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Honoring Parents

Honoring Parents

Halacha: My Father Is Calling Me, but I Am Busy?

Published on Monday September 6th, 2021

When you take part in an important work meeting and you see on the screen of your phone that one of your parents is calling you, you have an obligation to answer them. However, you can gently apologize for not being able to speak to them at present and assure them that as soon as you are free, you will call them back.

Similarly, you are in a business meeting with one of your clients and your parents call, you must respond by apologizing for not being available, and you must call them back as soon as you finish your appointment.

In general, there are people who do not answer the phone when they are busy with something [sometimes even when they are not busy at all]. However, it is important to be aware that sometimes the caller needs an urgent response or very important information and that the fact of not being able to obtain it can enormously annoy them.

It is clear that such behaviour does not suit a Ben Yisrael who is compassionate by nature. The correct way is to answer, apologize for not being able to start a conversation at that time and say that you will call back when you are available or suggest that the person call you back later, but don't ignore them.

However, if the call comes while you are praying or studying, when it is forbidden to interrupt, you must not answer. Again, call back when you have finished. Happy is he who watches over such details, which may seem slight to us, but which, in the eyes of Hashem, are of the greatest importance.

On this subject, our Sages, from blessed memory, explained (Moed Katan, 5a) the verse: "Whoever behaves with care, I will make him enjoy Divine assistance", in the following way: he who reflects on his actions in this world will have the merit of seeing Hashem's deliverance.

Our Creator 'rejoices' when He sees our good behavior and the serene relationships that we have between us, taking care not to trouble our neighbor!

As is quoted in Tana Debe Eliyahu (Rabbah, 26): "Thus Hashem said to the Bnei Yisrael, My beloved sons, I have made that you lack nothing. What am I expecting from you? I do not ask you anything except that you love each other and respect each other...

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