Serving Your Husband Before Your Father

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    Why is the Halacha that if a man’s father-in-law is visiting, his wife must serve her husband prior to serving her father; whereas if the husband’s father is visiting the husband needs to have his father served before he is served?

    Similarly, if a woman’s husband and father ask for something, she must serve her husband before her father; and if they are conflicting, then it is her husband she must serve. But if a man’s father and wife ask for something, he must serve his father first.

    In fact, it goes so far that Shulchan Aruch rules that s married woman has no obligation of Kibud Av V’Eim since she is obligated to serve her husband.



    This should never be an issue in your home since one of your other wives can serve you while the one whose father is visiting can attend to him, right?


    the posuk in Kedoshim איש אמו ואביו תיראו. the plural of תיראו, tells us that women do have the mitzva of Kibud av v’em, but the word איש teaches us that sometimes she is exempt..


    The reason is because the Torah considers Sholom Bayis to be of the highest importance. Hashem allows his own name to be erased to restore Sholom Bayis. Hashem created men & women & the emotional needs of each one for the relationship to last. A man needs to feel that he’s number one in his wife’s eyes when it comes to honor while a woman’s nature can tolerate foregoing her honor for her father in law. A man primarily needs honor from his wife, a wife primarily needs love from her husband.

    A son in law is certainly urged to forgo his honor for the honor of his father in law but ultimately he comes first.

    Here are the words of Rambam Perek 15:19/20 hilchos Ishus:

    Similarly, our Sages commanded that a man honor his wife more than his own person, and love her as he loves his own person. If he has financial resources, he should offer her benefits in accordance with his resources. He should not cast a superfluous measure of fear over her. He should talk with her gently, being neither sad nor angry.

    “And similarly, they commanded a woman to honor her husband exceedingly and to be in awe of him. She should carry out all her deeds according to his directives, considering him to be an officer or a king. She should follow the desires of his heart and shun everything that he disdains.
    This is the custom of holy and pure Jewish women and men in their marriages. And these ways will make their marriage pleasant and praiseworthy.”


    Moshe went to greet his father in law

    Sam Klein

    So you answered and solved the question yourself in your last paragraph when you wrote the honest halacha that a wife is required min Hatorah to serve her husband her entire life while her father she is not required to but if she does it’s a merit for long life.

    In regards to this topic it’s important when a wife has her husband and father together to serve at the same time. For the father to see the respect his daughter gives to her husband his son in law and he will not be hurt or insulted for keeping him waiting but proud that his daughter takes care of her husband so devoted full time


    Moshe went to greet his father in law>

    Is that relevant to this topic? Did he neglect his wife to do that?


    Dovid, that suggests that SIL can (should?) respect FIL. See Yoreh Deah 240:24 for details.

    Happy new year

    Moshe greeted Yisro who NOT his father in law currently.
    Read the pasuk.
    אחר שילוחיה


    “Dovid, that suggests that SIL can (should?) respect FIL.”

    But how does that relate to the topic, “Serving Your Husband Before Your Father”?


    Dovid, it means that the wife focuses on respect to the husband, while the husband now will show the respect.

    Pischei Teshuva in YD 240:24 mentions that.

    Also 240:17 also is a little careful – he does not simply say that a married woman is not obligated. It is – she is obligated same as the son, while married she is not able to show kavod because of obligation to the husband, and obligated if widowed or divorced. I wonder whether the main limitation is physicial – it is impossible to be in two places at once. But in our days of airplanes and instant comms, probably the daughter could at least answer whatsapp messages from her mother to make her feel better.

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