Sunday, November 6, 2016

Kibbud Av Or Safek Mitzva?

לע"נ הרב משה בן הרב מנחם 
לע"נ רבקה רחל בת ר' מרדכי 
לע"נ ר' אליהו שמואל בן ר' יוסף זאב 
לע"נ עטל בת ר' שלמה אריה הלוי 

Rashi says at the beginning of Parshas Lech Lecha that when Avraham goes to Eretz Yisrael he will merit children. The Ksav Sofer explains that despite the fact that he left his father and nullified the mitzva of kibbud av, nevertheless, in order to fulfill the mitzva of having children it was permitted. When people see that Avraham left and had children, that would prevent a Chillul Hashem that might have been created by his leaving his father. 

We see that in order to fulfill a mitzva one may leave one's parent at the expense of the mitzva of kibbud av [see Yevamos 6]. 

What would be the halacha if one wants to do a mitzva at the expense of kibbud av but is on doubt as to whether he will be successful in fulfilling the mitzva? Also, what is the halacha about a safek mitzva such as taking arba minim [the 4 heretics? Shake 'em like a lulav till they start believing!:-)] during Bein Hashmashos which may or may not be a mitzva [depending on whether night has fallen]?

On one hand we can say that ספק דאורייתא לחומרא and one has to make sure that he tries to fulfill the mitzva no matter what. Or we can say that when is one allowed to nullify the mitzva of kibbud av  - when one will DEFINITELY fulfill the mitzva of kibbud av but where one is in doubt, the preferred path is שב ואל תעשה - be passive [in fulfilling the ספק מצוה] and just fulfill the mitzva of kibbud av.

Maybe we can resolve this questions based on the Shu"t Michtam Li-dovid [Yo"d 32] of Rav Dovid Pardo. He discusses the case of a girl who took an oath that she would marry a certain boy but her father was opposed. Do we say that her oath is not effective because it was a שבועה לבטל את המצוה - her oath flies in the face of mitzvas kibbud av and is thus not effective [so says the Maharshach 1/135]. Or do we say that she is not allowed to transgress the sin of violating her שבועה and must marry the boy despite her father's objections [so says the Maharshdam Yo"d 95]. 

The Michtam Li-dovid rules that the שבועה is חל מספק. On the other hand the girl also has a ספק כיבוד אב and thus may NOT marry the boy because the שבועה may NOT have been effective [because of her mitzva of kibbud av] and she should fulfill the mitzva of kibbud av. 

We see even though one must fulfill a שבועה out of doubt because of the rule ספיקא דאורייתא לחומרא, nevertheless this obligation is not strong enough to override the ספק מצוה of kibbud av.

Let us return to our question and derive that similarly one may not nullify the mitzva of kibbud av in order to try fulfilling a mitzva at which one may not be successful or a ספק מצוה. Despite the fact that generally one must fulfill mitzvos [di-oraisa] when in doubt, this obligation is not strong enough to override the mitzva of kibbud av.

However one can argue and say that in order to fulfill the mitzva of kibbud av one need not nullify a doubtful fulfillment of the mitzva of having children. This is not because of the MITZVA of having children but for another reason. The mitzva of kibbud av only applies משל אב - if the father pays the price. But if the child will have to pay for it - משל בן - he is not obligated. Not having children would be considered משל בן because people have a basic existential and practical need for child [the gemara says that a child is like a "cane" in old age]. So even a woman who is not obligated in Pru U'rivu would nevertheless be allowed to have children at the expense of her obligation to honor her parents.   

[Based on the treasures of Rav Avraham Genechovski ztz"l]