Son Wants to Come Uninvited for Rosh Hashanah


What is the best way to stop our grown son who wants to come to us for a Rosh Hashanah meal when we don’t want him here? We love him dearly and unconditionally, but he is eccentric and can be embarrassing at times. He was a difficult child to raise, and he is stubborn and feels entitled and does not easily take no for an answer. He is very argumentative when we try to dissuade him and we feel powerless to stop him. He doesn’t care deeply about following Torah laws that require him to respect us. Getting ready for Rosh Hashanah should not have to be like this.
The situation is, for one of our meals, we want to have a couple over, and we want them to have a good impression of us. We fear he may be detrimental to that very important impression. Besides all his other traits I described, he is highly outgoing and wants to meet these people. We think this would be a terrible idea at this time. He says he plans to show up, even if he is not invited. He is an independent adult who is successful in his professional life and we cannot punish him if he does this to us.
What advice do you have as a rabbi to keep him away?



  1. I truly empathize with your difficult situation. I also apologize in advance for not answering your question in the way that you would like me to. My personal feeling (which means that you can take it or leave it as you feel fit) is that you should let your son join you for Rosh Hashanah. Why is that? Because he says that he is going to come anyway. And my feeling is that it might be easier to “control” his behavior if he is invited rather than have him “gatecrash” your Rosh Hashanah seudah. If he is actively not invited by you, he will probably turn up in a much more combative and belligerent frame of mind. And that will, presumably, be the cause of considerably more embarrassment in front of your guests than if he is invited and welcomed as if you want him to be there. In classic reverse-psychology, there is also a possibility that he might be less enthusiastic about coming if he knows that he is invited and that you are waiting for him to come.

    In any event, if your son tells you that he is coming, I would suggest that you mention (without making it a big thing) to your guests that your son will be with you and he can sometimes be a little socially unaware. That way they will be pre-warned and they will not allow his behavior reflect negatively on you.

    Best wishes from the Team