We have finished siman 5, which discusses kavod through speech. The Chayei Adam gave the example of using one’s father’s name when others will respond to it positively as a way of bringing kavod to their father.
The Chayei Adam mentioned previously the importance of looking at one’s parents as among the greatest of the generation (see shiur 1218). Therefore, another example of kavod through speech include speaking to one’s parents respectfully and pleasantly, just as one would do for great people.
Rashi in Chumash points out that it is not respectful for a child to speak before a parent. Thus, a child should ensure that if their parent is asked a question by a third party, they let their parent respond first before adding their own opinions to the conversation.
Similarly, it is not respectful for a child to make requests from a parent in the form of a command. One would not command Rav Moshe Feinstein around; neither should they command their parents. Thus, children should be mindful that when they ask for something (e.g., ‘make me lunch’) to ask rather than command (e.g., ‘could I please have lunch?’). Theoretically, this idea should apply at the table as well. If one wants their parents to pass them something, they should be careful to ask rather than command. Practically, many are not careful on the latter.
If one parent tells a child to do something, and, while the child is doing it, the other parent enters and asks who told them to do it, if it is clear that the second parent will be upset at the first, there is an issur rechilus for the child to respond. Additionally, if the parents will be upset with each other, the child has committed a lack of kavod through speech by their response. A person must be careful in such a situation to find a way to avoid creating ill feelings and a lack of kavod. If such a situation happens often, one should speak to their rov.
If a parent corrects their child for something they perceive the child is doing wrong, but the child was not doing what the parent thought they were doing, the child should not respond in a harsh or abrupt manner, but should politely request to explain themselves.
- Demonstrating kavod through speech includes asking that things be taken care of for the father’s sake. However, one should only make such a request in situations where they know it will bring kavod to the father.
- Other examples of kavod through speech include generally speaking to them in a pleasant manner, not making requests in a commanding manner, not speaking before they have spoken, and correcting them in a polite manner.
- It is considered a lack of kavod to create a situation where one’s words cause their parents to become upset at each other.