Friday, May 7, 2010

Honoring One’s Parents

Rav Borodiansky shlit”a (the son-in-law of Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ztz”l) relates that all of Rav Auerbach’s efforts to clarify the halachos of using electricity on Shabbos were inspired by his desire to fulfill the mitzvah of honoring his mother. She required a hearing aid, and avoided using it on Shabbos because of fear of violating the halachah. When Rav Shlomo Zalman ztz”l saw how pained she was by being cut off from everyone around her, he did his absolute utmost to make this very complex area of halachah more clear.
Rav Shlomo Bloch zt”l once received a letter from an old friend with whom he had learned in Novardok, asking that he bring his question before the Chofetz Chayim zt”l. His friend was an unmarried man of twenty-six, but wore his beard long and it made him look about forty years old. He had received a letter from his father commanding him to shave. He would like to know what he must do—does he have to listen to his father in such a case? The Chofetz Chayim began by asking Rav Shlomo, “Is he normal?” When Rav Shlomo answered in the affirmative, the Chofetz Chayim began to groan, “Such hard things a father puts on his child?!” The Chofetz Chayim then said, “I cannot answer the question, for that he will need to ask Rav Chayim Brisker, but I can give him some advice. He should write to his father that since his whole demand that his son shave is so that he should be marriageable, well, he only wants to marry a girl who is looking for a boy with a beard! And if he shaves, he will not find the kind of girl that he is looking for.” The advice that the Chofetz Chayim gave worked, and not much time passed before the young man got married and became a Rav in a small town.

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