[Avodah] Honoring One's Eldest Brother
Professor L. Levine
llevine at stevens.edu
Fri Mar 22 09:11:16 PDT 2019
>From today's OU Kosher Halacha Yomis
Q. My brother, who is the eldest child in our family, says I must show him honor and may not contradict him. Is this correct?
A. The Torah (Shemos 20:12) writes, “Honor your father and your mother.” The Gemara derives from the word “and” an obligation to honor one’s eldest brother. Showing honor to one’s eldest brother is a form of honoring parents. However, poskim point out that there are many differences between how we must honor our parents and how we must honor the eldest brother.
The Beis Meir (YD 240:23) writes that the mitzvah to honor the eldest brother includes only acts of honor (kavod), such as serving them food, but does not include acts of “mora” (reverence) such as not sitting in their seat or contradicting them. The Minchas Chinuch (Mitzvah 33) writes that it is logical to assume that the mitzvah to honor a parent and a brother are not identical and have different guidelines. For example, a parent may not be called by their name, but a brother may be called by his name. The Minchas Yechiel (3:107) explains that it would be a dishonor to one’s parents if one were to extend the same level of honor to one’s brother as one does for a parent.
There is no mention of honoring one's eldest sister. Is this also a requirement?
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