Ask the Rabbi #111
Bill Bickel wrote:
You recently wrote (Ask the Rabbi #108) about the custom that a child not attend the remarriage of a widowed parent. You wrote that attending the marriage of a surviving parent would be disrespectful to the deceased parent. There are obviously cases in which, because of the family dynamic, it would be particularly hurtful to the surviving parent - or to the surviving parent's spouse - for the child not to attend. Would this be an exception to the rule?
Leslie Z. Sokolow wrote:
I'm very surprised at your answer about remarriage. I would think that a child has an equal obligation to honor the living parent as she would the deceased one. A child's absence could be construed as a public repudiation of the remarriage, which could greatly shame the living parent. How can this be condoned?
I think one should honor a dead parent many times a year but never at the expense of the living parent. I've always enjoyed your responsa so please explain your answer better so I can be at peace with your ruling.
Dear Bill Bickel, Leslie Z. Sokolow, and many others who wrote in on this subject:
True, the honor of the living parent supersedes the honor of the deceased one. So if the child's absence from his parent's remarriage causes a misunderstanding - e.g., the parent feels hurt or embarrassed - then certainly the child must attend.
But if the parent understands that the child is simply adhering to a time-honored custom, the parent won't feel hurt. He won't see the child's absence as repudiating the new marriage. On the contrary, he'll be proud that he raised a child who respects both parents, during their lifetime and beyond.
Ashira Hirsh wrote:
(Re: Attending a parent's remarriage) The next question is can a child go to the wedding of a divorced parent? I have learned much from your responses and enjoy your writing style, a mix of seriousness and humor.
Dear Ashira Hirsh:
I asked Rabbi Moshe Shternbuch, shlita, who told me that the same would apply to attending the remarriage of a divorced parent. That is, the child shouldn't attend unless the parent getting married specifically desires that he do so.
Jeff Stier wrote:
As always, I enjoy your entertaining answers. I have a question that begs for a wise response: I am an avid gardener and am tempted to try what some call the potamo plant. The potato and tomato are very similar. One difference is that the 'fruits' of the potato grow below ground and the fruits of a tomato grow above ground. Agriculturists have combined the plants so that a plant produces both tomatoes on top and potatoes off the roots. I imagine I can eat the fruits - like you can eat a tangerine...But can I splice or plant them? I'm looking forward to your wise and witty answer -- I'm 'rooting' for you!
Dear Jeff Stier,
In Israel it's forbidden to cross-breed vegetables. Outside Israel it's permitted.
This is based on the verse in the Torah which says "You shall not plant your field with mixed seed." The Sages teach that the words 'your field' refer only to a field in Israel.
So if you live outside Israel, you're on 'solid ground' when you plant your potamo.
The fruits of a hybrid - even if bred contrary to halacha - may be eaten. Also, the seed produced is not considered a hybrid and may be planted even in Israel.
Thanks for letting me 'field' your question, which 'stems' from a 'growing' concern in halacha. 'Till' next time...
By the way, what do you call a dog that grows out of the ground?Sources:
- Leviticus 19:19, Tractate Kiddushin 39a
- Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 297:1
- Talmud Yerushalmi, Kilayim 1:4
- Rambam Hilchot Kilayim 1:7
Last week we asked: Which ONE verse (NOT different verses with the same words) is read publicly from the Torah most frequently? (riddle submitted by Raphael N. Levi)
Answer: Numbers 21:3. This verse is part of the monthly Rosh Chodesh Torah reading. In most communities it is read twice during the Rosh Chodesh reading; hence, it is the most frequent publicly-read verse. (According to another custom, three other verses are repeated. Numbers 21:3 is nevertheless the most oft read verse, taking all communities into account.)
- Shulchan Aruch Oruch Chaim 423:2, Mishna Berurah 3, Siddur Tefillat Kol Peh p. 416
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