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Don't forget #5!

Thursday, 13 February, 2020 - 10:27 pm

Too often, children assume they are smarter than their parents, but most of the time, they aren’t. It’s just that we expect our parents to see the world the way we do, and when they don’t, we are frustrated. I can’t count the times I thought my parents were wrong and it turned out it was I who was mistaken. As I grow older, sometimes, just a few weeks older, I realize that my father, with whom I love arguing for sport, is correct. Even when he is wrong, I regret mouthing off at him about our disagreements, because he’s my father and has earned my respect, period.

In this week’s Torah portion, Yitro, we are introduced to the Ten Commandments. While we are expected to follow the entirety of Torah, somehow, we are divided into tablet one Jews and tablet two Jews. Tablet one Jews focus on the G-d oriented Mitzvos found on the first tablet: Belief in G-d, no idols, not saying G-d’s name in vain and observing the Sabbath. Tablet two Jews are focused on the human oriented Mitzvos of not murdering, not coveting, not kidnapping, not bearing false witness and not committing adultery. Yet, too often commandment number five, “Honor your father and your mother, in order that your days be lengthened on the land that the Lord, your God, is giving you” doesn’t get the attention it deserves from either group of Jews.

The idea is simple.

You don’t need love them, like them or adore them; you need to honor them. It’s easy things like not calling them by their name, not sitting in their designated seat and not speaking back at them. It’s also complex things like traversing life when they don’t behave healthfully to you or your family, when they are mentally/emotionally/spiritually unstable or when they’ve passed away and you still want to honor them. Judaism discusses all the options and approaches, but one option is never an option: disrespecting them. Parents don’t always make it easy, but G-d made rule number five clear: He thinks we owe them honor and He offers immense blessing in return.

In the words of a Chinese Proverb: Respect for ones parents is the highest duty of civil life!

May G-d guard our brethren in Israel and the world over from harm and send us Moshiach speedily. May G-d protect the armed forces of Israel and the United States wherever they may be. Shabbat Shalom! Chazak!!! L'Chaim!!!

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