Mitzvah vs. Mitzvah

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Dear Rabbi Simon,
I’m invited to the wedding of a good friend’s daughter in Israel in August. When I told my mum, she got very sad and worried that I’m considering travelling to a war zone!  What’s the right thing to do? To honour the couple / my best friend? To be a good Zionist / Jew and not to be afraid?
To respect my mum’s wishes? That’s a sheileh!

Dear Mitzi
This is indeed a halakhic dilemma. Honouring parents and celebrating a wedding (hakhnasat kallah) are both among the list of premier mitzvot mentioned following the Blessings of the Torah every morning (see Artscroll siddur p. 16). Which gets precedence? Strictly speaking, since participation in the wedding is a mitzvah, your mother’s admonition cannot forbid you from attending. One is not required to fulfil a parent’s instruction at the cost of neglecting a mitzvah. However, it would be much better if you were able to persuade/convince her that you will not be putting your safety at (substantial) risk, so that she withdraws her objection. I hope you succeed. And who knows, maybe by then the War Zone will have become a Peace Zone.
Best wishes
Rabbi Rashi Simon

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Ask the Rabbi: Quinoa on Pesach
Dear Rabbi Simon,
Where do you stand on quinoa (and the kitniyot ban) for Pesach?
Many thanks,
Dear Tzippy,
In line with other American authorities, I am in favour of quinoa. Although I reject completely the voices (mostly from Israel) seeking to abolish the ban on kitniyot entirely, IMO we do not need to include in the prohibition pseudo-grains that were unknown in the Old World until modern times. Best to buy with a Pesach hechsher though, to be free of any possible wheat contamination.
Rabbi Rashi Simon
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