stand up.
If a son is taking a haircut and a parent walks in the son is required to stand. However, he is not required to interrupt the barber. Nonetheless, if the barber stopped the haircut to get something and the parent walked in the son should stand.
On A Bus
According to the letter of the law, an employee may not stand up to honor his father because the wasted time would cause a loss to his employer. However, today's employers are not concerned about the small amount of time it takes for one to stand for his parent and doing so is permitted. In addition, in the earlier years workers would sit on the floor and standing up would consume a lot of time. Today we sit on chairs, and standing up for a parent does not involve a lot of time. Therefore, the employer will not suffer any loss. Nonetheless, if standing would cause a loss to the employer, it is prohibited. For example, a bus driver may not stand if his father boards the bus as this will cause his employer a loss since the bus will be delayed until the father reaches his seat.
An Avel r"l
A child who is sitting shivah r"l does not have to stand up when his parent enters the room; even to stand up a bit is not required, but the custom is to stand a bit. This does not apply to Tisha B'Av even though we are aveilim over the churban. Others say that since today's shiva visits consist of discussions about many other things besides aveilus there is no reason to exempt the avel from the mitzvah of standing up for his parent.
Son is Sick r"l
If the son is sick r"l he does not have to stand for a parent.
Parent in a Wheelchair / Bicycle
The halacha is that riding is like walking. Therefore, if a father or mother enter the room in a wheelchair the child has to stand up for the parent. The same is true for a parent who is riding a bicycle.
Parent Talking to You
One whose parent comes to talk to him should stand during the conversation (unless the parent instructs him to sit).
Trying to Avoid the Mitzvah
A child should not take action to exempt himself from standing for a parent (it is not a good idea to do this for any mitzvah). Therefore, he may not close his eyes before his parent enters the room in order not to sense his parent's presence so he would not have to stand up. In addition, one should not sit in the front of the shul so as not to see when his father enters and not have to stand for him.
However, we mentioned earlier that one has to stand for a parent even if he stood twice (Ashkenazim) if he is in a place where people were not present when he stood. In this case, one may sit in the front of the shul so that he does not see his father walk into shul, since he is doing so to avoid maris ayin and not to exempt himself from the mitzvah of standing.
Son in Pajamas and in Bed
A son who has changed into his night clothing does not have to stand since it is not an honorable act of standing. However, if he is lying on the couch or sofa in his regular clothes he is required to stand if his parent enters.
Son Holding a Sefer Torah
If a son is holding a Sefer Torah on his lap and his father walks into shul he may not stand up since this is a lack of honor for the Sefer Torah.
The halacha is that a father may be mochel on his honor. However, if the son asked that the father be mochel and the father was quiet it is not a valid mechilah. In addition, the mechilah is only valid for a specific act if the son did not express that the mechilah should be forever. In any case it is not advisable to ask for mechilah forever from a parent. If the father is mochel, the son should still stand a bit like he is standing out of his honor.
It is possible for a parent to be mochel from standing in their honor. However, if people are present one should stand a bit since they do not know that the parent was mochel.
Some examples: According to the opinion that one has to stand for a parent even one hundred times, the following situation may warrant a mechilah forever from a parent. If a single son or married child lives with his parent he can ask mechilah forever not to stand up for them. This is also common if the son and father work in the same office together. However, according to the Ashkenazim who only require standing twice a day one should not ask for mechilah on this.
It should be noted that if a father never said to his son to stand up for him when he walks into a room it is not an indication that the father was mochel his son in this mitzvah.
Nonetheless, it should be pointed out that the Torah wants a sense of hergesh and honor between parent and son; therefore, mechilah should not be practiced. If one sees that his child is not fulfilling the mitzvah then mechilah would be beneficial.
The Aruch Hashulchan holds that the obligation to stand up for a parent applies only if the parent is walking in from the beis medrash or outside but not if the parent is going from one room to the next in the same house. Other poskim do not mention this leniency.
Lack of Knowledge
Some opine that the reason for the leniency is because the children of parents do not know the halachos of standing for a parent. Hopefully after this article that will change.
Parent-In- Law / Other Relatives
For other relatives such as an in-law, older brother or grandparent, one does not have to stand the full height. Rather, the mitzvah requires that he stand a bit (unless they are over seventy or chachamim).
 Kiddushin 31b.
 Refer to Maharsha Meseches Kiddushin 31b.
 Ramabm ibid, Bais Yosef Y.D. 240, Shulchan Aruch 240:7, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 143:7. See Levush 240:7.
 Rambam Hilchos Mamrim 6:3, Aruch Hashulchan 24, opinion of Harav Elyashiv Shlita quoted in Moreh Horim V'kebudam page 55:footnote 2. See opinion of Harav Ben-zion Abba Shaul zt"l quoted in Moreh Horim V'kebudam page 55:footnote 2, Chazzon Ish Y.D. 149:4.
 Moreh Horim V'kebudam page 56. Refer to Otzer Kibud Av V'eim page 262:281.
 Chut Shani Kibud Av V'eim page 287.
 Opinion of Harav Yisroel Belsky Shlita.
 Moreh Horim V'kebudam page 56:4.
 Meseches Kiddushin 33b.
 Rosh Meseches Kiddusin 57, Ran, see Shach 10. On the reason for this see Ran and Bais Yosef ibid, Biur HaGra 15.
 Bais Yosef Y.D. 240, Shulchan Aruch 240:7. See Yufei Leleiv 3:240:16. Refer to Meiri Meseches Kiddushin 33b.
 This was actually done by the Maharam with his father (Rama 240:7, Taz 9, see Aruch Hashulchan 26 on how he explains this).
 Rebbe Akiva Eiger 240:7, Aruch Hashulchan 244:7, Shevet HaLevi 6:146:2, Rivevos Ephraim 8:375:27, Oz Nedberu 14:45. See Pischei Teshuva 6. Refer to Tzitz Eliezer 18:49:1, Moreh Horim V'kebudam page 62:footnote 14. So too a blind son has to stand up for his parent (Moreh Horim V'kebudam pages 61-62).
 240:24. Refer to Moreh Horim V'kebudam pages 58-59. The opinion of Harav Elyashiv Shlita is like the Aruch Hashulchan (Moreh Horim V'kebudam page 59).
 Gilyon Maharsha 240:6, Misgeres Hashulchan 143:9, Avnei Yoshpe 1:185:1. See Shach Y.D 282:3.
 Harav Yisroel Belsky Shlita, see Yufei Leleiv Y.D. 3:240:15, Shevet Halevi 2:111, opinion of Harav Fisher zt"l quoted in Moreh Horim V'kebudam page 59, Vayivorech Dovid Kibud Av V'eim page 108, Kibud Av V'eim pages 184-185. See Oz Nedberu 14:45. If one is required to stand for a parent if he sees him through a window see Yufei Leleiv 3:242:15.
 Moreh Horim V'kebudam page 59.
 Rivevos Ephraim 8:375:27.
 Refer to Yabea Omer Y.D. 4:16.
 Chayei Adom 67:7, Avnei Yoshpe 1:185:1, opinion of Harav Elyashiv Shlita is even if it is a long distance away (quoted in Moreh Horim V'kebudam page 58). Refer to Shulchan Aruch 242:16, Y.D. 244:2, Taz 244:3. See Aruch Hashulchan 242:44.
 Opinions of Harav Elyashiv Shlita and Harav Ben-zion Abba Shaul zt"l (and others) quoted in Moreh Horim V'kebudam page 57.
 Chayei Adom 67:7, Moreh Horim V'kebudam page 60 quoting the opinion of Harav Elyashiv Shlita.
 Y.D. 242:15.
 Tosafos Meseches Kiddushin 33b "ein," Aruch Hashulchan Y.D. 242:45.
 Refer to Kibud Av V'eim pages 160-161:8.
 Moreh Horim V'kebudam page 60:footnote 9 quoting the opinion of Harav Ben-zion Abba Shaul zt"l.
 Moreh Horim V'kebudam page 60:footnote 10.
 Opinion of Harav Elyashiv Shlita quoted in Moreh Horim V'kebudam page 66:footnote 38, Moreh Horim V'kebudam pages 56-57. Refer to Kibud Av V'eim page 155.
 L'reacha K'mocha 6 page 126, Avnei Yoshpe 1:185:1. Refer to Minchas Shlomo 1:33.
 Moreh Horim V'kebudam pages 65-66.
 Chayei Adom 67:7, Misgeres Hashulchan 143:9, Kibud Av V'eim pages 151-154:1. Refer to Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 244:9, Shach Y.D. 244:9.
 Teshuvos V'hanhagos 2:448.
 L'reacha K'mocha 6 pages 136-137.
 Harav Yisroel Belsky Shlita. Refer to Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 242:18, Ben Ish Chai Ki Tzeitzeh 2:13, Chayei Adom 67:7, Shar Hatzyion 146:18, opinion of Harav Elyashiv Shlita quoted in Mivakshei Torah 20:page 153:13. See Chut Shani Kibud Av V'eim page 287.
 Moreh Horim V'kebudam page 66:footnote 29.
 Opinions of Harav Elyashiv Shlita and Harav Ben-zion Abba Shaul zt"l quoted in Moreh Horim V'kebudam page 67:footnote 30.
 Opinion of Harav Elyashiv Shlita quoted in Mivakshei Torah 21-22 page 248:7.
 Refer to Meseches Zevachim 19b, Bais Yosef 141, Shulchan Aruch O.C. 94:8, Mishnah Berurah 22. See Magen Avraham 141:2. L'reacha K'mocha 6 page 125, footnote 3, Otzer Kibud Av V'eim pages 244-246.
 Kibud Av V'eim page 156:3. Refer to Magen Avraham O.C. 141:2, Mishnah Berurah 94:22-23.
 Opinions of Harav Elyashiv Shlita and Harav Ben-zion Abba Shaul zt"l quoted in Moreh Horim V'kebudam page 69:footnote 41.
 Refer to opinion of Harav Elyashiv Shlita quoted in Mivakshei Torah 21-22 page 248:4. Refer to Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 242:8, see Moreh Horim V'kebudam page 62:12, Kibud Av V'eim page 185:34.
 Refer to Meseches Shavuos 30b, Tosfas "efrach," Sefer Chassidim 91.
 L'reacha K'mocha 6 page 131.
 Ben Ish Chai Ki Tzeitzeh 2:12.
 One is obligated to stand up for a parent in a shul even though the Shechina is present there since the honor of Hashem and of one's parent is equivalent (Rashba 5:14, Yufei Leleiv 3:242:17).
 Refer to Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 244:11, Ben Ish Chai Ki Tzetzeh 2:15, Kibud Av V'eim page 171, see Tzitz Eliezer 18:68:1-2.
 Birchei Yosef 244:1. Refer to Tzitz Eliezer 14:10. Regarding the first posuk of krias shema see Kibud Av V'eim pages 173-174 and Shevet HaLevi 6:146:4.
 Kibud Av V'eim page 172:20.
 Refer to Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 242:18, Moreh Horim V'kebudam page 63:16:footnote 21. See Kibud Av V'eim pages 158-159, Oles Yitzchok 1:31.
 Moreh Horim V'kebudam page 66:footnote 28. See Mivakshei Torah 20:page 153:13.
 Refer to Aruch Hashulchan 242:49. See Kibud Av V'eim pages 176-177 who is not convinced.
 Kibud Av V'eim page 160:7.
 Rambam Hilchos Talmud Torah 6:2, Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 244:4. Refer to Kibud Av V'eim page 182 if a son has to stand for a parent if the son is not wearing a yarmulke. See Oz Nedberu 14:45.
 Aruch Hashulchan 244:6.
 Harav Yisroel Belsky Shlita.
 Refer to Pischei Teshuva 244:3, Aruch Hashulchan 6, Moreh Horim V'kebudam page 63:footnote 22, opinions of Harav Ben-zion Abba Shaul zt"l and Harav Elyashiv Shlita maintain that standing in the outer room of a bathhouse for a father is not applicable.
 Aruch Hashulchan 244:6, see Ben Ish Chai Ki Tzeitzeh 2:17, Yabea Omer Y.D. 3:27:2.
 Refer to Kibud Av V'eim page 183:29.
 Opinion of Harav Ben-zion Abba Shaul zt"l quoted in Moreh Horim V'kebudam page 64:footnote 24.
 Moreh Horim V'kebudam pages 64-65, Kibud Av V'eim pages 155-156. Refer to Oz Nedberu 10:31-32 in great depth.
 Moreh Horim V'kebudam page 65. Refer to Yechaveh Daas 3:71, Yabea Omer 6 Y.D. 22, Zechor Avraham (journal) 5756 pages 454-456.
 Refer to Meseches Kiddushin 33a, Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 244:5, Pischei Teshuva 3, Ben Ish Chai Ki Tzetzeh 2:17, Moreh Horim V'kebudam page 65.
 Shach Y.D. 244:4, Aruch Hashulchan 244:8, Vayivorech Dovid Kibud Av V'eim page 236, L'reacha K'mocha 6 page 143, footnote 58. Refer to Chayei Adam 69:9, Yabea Omer Y.D. 4:17:1, Kibud Av V'eim pages 180-182, Chazzon Ish Y.D. 149:4.
 Shach Y.D. 244:4, Aruch Hashulchan Y.D. 244:8.
 L'reacha K'mocha 6 page 143.
 Refer to Meseches Moed Kotton 27b, Rambam Hilchos Avel 3:5, Rama 376:1, Levush 1, Shevus Yaakov 1:26, Shiurei Beracha 376:2, Yufei Leleiv Y.D. 3:376:1, Aruch Hashulchan 4, Divrei Yatziv Y.D. 234, Kibud Av V'eim pages 187-188, Yabea Omer 3 Y.D. 27.
 See Rashi Meseches Kiddusin 32b "hidur".
 Opinion of Harav Elyashiv Shlita quoted in Moreh Horim V'kebudam page 65:footnote 27.
 Harav Yisroel Belsky Shlita.
 Refer to Shulchan Aruch O.C. 554:6, Pischei Teshuva Y.D. 242:12, Shiurei Beracha Y.D. 376:3, Daas Torah O.C. 558:12. Refer to Mivakshei Torah 21-22 page 396:6, Otzer Kibud Av V'eim page 255.
 Teshuvos V'hanhagos 2:582.
 Meseches Moed Kotton 27b, Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 376:1. Refer to Divrei Yatziv Y.D. 234.
 Meseches Kiddushin 33b, Meiri Meseches Kiddushin 33b, Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 242:16, 244:2.
 Rivevos Ephraim 8:111:1, L'reacha K'mocha 6 page 139, Vayivorech Dovid Kibud Av V'eim page 109, Kibud Av V'eim page 177:24.
 Kibud Av V'eim page 177:24.
 Vayivorech Dovid Kibud Av V'eim page 109, Otzer Kibud Av V'eim page 237:238.
 Refer to Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 244:3, Aruch Hashulchan 244:5.
 L'reacha K'mocha 6 page 132.
 L'reacha K'mocha 6 pages 134-135.
 Harav Yisroel Belsky Shlita.
 Shevet Hakehasi 3:256. Refer to Vayivorech Dovid Kibud Av V'eim page 236.
 Based on Shevet Hakehasi 3:256. See Shevet HaLevi 6:146:3.
 Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 240:19. Refer to Radvaz 1:554, Chazzon Ish 151:2. This concept applies to these halachos as well (Harav Yisroel Belsky Shlita).
 Opinions of Harav Ben-zion Abba Shaul zt"l and Harav Elyashiv Shlita quoted in Moreh Horim V'kebudam page 49:footnote 11. Refer to Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 242:32.
 Ibid footnote 12.
 Opinion of Harav Ben-zion Abba Shaul zt"l quoted in Moreh Horim V'kebudam page 49: footnote 13.
 Refer to Shulchan Aruch 243:32, 244:14, Chazzon Ish Y.D. 151:2.
 Moreh Horim V'kebudam page 67:footnote 33. Refer to Yam Shel Shlomo Meseches Kiddushin 1:71.
 Moreh Horim V'kebudam page 68:28. Refer to Aruch Hashulchan Y.D. 242:44.
 Opinion of Harav Elyashiv Shlita quoted in Avnei Yoshpe 1:185:5.
 Chut Shani Kibud Av V'eim page 287.
 24. Refer to Avnei Yoshpe 1:185:4.
 Otzer Kibud Av V'eim page 240:246. Refer to Am Hatorah 3:6:pages 56-81 in great depth.
 Rivevos Ephraim 8:374.
 Medrash Shocher Tov 7:4, Michilta Yisro 18:7, Shulchan Aruch 240:24, Taz 19.
 Shulchan Aruch 240:22, Aruch Hashulchan 240:43, Betzel Hachochma 3:95:1. Refer to Mivakshei Torah 20:pages 231-232 if this applies to any older brother or only the bechor.
 Rama 240:24.
 Refer to Meseches Kiddushin 33a, Meseches Bava Basra 75a, Tur Y.D. 244, Chayei Adom 69:2, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 144:2, Yabea Omer 3 Y.D 13, Yechaveh Daas 3:70. See Birchei Yosef Y.D. 244:4 who says the age is sixty. Also see Yufei Leleiv 3 Y.D. 244:2.
 Opinion of Harav Yisroel Belsky Shlita, opinions of Harav Ovadia Yosef Shlita, Harav Elyashiv Shlita and Harav Ben-zion Abba Shaul zt"l quoted in Moreh Horim V'kebudam page 110 footnote 51.