Values Index - Traditions of the Fathers

Question: A property owner owns two houses, one in which he studies during the day and in which he sleeps at night, but has his evening meals in his other house, where his married son, whom he [financially] supports, sleeps. After eating, he returns to the house in which he studies during the day. Must he light Hanukkah candles in both houses, or does [lighting] in one house, where he eats with his household, suffice. Also, must a married son who is supported by his father, and has a particular room in which to sleep, light [candles] himself or not.
Reply: The TOR [Ba'al HaTurim, Rabbi Jacob ben Asher] wrote in the following words in section 777: My master, my father, the ROSH [Rabbi Asher ben Jehiel], of blessed memory, in a response: A son who eats at his father's or at his friend's and has a special house in which to sleep must light, since as he has a particular house in which to sleep and the world sees him enter and leave it, there risk exists that if he does not light, that the world does not know that he eats in another place… What is implied by that which is written is that a son who is supported by his father - even if he is married, even if he wishes to light in the room in which he sleeps, it seems simple to me that he may not recite the blessing unless he himself wishes to light - depends on his father's [reciting the] blessing. And this all applies in the case that he wishes to light so as enhance the commandment, for the principle of the law, in my humble opinion, it suffices that he participate with his father with a few pennies worth and he needn't at all light in his room, since in our times we actually light inside, and even more certainly so in our city, where everybody knows that he eats together with his father. Anyhow, concerning our case – a father who eats in his son's home and sleeps in another room need light only in the room in which he eats with his son, and all this applies when the son is married, for if he is not married, he need not even participate with a few pennies.
Chessed LeAvraham, Part 1, Orakh Haim, paragraph A, Bezalel Halevy Ashkenazi Press, p. 22a – 23a, Salonika, 1813
"And if he designated her for his son, he shall deal with her as is the practice with free maidens." If a man did not have the privilege of studying Torah and did not study since his youth, whether because of time constraints or because he had no father to teach him, then he can make amends. He should teach his son.
For this son, indeed, needs that his be very compassionate toward him, not that he have to toil [for a living], and therefore have to abandon his study, but rather "as is the practice with free maidens" – who are not in the position to provide for themselves but whose father who provides their livelihood until they are married – he should fill all the needs of his son at all times.
Sefer Zicharon LaNefesh, p. 54. HaKtav Institute Press, Jerusalem, 1984
The Tosfot, in the Kol Hayad chapter, page 14b, wrote, in these words: One must also be precise about what Rabbi Hiyya said to Rabbi [Yehudah Hanassi], "You too consider it as a spot", and that he did not say, "You too, Master, consider it as a spot". Learn from this that he was in his elder years and was a collegiate student, as we said at the end of [the issue] "one who dies": "Ben Azai was a collegiate student of Rabbi Akiva, for he said to him: You sit, and did not say: Sit, Master". Meaning that had this been said during the years of Rabbi Hiyya's youth he could not have said to Rabbi, 'You too consider' and so on. We learn from this that a student who acquires substantial wisdom with his master, despite the fact that most of the wisdom is from the latter – is considered a collegial student.
Ginat Vradim, Section Orah Haim, Gan HaMelech, paragraph 93, p. 30, Yismach Lev Publishing, Jerusalem, 2008
Concerning the case in which an individual gave a sum for a mitzvah, and some people were aware that he was required to do so, for yahrzeit or an expecting woman and the like. Should those people raise their bid with no intention of purchasing it themselves, in order that the individual in question add to the sum, and agree in advance with the treasurer that should the individual stop bidding they are to pay only part of the sum – This matter is one of deviousness, trickery and deception…" I will deal with all his oppressors". For the one who seeks to purchase is being oppressed to the point that they are obliged to add [to the sum] out of self-respect…anyone with a soul will refrain from this and be rewarded.
HaShomer Emet, Laws Governing Purchase – Ki Tov Sachra, section 6, Halakha 6, A"M Hai, Lovorno, Palafji and Bilforti Press, 1849
"Be careful about governance" – even beyond what is permitted. You may consume kosher meat and permitted wine and the like, but even if they are permitted, it is forbidden to be wicked within the limits of the Torah's law, as our renowned Sages, of blessed memory say. This is even more the case when great expense is involved…from which comes this warning to some young men who spend much more than they can afford on their weddings, selling their clothing and furnishings to revel in delicacies and wine, as though they were of royal descent. "Eat, friends, and drink; drink deep, loving companions" while they, having neither friends nor companions, scatter monies without measure. Some will remain penniless after the wedding, with no funds left for the commerce or craft required to respectably earn their living. One to whom God has granted common sense will "conduct his affairs with equity", in keeping with his means and no more, for his friends and companions, having eaten and drunk with him on his wedding day, will be silent in his hour of distress and leave him on his own when he is tending to his troubles.
Asher L' Avraham, New Interpretations and Commentaries on the Haggadah, Song of Songs and Ethics of Our Fathers, p.56a, printed by the author, Izmir 1877
"You shall rise up before the aged, and show deference to the old." Our Sages commented: An aged person means one who has acquired wisdom. Beyond the evidence found in Holy Scripture for their interpretation it was the custom of the ancients to call the wise ones among them "elder"…
It seems superfluous to mention examples of honoring elders among the ancient peoples, it being a known fact. I will mention only one of the highest value…In the land of Greece, when an elder would enter the theater or the circus all those seated would rise to honor him. Once, an old bachelor entered and nobody rose or moved for him. When asked how this elder differed from other elders, they replied: He has not yet given birth to one who will rise before us when we, too, will be as he is today.
Em Lamikra, Leviticus, comments on weekly Torah reading Behar, p. 72b, Eliyahu Benamozegh and Friends Press, Livorno, 1863
In places where there is no shaliach tzibbur worthy of leading the congregation in prayer and there are youths of thirteen or fourteen years of age, is it permitted for them to lead the congregation to fulfill the public's obligation in kaddish and kedusha, so that the congregation do not avoid [the obligation of] public worship? Instruct us, and be recompensed by heaven.
Know that a youth of thirteen and a day, even if the last day is a Sabbath and he has not yet worn phylacteries, is considered a grown man, and may be called to the Torah Reading, read the Torah and pray as shaliach tzibbur. This will not be asked of him before he wears phylacteries, has come of age, and has two hairs and is considered an adult for all matters.
Yad Eliyahu, Part A, Question 27, p. 26a-b, Shemesh David Torah Library, Jerusalem, 1992
Even if one is a rabbi, an elder or one of the Israelites' wealthy people, one should not seek to maintain one's esteem by avoiding to go and draw the water oneself. An aged man or somebody with an ailment who is unable to go and draw water on his own, should wait at the entrance of his house, and when seeing people carrying the water for the purpose of the mitzvah, he should run towards them, take some and bring it into his house. This is how many of the Geonim [6th-7th century spiritual leaders] acted: When they would see that water for the mitzvah was being brought, they would run towards the holy mitzvah water, and carry it themselves into the house.
Geulat Hashem, Piskei Dinim leShoavei Ma'im, p. 2b, Israel Kushta and Friends, Livorno, 1864
Included in the commandment to study Torah is also the respect of the Torah; kissing the book one has studied from after completing one's studying, not putting it on the ground and the like. This was how my holy teacher and master, my father, would act, may I atone for his passing. He would kiss a book when he opened it to study, and after closing it at the end of his studying. He greatly cherished books, as our Sages, of blessed memory, say in Ethics of Our Fathers, "Anyone who honors the Torah – his body will be honored by the people". This includes honoring Torah scholars, fearing them and heeding their words; this was how my teacher and master, my father, would act, may I atone for his passing, by granting Torah scholars immense respect.
From Shem Yosef, sermon, p. 32a, 'Idan-Cohen-Tzabban-Haddad Printing, Djerba, 1950
It seems straightforward, concerning customs - such as not eating rice on Passover, which is current in several places - that they are followed because one's forefathers followed them, but one's students are certainly not obliged to follow them. If so, this is the rule for all halakhot performed by teachers who are following their forefathers' customs. It would therefore seem that a Ba'al Teshuva [penitent, newly religious] who has been returned to the fold by rabbis or heads of yeshivot, whose forefathers' customs are not identical to his forefathers' customs, should follow his own forefathers' custom - despite his having studied with them. In the case that his father is not observant of the Torah and its commandments, he should act as did his ancestors, on the basis of 'not abandoning your mother's teaching', and because these are the ways our forefathers took upon themselves and upon their children and their children's children.
Or LeZion Responsa, Responsa B, Author's introduction, p. 17, Jerusalem, Or LeZion Institute, Jerusalem 1993
Children and all living things created in their mother's wombs, and especially those living things that nurse and who grow in their bodily structure from mother's milk, are bound to their mothers from whom they receive, beginning with their conception within the womb's walls and shaping, and in milk that nourishes them, especially humans, in whom speech is an expression of the mind's representations, also received from the mother by her conversation and compassionate caresses, through which she molds and mends his moral character in keeping with her understanding and the education received from her father's house and its surroundings.
Therefore the child follows and respects her, for she persuades him with words, more than he respects his father (Kiddushin 30b). Therefore, were we to determine that a child of mixed [origin] be assigned according to the father, this son would, from the start, be a converted son for his parents, who would waver between two convictions and end up without either, and not only could he not become a person of religion but would be neither humane and moral, for which reason G-d's guidance in this case is to attribute the child to his mother.
Mishpatei Uziel Responsa, Chapter 2, paragraph 6
The contempt towards values so dear to our nation, the dismissive tone used as a matter of routine, are the result of a conceit that should be uprooted from our hearts. The purpose of general philosophy, from this point of view… is not only to arouse reflection in youths during their studies, reveal new horizons to them, and expand the scope of the concepts and facts they may learn in this discipline, but also to advocate faith. The flash of enlightenment during the 18 and 19th centuries in Western civilization contributed to the destructiveness of faith, and many of those who in our day turn their backs on faith still remain under its influence which, since the early 20th century, has definitively waned. The past few decades show signs of a radical shift of values in the domain of philosophy. In theory, if not yet in practice, gross Materialism is gradually being ousted from the realm of science, and being replaced with a new world view more congruent with the ancient Jewish spirit.
Introduction to Jewish Thought, Introduction, p. 4, Mahbarot LeSifrut Publishing, Tel Aviv, 1959
The reason behind the commandment to honor parents is understandable at the intellectual level, since they bring us into the world and raise us, go hungry to feed us, go naked to clothe us and meet all our needs until we mature. It is therefore appropriate not to be ungrateful, there being no worse attribute. Our sages, of blessed memory, said that a person has three partners, and equated the honor and reverence due to them with those pertaining to the Holy one, blessed be He. The importance of this obligation is established in the Ten Commandments. It comes with a reward, since it says "so that you may fare well and have a long life".
Metzudat David, commandment 577, p. 514, published by Yerid HaSefarim, Jerusalem, 2013
Question: When people say, as is the custom, that "This fowl is for the Sabbath", or for the Festival and the like – Is this to be considered a vow? And if it is considered a vow, can one leave it aside and purchase some meat or another fowl in its place?
Reply: It seems to me that this counts completely like a vow, since the pleasure of Sabbath and Festivals is a commandment. Why would one say that it is not a vow? As for the question of replacing it, it seems that one may do so, see Shulchan Aruch Yoreh De'ah on laws governing charity, Section 259, a: A person who designates a stone [amount] for charity or states that "this stone is my gift" and puts it aside may change it before he comes to the beadle, borrow it for themselves, or lend it to a fellow person and pay with a replacement. The sanctity of the pleasure of Sabbath is certainly no greater than the sanctity of coins for charity, and since we find that one can replace funds designated for charity, that is the law concerning what has been designated for the pleasure of the Sabbath. One can replace it and eat something else in its place, and certainly if it is of better quality than is the first, and provides more pleasure than the one originally designated for the Sabbath.
Yad David, Questions and Responsa, p. 430b, published by Haddad Press, Netivot, 1959
"Hear what the LORD is saying: Come, present [My] case before the mountains, And let the hills hear you pleading."
This is to be interpreted as a hint that when a person reprimands even wealthy people without pretense, then the remaining, less privileged people, will certainly heed their words: Present My case before the mountains – refers to the wealthy, which will bring about that "the hills hear you pleading" – refers the simple folk.
Keren LeDavid UleZar'o, p. 161, Jerusalem, 1997
Already from an early age did my father my master guide me in the just ways and teach me mankind's purpose in life. If I have met with success in one or another aspect, it is because I always took refuge in his shadow and depended on the words of his teachings.
Divrei Hizkiahu, Vol. 2, Introduction, Jerusalem, 1952
"Noah was a righteous man; he was blameless in his age; Noah walked with God". The Midrash Raba that says, "When the storm passes the wicked man is gone' refers to the Generation of the Flood and 'But the righteous is an everlasting foundation' refers to Noah." End quote. We should inquire what this Midrash is meant to teach us. For if Noah was righteous and an everlasting foundation, why did the Generation of the Flood not survive for his sake? "Noah walked with God" comes to tell us that despite Noah's being righteous and an everlasting foundation, the world did not exist for his sake, for he walked among his generation with the attribute of Justice.
He did not ask that they be pitied at all, and did not want to yield any of his credit to them and be punished as they were, as did Abraham with the ten generations. He sought the annihilation of the Generation of the Flood, as did the Holy One, who said, "I have decided to put an end to all flesh", which is why it says, "Noah walked with God". It means he walked among those of his generation of one mind with the Holy One, Who comported Himself with them with the attribute of Justice, and so did Noah, who did not ask that they be pitied at all.
Sheerit Israel, Breishit Reading Portion, pp. 4-5, Zohar Printing, Tel Aviv, 1986
" Visit your neighbor sparingly, Lest he have his surfeit of you and loathe you". This means that one honors others more from afar than from nearby. The heart coarsens towards someone who is nearby and becomes a burden and bother, unlike someone distant, for whom the heart yearns and longs, and seeks to bestow kindliness. That is why King Solomon, may he rest in peace, wisely advises to "Visit your neighbor sparingly, Lest he have his surfeit of you and loathe you". When a person, who has always lived with his father and mother, shares his home with them, they are likely to eventually become a burden. This is the meaning of the text, "When a person honors his father and mother, the Holy One, Blessed be He, says: I ascribe credit to them as if I dwelt between them and they honor Me as well" – I know that you will always honor Me, but I do not commend you for this honor, since "From afar God is seen to me". Were I to dwell among you, you might not honor me. If you honor your father and mother, if they dwell among you, "I ascribe credit to them", despite My being distant, "as if I dwelt between them and they honor me as well". This is what is known as true honor. But if you do not honor your father and mother, despite your honoring Me, this is not honor; it is as though I would dwell among you as does your father, and you would not honor Me.
Hessed El, Section 4, sermon, p. 5a. Hacham Yaacov Tubyiana, Livorno, 1826
"Now Jacob was settled in the land where his father had sojourned, the land of Canaan". One would say that the usual way is that sons follow their fathers by residing in the same location, having become accustomed to it, and also that 'inhabitants benefit from a site's grace'. Therefore, it says "Now Jacob as settled in the land where his father had sojourned". Should you say, however, that the reason [he settled there] is because it was his father's pace of residence, because, as we said, that this is the usual way, the text continues and says, "the land of Canaan", the reason being that the land of Canaan is holy and the LORD's gaze is always upon it; that is the true reason.
Shevut Yehuda, p. 53, Daf Chen Hevra Printing, Jerusalem, 1980
The reason for which the Torah innovates with the commandment concerning children's attitude towards their parents is to educate people and accustom them to the idea that the same gratitude that one feels towards one's parents, who have granted us life, is the gratitude one is to feel before the Creator, who has granted the gift of life to both us and them.
Yitzhak Chouraqui, in Tradition in the Modern Age, Rabbi Yehuda Leon Ashkenazi, Torat Hatoladot, p. 327, Yedioth Publishing, Tel Aviv, 2009
This Sabbath is called the Bridal Sabbath, indicating the giving of our Torah, on this date and in those days, on the Festival of Shavuot. Truth is, one should know why it was so named, and not [named] the Sabbath of the Giving of the Torah…In my modest opinion, the reason is as follows: It is common knowledge that towards their wedding, a bridegroom spends large amounts of money on his bride because of his love for her, sends her clothing and jewelry, and may also buy her a bonnet for her head, and pretty shoes of good quality…which is not the case after the wedding… He does love her, although it is not the same as the moment of the marriage…It is thus clear why this Sabbath is called the Bridal Sabbath. It signals the Giving of the Torah from Sinai in our day, at which moment the reception of which will be with great love…and not as it might be later, after the marriage as it were.
Ish Mevin, Volume I, pp.45a – 46a, Haim Abraham De Sigora Press, Izmir, 1889
The fact that the verses "Noah found favor with the Lord" and "Noah was a righteous man" are adjacent to each other, according to RASHI, of blessed memory, shows us that the principal life story of righteous people is their fulfilling of commandments and good deeds.
That is the intent behind the adjacency of "Noah found favor with the Lord" and "Noah was a righteous man". Meaning, that what pleased the Lord through his Torah, fulfillment of commandments and good deeds are, in themselves, the life story of Noah.
Ben Porat Yosef, p. 2. Published by Maatuk Di Yaakv Bashiri and David 'Idan, Djerba, 1924
"Honor your father and mother, that you may long endure on the land that the LORD your God is giving you". You must not only honor them while they are in this world but even after they have died and left this world - there lies the meaning of "the land".
This honor, to which one obligated, comes from what the Holy One has endowed you with, Torah or money, any form of endowment. For if you have been privileged with Torah, labor at it for its own heavenly sake, day in day out, forever renewing. And if you have gained wealth, use it to do good deeds, prevent downtrodden knees from buckling. This is the meaning of "the LORD God is giving you" – honor them with what the Holy One has given you.
Zach VeNaki, p. 117, Hevrat Ahavat Shalom Publishing, Jerusalem, 1987
"Why was the section on the death of Miriam in the Torah juxtaposed to one on the Red Heifer? To tell you that just as the red heifer atones, so do the deaths of righteous women atone." The rabbi [named] Tirat Kesseph, of blessed memory, wrote: Would it not have been enough to say, 'Why was the [section on the] death of Aaron juxtaposed to [the one on] the priestly garments' to inform you that just as the priestly garments atone, so do the deaths of righteous men atone, since it does, in fact, say that the deaths of righteous men and sages atone? But what basis is there to say that the deaths of righteous women can atone? Women are not the same, for how can women merit this great thing, since they are not obligated to [study] Scripture and Talmud, even when they are righteous...? Miriam's death, therefore, was juxtaposed to the section on the Red Heifer to teach us something new, that the deaths of righteous women atone also, as does the red heifer. The Torah innovates, saying that the red heifer, which is also female, atones. Our masters, of blessed memory, saw the Midrash and wondered, in these words: "What reason is there for all the sacrifices to be male, and for this one to be female? Rabbi Ibo said: An allegory to a handmaiden…" In this way the heifer comes to atone on the [golden] calf affair. It is indeed astonishing in their eyes that there are only male sacrifices and no female ones. The heifer, however, despite its being female, does atone. Here the Torah also teaches us something new, through the juxtaposition of Miriam's death to the Red Heifer.
Yoseph Hen, Sermon D on the Upright and Wise Person, p. 38, Abraham Teshuva Press, Tripoli, 1928
People on their deathbed deliver a testament to their children and household that concerns matters of the temporal world, instructing them on how they are to comport themselves concerning material and economic matters. If only they would do as much accounting of the sanctity of the soul, for sometimes death, heaven forbid, strikes before the significant accounting has been done. This is one reason to act in the opposite way, and first hold a major accounting by soul-searching. For in material matters and in business one reviews accounts at every moment, while this is hardly the case concerning the deprived soul…
The Tikun [repair] of this search, soul-searching, is to write one's will while alive, healthy and strong and to instruct one's children and household, as is written concerning Abraham, "that he may instruct his children and his posterity to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is just and right".
Yoseph Avraham, p. 237 – 238, Gizei Hamelech Publishing, Jerusalem, 2008
'Moses commanded us a law, the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob'. I will explain this according to the commentators, of blessed memory. Since our holy fathers observed the Torah and took its yoke upon themselves, as we learned at the end of Tractate Kiddushin: Abraham our father fulfilled the Torah in its entirety, even before it was given, as it says 'Because Abraham listened to My voice, and he observed my commandments, laws, and teachings'. If so, we too are obligated to observe it, the reason being 'forsake not the teaching of thy mother', and cannot claim to having been forced [as in] the statement 'He held the mountain over their heads like a barrel'.
This is why 'Moses commanded us a law' was said. Despite the claim of having been forced, since 'He held the mountain like a barrel', we are, in any case, obligated to observe it for the reason that it is 'an inheritance of the congregation of Jacob' – the chosen among our fathers. Therefore we undertook the obligation to it [law] on the basis of 'forsake not the teaching of thy mother' so that nothing remains of the statement claim, simple to understand.
Doresh Ba'adi, Berakha weekly portion, p. 73b, Goldenberg Brothers Publishing, Brooklyn (2000)
People have the need and a great obligation towards the lofty attribute of walking the best and excellent path, to be under the watchful eyes of their parents, in particular after their demise; to have their thoughts, hearts and sights fixed upon them. A person can draw their portrait upon which to gaze, as a talisman that helps avoid wayward deliberations and negative thoughts, and to avoid all sin and guilt, as would a righteous person choose. There is an important obligation to pray and plead for their sake after their death, and to fast on the anniversaries of their death - as many of those bearing the awe of God in their hearts are accustomed to doing.
This also applies to praying and pleading to the Holy One, blessed be He, for their sake, that He show compassion and forgive them their transgressions; this should be done every twelve months on the anniversaries of their death. Visit their graves every New Moon, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, every fifteenth of the month, and during the entire month of Elul. These are days to prostrate oneself [at their tomb] so that no human harm attains you. On other days, when one has the time, one should go some distance from their grave to a place from where it can be seen, stand there and pray for them, and recite a few words of Torah that come to mind at that time.
Mahmadei Shama’im, p. 326, Beit Midrash “Or Hai”, Jerusalem, 2007
Should a mother wish to redeem her firstborn son whose father is not in the city she may redeem him; she may do so herself or have someone, as the father's messenger, do so. Just as HaSHa"CH (Rabbi Shabetai Hacohen) and the T"Z (Rabbi David HaLevy Segal, author of the Torei Zahav) wrote in Yorei De'ah Section 305 in the name of several rabbis, differing from Rabbeinu Mosheh Isserlich. We have also done so; I God's servant, in lieu of the boy's father, recited the blessing "who sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to redeem the firstborn". As Maran wrote, concerning one who redeems himself.
Shufria DiYaakov, Yorei De'ah, p. 5a, Shmuel Halevy Zuckerman Press, Jerusalem, 1910
"Above the thunder of mighty waters, more majestic than the breakers of the sea is the LORD, majestic on high. Your decrees are indeed enduring; holiness befits Your house, O LORD, for all times." 'Above the thunder of mighty waters' – was meant to say: 'from the voice of Torah'. A notarikon [acronym] for 'from the voice' –from the voice of Torah, that is likened to waters, as has been said: Ho, all who are thirsty, come for water'– can be found in 'more majestic than the breakers of the sea is the LORD, majestic on high' that spells out the [Hebrew] initials of 'my mother and my father', meaning that one honors one's father and mother to merit the World to Come. When is it most fitting and becoming to do so? On the Sabbath day, entitled 'sacredness', and by so doing one also gains the merit of long life.
Dvar Tov, p. 163, Jerusalem, 1914
"Had Noah been part of Abraham's generation, he would not have been taken into account". Why is only Abraham mentioned, when one could also include Hanoch and Methuselah? In order to understand, we must distinguish between two types of tsaddikim. There are those who isolate themselves and do not involve themselves with other people, and there are those who are involved with others. Which are we to consider preferable? The commentators wrote that the involved one is preferable, despite the fact that the isolated one gains more in Torah and from sanctity and abstinence, which is not the case with a person involved with others. In the latter's case, the tzaddik's generation benefits from him…Hanoch and Methuselah were [righteous] only for themselves, while it says about Abraham "For I have known that he command his children and household after him to do charity and justice".
Shoshannat HaAmaqim (in Mayim 'Amuqim) p. 77, Jerusalem 1978
There are twelve windows in heaven corresponding to the Twelve Tribes. The prayers of each and every tribe rise up through the one gateway that is unique to it…There is no doubt that were the prayers of all the tribes equal, there would be no need for the twelve windows and gateways. But each gateway has its own approach, as it should, and since their prayers differ, special gateways for each and every tribe are necessary. Prayer resembles the roots and source of its souls, and it is therefore appropriate for each and every person to keep the custom of the order of his prayers, in keeping with the custom of his forefathers.
Kaf HaChaim, section 63
I have dwelled peacefully and quietly in my home, under the auspices of my crowning glory, my teacher, my father, the shining, illustrious and outstanding rabbi, Head of the Rabbinic Court and rabbi of the Damascus community, may his achievements protect us; my father and master Shlomo Sukari, may the LORD save and redeem him, long and bright may his memory shine! I sat in his home, within its high walls, always benefiting from his goodness and from the light of his Torah, as from a divine hand of goodness…
And I was also surrounded, my sons and I were, by my crowning glory, the great, righteous and most charitable and correct God-fearing woman, may her soul rest in peace…
What can I say? I thank the LORD above and thank my saintly parents, to whom great credit is due, upon whom I could depend anywhere I was, wherever I went. For it has been two and a half years since I left my home, and wherever I go, He is always my support, granting me favor in their eyes, and granting me their love.
Yoru Mishpatecha LeYaacov, from the Introduction, Eliyahu Moshe David Hacohen Publishing, Calcutta, 1882
The features of Moses are the features of the microcosm [ze'ir anpin], while Aaron symbolizes the angel Michael, the great minister [of Divine will] who presents the souls of the righteous to the Holy One blessed be He. It is known that the souls of those deceased in the Land of Israel are elevated by an angel of mercy, of those angels appointed by Michael's hand, though this quality is for the simple folk living in the Land.
The righteous are indeed [elevated] by the angel Michael, and with him is the revelation of the Shechina, as we find in the case of our Teacher, Moses, may he rest in peace, when the Holy One blessed be He said unto Michael: Go forth and bring me the soul of Moses, and although that was not the instance of his death, which happened later by a kiss by G-d, one may say, as concerns Moses, that he could not be touched by anyone, neither by any angel nor seraph, except by the Holy One blessed be He, in His Glory; since he [Moses] was equated to [the people of ] Israel in its entirety, as they wrote: 'Out one woman's belly were six hundred thousand born' and also because it hints to ze'ir anpin – meaning: for inwardness, as is written in the holy Zohar: Moses towards the interior and Aaron towards the exterior, and if, concerning the aspect of our father Jacob, may he rest in peace, they said he is considered as towards the exterior, regarding Moses, all the more so as concerns all other righteous ones, who are the sons of his sons, and are referred to as 'towards the exterior' regarding Moses, and their demise is by the angel Michael.
Vayizra Yitzhak, sermon on Tefillin, pp. 237-238, Ezra Haim Press, Damascus, printed in Aram Tzova [Aleppo], 1928
I traveled in a small ship to the city of Izmir, which is a large, admirable and magnificent city of utmost beauty and splendor, and asked where Rabbi Abraham Palacci might be, God preserve him; he was a quarter hour away from the ship and I walked until I reached the place for I wished to see him, knowing of the books he had written and having already understood in Jerusalem that he was a great sage. The people of his household told me that the rabbi could not be seen that day, since he was sitting in the special building where he would write and study. I insisted until they notified the Rabbi, who opened the gate and gave me permission to enter and, thank God, I had the privilege of seeing his countenance and receiving his blessing; he received me with grace and joy. He is very aged, God preserve him, and he gave me a book of his writings, titled "What liberated Abraham". He also gave me a book for Asher, God preserve him, of his father's writings, may he rest in peace, entitled Statues of Life, for regular study every night. It is like Hok LeIsrael, organized on a daily basis. Thank God, who grants mercy to all His creatures, our sorrow was transformed to joy and we were privileged by all this… Rabbi Abraham Palucci is the son of Rabbi Haim Palucci, may his honor shield us, Amen.
Korot Zemanim Vemasaot, p. 54, The Afghan Jews Research Institute Press, compiled by Reuven Kashani, Jerusalem 2013
The principal aspect of honoring parents must be within the heart. One should consider one's parents as the land's notables, so as to ensure avoiding any contempt but, on the contrary, to honor them in one's speech as much as in one's actions. We have already indicated the reason for honoring one's parents, they being the source of our very existence in this world, and also for their pains and the efforts they make on our behalf when we are children, so that it is appropriate not to be unappreciative; one is obliged to honor them. In this way, one is also drawn to recognize the goodness of the Blessed One and to fulfill His commandments and to not be ungrateful. For otherwise, if an individual does not honor his or her father and mother, heaven forbid, is ungrateful and does not acknowledge their goodness towards them, that person may be led to being ungrateful to the Holy One, blessed be He, as it were, and not fulfill His commandments.
Shnot Yamin, Sermon 2 for Shabbat Zachor, p. 155b – 156a, Haim Shaul and Yitzhak Hakim Press, Izmir, 1855
Therefore, so that the memory always remain unto generations to come, the obligation for each and every person to recount year after year was established. Even if one is wise and knows the entire Torah. It may not, in any case, be forgotten by our children at any time; were some people exempt from recounting, it might be forgotten. Every Jewish person is able to tell the story, and everybody would feel exempt from recounting it because they already know it. This could eventually lead us to forgetting. Therefore, the obligation for each and every person to recount the story was established, even if one is wise and knows the entire Torah. There can be no better safeguarding of the memory of the Exodus from Egypt than this.
Agaddah Mekubetzet: A comprehensive commentary on the Passover Haggadah, p. 52, published by Nir David, Ramat Gan, 1985
Yose ben Yochanan, man of Jerusalem, standing guard at the gate, says "May your home be open wide" – to permit individuals of Torah and good attributes to enter, from whom your children may learn Torah and proper behavior. Just as we see in pious people, who seek to bring Torah scholars into their homes, that they may teach their children Torah and good attributes.
You should consider always them as though they are the "poor of your household", devoid of Torah learning and lacking in proper behavior, and needy of a master and teacher to lead and instruct them.
The text concludes: "Do not overindulge in conversation with the woman". This is connected and relates to what precedes, as we clarified above, concerning the good upbringing of children, in that the father and mother should be at peace, love and union, and heed one another.
…Therefore, after referring to good upbringing - that one's "home be open wide", so as to have people of Torah and good attributes enter there and so that one's children will learn from them and receive a good upbringing - it [the text] recounts yet another useful principle in the upbringing of children: not to "overindulge in conversation with the woman". This means that even when noticing a detail in the way one's spouse does things at home that is not to one's liking, one is to ignore it and, as a rule, avoid quarreling about it with one's spouse which would be at the expense of domestic peace. Doing so ruins children's upbringing, in that they will learn to act similarly and not heed their mother or father.
Asbi'ah Lehem, p.19, 'Idan Press Publishing, Cohen and Sabban, Djerba, 1945
"I have gained more understanding than my elders, for I observe Your precepts." This helps explain how the Jewish custom of visiting the tombs of tzaddikim and praying there, that their merit protect them and guard them from all trouble, distress, illness and the like.
The reason behind this custom is that deceased tsaddikim are said to have remained alive through their praying for life and peace for us, and that their prayer is more effective than ours…
Those whose prayers were answered because of a tzaddik's merit came pure of heart, strong in their repentance and broken-hearted, which is why their prayers were answered. This is what our lord King David meant, in saying "my elders" – referring to the tsaddikim, who are considered alive after their deaths; "I have gained more understanding" why the prayers of some are answered - because of their merit; and to defend protect and guard them from all sorts of disaster, because "I observe Your precepts" and am free of transgression.
VaYomer Moshe – Original Commentary on the Bible and Sermons, p. 293, published by the Bnei Issachar Institute, The Sephardi Library, Jerusalem, 2007
The Tanah was accurate in saying "Moses gained merit and privileged others with merit – the privilege of many others depended on him". He was not one of those about whom one could say 'his only merit is Torah'; he privileged the multitude with Torah, and toiled with them in their learning towards their gaining merit, and the merit of a multitude of others depended on him…in keeping with RASHI's interpretation of the verse " These are the rules that you shall set before them" – The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moses: "It would not occur to you to say, I will teach them the chapter and halakha two or three times, until they become fluent yet will not trouble myself to explain the reason and interpretation of the issue. It therefore says, "…that you will set before them" – like a table set and ready before a person.
HaMiluim Le'Moshe, p. 163, Djerba, 1932
It is forbidden for a person to impose heavily upon his children and to be overly stringent, so as not to lead them to error. A father who has forgiven disrespect still maintains his honor - even his honor! But his striking and insulting are not forgiven, and some say his sorrow is not forgiven either. Even if he has forgiven disrespect, his child remains liable at the heavenly reckoning, and this must therefore be repaired…One who has transgressed in honoring his father and mother should fast forty-five fasts, the [alphanumeric total] equivalent of mother and father. And it is fitting that every person do this mending following the deaths of his father and mother; one can do these fasts easily, and if one's strength wanes, one may redeem the days, one by one, and recite a plea for their [the parents'] spiritual redemption. This mending seems to me to be sufficient for them both.
ikutei Khemed, Part Two, Halakhot for Respecting Parents, Elder Brothers and Parent's in Law, Halakha 22, p. 245, Hapoel Hamizrachi Press, 1977
As a rule, children must, first and foremost, be taught the Torah of Israel during their youth by their fathers, who are obligated to instruct them in Jewish customs and to voice God's religious laws, so as to ensure that they adhere to it to the end of their days and do not abandon it in their old age, always keeping it connected to their lives so that routine becomes second nature.
However, to our great regret, what we read twice and thrice a day, "Impress them upon your children. Recite them…" and "Teach them to your children – reciting them…" has been forgotten. What can be done, now that our generation is in disarray, and only a minority of fathers are rigorous in fulfilling these commandments? This situation is becoming more painful with every passing day, and the awful disaster threatening the nation is likely to occur, should nobody come to our aid.
I have approached a select few of our people in my city on this matter, in order to identify a possible remedy to this dreadful ailment. With the help of several individuals who love the nation and its religion - the honorable master and teacher Eli Zilberstein, Director of the Alliance Israelite School here in Kermanshah in particular - my most recent attempt succeeded. The members of the Comité Scolaire have also agreed to attempt to take the measures necessary so that the pupils no longer be hindered.
Pardess HaDat, Author's Introduction, p. 7. Published by the author's descendants, 1934
We should always keep a careful watch on the education of our children and household members so as to guide and direct them in keeping with Torah and the commandments, so that they follow in God's way and always be just and charitable… not only during our life… before losing our strength, we should instruct our children to follow the ways of God. For it is highly commendable that every person fulfill his father's directives and legacy, and always follow his advice, even if his father is the least of persons of the lowest rank.
Darkei Moshe, p. 5, David Idan Press, Djerba, 1935
We have never heard of such a thing, changing the Name, and pronouncing it "keil" or "Elokim". These are but a reduction in the respect of God, heaven forbid, and those who permit themselves this pronunciation lose any possible benefit, for these words indicate reduction or lack... As for the expression "Elokim", Aleph, as we know, is one of the EHV"I letters (Aleph, Heh, Vav and Yod) which are, on their own, practically silent. Many people even swallow them entirely in such a way that they say "lokim" [lacking] instead of "Elokim", and that is what may be heard by some; this is, in my humble opinion, absolutely forbidden.
Mikve HaMayim Responsa, Vol. 1, Yoreh De'a, section 3, p. 71. HaMa'arav Printing, Brothers Eliyahu and Yitzhak Abecassis, Jerusalem, 1968
"Israel encamped there in front of the mountain, and Moses went up to God" (Exodus, 19:2). As our Sages, of blessed memory said on "Israel encamped there", they became as a single person, in single unity and by so doing, were granted the privilege of receiving the Torah. It also says that Moses was granted the privilege of receiving the Torah uniquely because of his humility. This explains the Tanah's intended meaning in "Moses received the Torah from Sinai"; it means that Moses chose Sinai because of its humble [proportions], and also out being humble himself. This is also what is meant by "Israel encamped there" - in front of the humble mountain. Also, Israel were in single unity, which could only be attained through humility, which is why they were granted the privilege of receiving the Torah.
Torat Moshe, p. 63, published by the Organization of Djerba Jews in Israel, Bnei Brak, 1994
"She conceived and bore a son, and he named him Er. She conceived again and bore a son, and named him Onan. Once again she bore a son, and named him Shelah; he was at Chezib when she bore him." RASHI interprets Chezib as the name of a place. Why does RASHI needs to inform us where it took place? In the book Da'at Zekeinim it says that the custom of old was as follows: The first son's name would be chosen by the father and the mother would name the second; once the father and once the mother and so on. Here, in the case of the first son, it is written "and he named him Er", in the masculine, meaning to say, Yehuda named him. In the second case the text says "and named him Onan", in the feminine form, meaning that his mother named him - in keeping with respectful practice and with their custom. But according to custom, it would have been appropriate that Yehuda be the one to name the third son. How is it that it was his mother who named him, as written in the text, "and named him Shelah"? This is what RASHI comes to explain. "He was in Chezib when she gave birth to him", meaning that Yehuda was not there at the time of Shelah's birth; Yehuda was in a place called Chezib, and therefore it was his mother who named him.
Likutei Nissim, Parshat Vayeshev, p.83, published by the author, Tel Aviv, 1971
After the decease of his master and teacher, his father, may he rest in peace, whose writings were consumed by fire, he determinedly toiled with his own ten fingers to publish a book of his oral Torah learning, sweet as a honeycomb, from what was inscribed in his memory. This is no trifling matter, for after the book had been entirely lost, he had it returned to us. He will certainly be fully rewarded by the God of Israel with a long life, until he reaches the world of perfection, for having fulfilled the commandment of honoring one's father and mother – honoring him while he was alive and honoring him after his decease, true honor. If on the matter of all other people they said that a compassionate act done towards the deceased is a true act of compassion, this is all the more the case when one acts compassionately towards one's parents; printing their Torah learning surely merits a doubled and redoubled reward.
Drisha M'Haim, p. 178b, Haim Abraham De Sigora Press, Izmir 1888

It is a simple matter. A son who is supported by his father is not obligated to light (Hanukah candles) on his own, even if he has his own room and even if he is married – this is the letter of the law… If he is married and wishes to go beyond the letter of law and light in the room in which he and his spouse sleep – so as to embellish the commandment – he may do so, but may not recite the blessings. He is to rely on his father's recitation of the blessing, and should light without reciting it  himself… This is common custom here in Baghdad, may God protect it; those who have not yet married do not light at all and depend on their father's Hanukah menorah. Once they have married they do light on their own, but without reciting the blessing, and are exmpt by virtue of their father's recitation. This is how I act. When we light, I and my sons, may their Rock protect them and their lives, each go to his room and stands next to his Hanukah menorah and prepares to light. Then, when I light, I raise my voice so that they may hear me recite the blessing and thus fulfill their obligation to the commandment. The moment they hear the blessing, each lights his own Hanukah menorah, and then recites HaNeroth Hallalu.

Zivchei Tzedek Responsa, Chapter II, Orach Haim, question 37, p. 46, Shlomo Bechor Hutzin Printing, Baghdad, 1889
"I will live without blame within my house", meaning: If a person adopts righteousness, this should be between that person and themselves in their own home. Which is not the case before other peoples' eyes…
As a result, there is splendor in acting righteously and in modest fashion, on the one hand, while on the other, one gains the credit of "splendor from people", meaning: When among people like oneself, one acts as they do.
Nachalat Ezra Vol. 3, p. 36, HaKtav Institute Press, Jerusalem 1988
"Honor your father and your mother that you may long endure on the land that the LORD your God is assigning to you." Love and respect of parents is the source of all mercy, compassion and goodness, as is the respect of a nation’s elders, judges and teachers, without which it is impossible to sustain order in a state for very long.
For one who does not love his parents and abandons them in their times of distress, and has no pity on them, is but a cruel individual with a heart of stone. What mercy has such a person for the poor, for orphans or for widows? If a person has no respect for his parents and does not obey their bidding, how can he be expected to respect his elders, or a judge’s verdict?
Note that the Ten Commandments are written in singular form. God speaks to the People of Israel as to a single individual. God commands you – the entire nation, to sustain and protect the love and honor of parents, for they are the source of mercy and compassion. Respect elders, Cohanim and judges, so that they may endure, for the benefit of the society of Israel and for order in the state, so that their land be protected for a long time.
Adei Zahav, On the Torah, Part I, Exodus, Yitro weekly reading portion, chapter 20, verse 12; pp. 302-303, Jerusalem Institute Publishing, Jerusalem, 1987
On Motzaei Shabbat the entire extended family comes to the grandparents' home. They sit there for the Bona ceremony and eat Dabo, and meet in a family gathering of sorts. At one stage, the problematic behavior of one of the children, was there such a case, would be described and shared with the grandfather. A look from
Grandfather would suffice to know to mend our ways next time we come, but nevertheless, Grandfather would look for a guarantor – an adult, who was willing to protect that child, and guarantee that he mend his ways.
Having no writings of his teachings, we have written up what was said in his name by his children and pupils.
Why did the people Israel say "we will do and obey" before even hearing the Ten Commandments? They should have said we will obey and do. What did they mean? What they actually said was, "We received these words from our fathers. If there is something new – tell us".
How so? "I am the Lord your God". They already believed in His unity, blessed be He, as is said, "and the people believed and obeyed". "Thou shalt have no other gods" – Abraham did not take part in his father Terah's idolatry. "Thou shalt not murder" – Abraham did not kill Isaac on the altar…"Thou shalt not commit adultery" – Joseph did not lie with his master's wife. "Thou shalt not steal" – Jacob did not steal from Laban's house during the twenty years he spent with him…"Thou shalt not bear false witness" – Joseph said, "For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews", and did not say, "I am the son of ministers and deputies". "Thou shalt not take [the name of the LORD thy God in vain]". Judah did not take an oath on the matter of Tamar and said, "She is more righteous than I". "Thou shalt not covet" – Isaac did not kick at his father's feet at the time of the Binding and extended respect to him…"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy" – Joseph the Righteous already observed the Sabbath, as it says, "Slaughter an animal and prepare [a meal]", and they say that it was on a Friday.
Kiseh Rachamim – Commentary on the Torah, Parshat Yithro, p. 95 - 96
After the winter, it was customary to go to the hot springs in Tiberias for the body's health, in case some illness from the winter season may have lingered, since when the weather changes an upheaval takes place in the human body. If so, then just as during this period people note the physical upheaval in their bodies and limbs, and therefore heal the body with all types of medicines, such an upheaval should also be produced in the spiritual aspect, by reading Pirkei Avot and increasing in sanctity, to purify and sanctify us with good attributes and awe of Heaven.
Pirkei Raphael, First Chapter, p.136, Hish Press, Ramla, 2011
I turn to my right, for the ascent of the souls of our crowning glory. Beyond the great and revered commandment to honor one's father and mother, in life as in death, in keeping with the wisdom of the Blessed One's decree: They were two companions, two relatives, my dear parents, of blessed memory. They, in their righteousness, with help from God who heard their prayer and longing, wandered in search of a livelihood. They vowed to leave their residence abroad immediately following the birth of a male child, while he would still be nursing, and lead him to the Land of Israel, may it be established and built. They did so when my humble self was born… In order to fulfill their vow, they had to sell all they owned to pay for the long sea journey, and prepare considerable provisions (for steamboats had yet to be seen) to lead me there at the age of six months…
With our Father's mercy, they traveled to the Holy Land, may it be speedily built and established, and reached it after nineteen days [19 – a numerical equivalent of 'good' in Hebrew]. They wandered much and suffered great torments, imposed by the Blessed One's wisdom, the most extreme being the difficulty of finding sufficient earnings. Only in the holy city of Haifa, may it be built and established, did they find the means to a livelihood, and they willingly accepted all this. But no authors nor books were to be found there except for a children's tutor, and I could not study anything with him beyond a little Bible unpunctuated by cantillation. But my crowning glory, my revered and God-fearing father, my master and teacher Yishaiah, may his merit shield us, would study a little Aggadic lore, Shulchan Arukh Orah Haim, the holy Zohar, and tikunim with me during his nights and free moments. Yet during this entire time, my elders, of blessed memory, were unhappy that they could not dwell in a place of Torah.
Peter Rehem, from the Introduction, Shmuel Halevy Press, Jerusalem, 1913
If a rabbi dies, and has a son who is a Torah scholar, and his other son's son is a Torah scholar, and the community seeks to appoint one of them in his place, which [of them] has precedence?
It seems to me, in my humble opinion, that concerning royalty or presidency, one cannot appoint two kings to serve under a single crown, and therefore precedence is given to the elder. [This is the case even when] the elder son has fear of God but hasn’t wisdom, and the younger is full of wisdom but not fear of God.
But as concerns other appointments, in which two can share one crown, no precedence is to be given to one son or another, or to a son over a grandson, for if they are worthy of filling their fathers' place, this makes them successors. What has being a son or a grandson to do with it…?
Halacha LeMoshe, Orakh Haim, Section 1, p. 1, Yad Yekutiel Publishing, Jerusalem, 2009
"Honor your father and mother as the LORD your God has commanded you" My teacher and master, Rabbi Yosef Berrebi, of the righteous' blessed memory, was diligent in asking why does the commandment add "as the LORD your God has commanded you" to this commandment in particular? This can reconciled by saying that the text, by so doing, indicates that honoring them is the equivalent of honoring God. "As the LORD your God has commanded you" means that you should consider the commandment of your father and mother as you would the LORD your God's commandment.
Midrasho Shel Sha"M, Part 3, p. 125, Cohen, Idan and Tzaban Printing, Djerba, 1948
Incidentally, as it were, I find it appropriate to remind and warn all authors of their obligation to explicitly cite their sources, and to not appropriate the respect that is due to Torah scholars. Others before me have gone to great lengths in denigrating those who neglect crediting their sources, and go about furtively speaking of ideas and conceptions as though they conceived of them themselves. On this matter, the author of Sha'ar Asher, of blessed memory, wrote that one who so acts robs both the living and the deceased. Such a person robs the living because he could have brought about the Redemption, since it says, "Whoever declares something in the name of its originator brings Redemption to the world"; such a person robs the deceased as well, for mentioning their names makes their lips stir in their grave… These two sayings should suffice for anyone whose heart has been touched by the awe of God. There is, in addition to the obligation to cite one's sources that we mentioned, great privilege to be gained, for this results in positive regard and a good recommendation [for the World-to-Come] because the pleasure it causes above stirs the compassion of Heaven.
Nitzotzei Or, p.3, HaTehiya Printing, Jerusalem, 1935
Their words are aimed at the new generation of our day that always aspires to new things and despises the old, and says that Jewish customs are outdated and have aged and, at their advanced age, should be buried. For they are no longer suited to the spirit of the times in which we – a generation with opinions, a generation of progress, a generation of erudition and wisdom – now live; that the time has come for uprooting, removing the old to make room for the new, and reason is not to be found among the aged – and I say: "There is no wisdom in youth".
To those who admire innovation, I quote, "Doer of novel [acts], Master of Wars". How did their eyes fail to see that these old customs were established by prophets and sages who foresaw the future? Since these customs were naturalized in the Talmudic literature it befits us to observe and respect them. Even if by chance they discover customs that are not in the spirit of these times, being that they have persisted for many ages, we are to defend them with all our might.
Keter Shem Tob, Chapter Three, Introduction, p. X-XI, Superior Printers Press, London, 1943
King David, may he rest in peace, called Saul, his father-in-law, "father", as it says, "My father, see indeed". Our Sages, of blessed memory, said - concerning Jehoshaphat, King of Judah - that whenever he saw a Torah scholar, he would rise to his feet, and embrace and kiss them. The Gemara asks: How could he do so? Is it not written "Appoint over yourself a king" of whom you are to be in awe? The explanation is that he did not do so in public…
Yet we are obliged to say that what the Gemara says on this entire matter – what a king must not do in public – applies to all other people, but not to one's father, such as Solomon, who ruled while his father was alive…also, Moses bowed down before Jethro and embraced him in public, despite that he was only his father-in-law, which teaches us that one's father-in-law is to be respected like one father.
Deshanta BaShemen Sermons, p. 28 – 29, Malkei Rabbanan Press, Ashdod, 1998
May it be God's will that He instill surrender and the fear of sin in the hearts of our children, that the shoots resemble their roots, and that children not distance themselves from their parents. That there be emotional accord between fathers and sons, that one understand the language of the other, and that their homes not diverge from each other's as does the East from the West.
The parents' homes were delightful, in good taste, honest and good, and their children find tasteless and consider them outdated. They should understand "and they will eat their sons and daughter's flesh" - which was said in a moral sense, in rebuke - as meaning that the homes of their sons and daughters will be kosher, according to law and in keeping with Halakhic observance, so that the parents of the old generation visiting their homes will be able to eat their meat with no misgivings about the law; that their homes be kosher as were those of their parents. This is what the text says: "He shall reconcile parents with children and children with their parents" – that children be similar to their parents.
Shem Me'Shimon, Sermons, p. 54, Dfus Ha'Maarav Printing, Jerusalem, 1974