Here's a great tip:
Enter your email address and we'll send you our weekly magazine by email with fresh, exciting and thoughtful content that will enrich your inbox and your life, week after week. And it's free.
Oh, and don't forget to like our facebook page too!
A new online course
Starting January 22nd
Register »
Contact Us

Two Commandments

Two Commandments


The great importance and significance of the Mitzvah to honor parents is seen in the fact that it is part of the Decalogue, the core of the Torah.

[This is not to be understood as an essential differentiation between the ten Mitzvos of the Decalogue and the remaining 603 Mitzvos in the other part of the Torah. The whole Torah, all 613 Mitzvos, emits from the same source, i.e. from G‑d, and no essential distinction can therefore be made between one part and another. Even so, the Decalogue has the distinction of having been proclaimed by the public Divine Revelation at Sinai, while the other commandments were transmitted via Moses. This in itself would still not offer an essential difference between the commandments of the Decalogue and the other Mitzvos. However, the Decalogue is not only a code of ten specific Mitzvos, but moreover, a statement of ten comprehensive principles which imply and comprise all 613 Mitzvos of the Torah. (See Zohar II:90b and 93b; Numbers Rabba 13:16 and 18:21)

In fact, several works have been composed which show how the 613 Mitzvos are to be grouped into these ten principal categories (See Rashi on Exodus 24:12; "Commentary on Shir Hashirim" attributed to Nachmanides, end.) Thus, there is some special significance even to the specific precepts of the Decalogue.]

Two commandments in the Torah

[Maimonides (and others) enumerates in addition to these commandments also three prohibitions:

a) not to curse one's father or mother; b) no to smite one's father or mother; and c) that a son shall not rebel against the authority of his father or mother.

See Sefer Hamitzvos II:218, 219 and 195, and Hilchos Mamrim ch 5ff.; note also the commentaries ad loc.]

Dealing with the duties and the relationship of the child to its parents:

a) Honor your father and your mother, (Exodus 20:12; Deut. 5:16)

b) Ye shall fear every man his mother and his father (Levit.19:3)

[In the matter of honor due to parents, the father is mentioned first; in the matter of reverence due to them, the mother is mentioned first. From this we infer that both are to be equally honored and revered. [Kerrithoth 6:9 (28a)] Thus, whatever is said of one parent applies equally to the other parent.]

Join the Discussion
Sort By:
1000 characters remaining
James E Wilson SoCal November 14, 2015

Yes, life could have been better..... And a lot less complicated, and painful. If only our parents did one simple thing, that from our view, was a no brainer. After all all of our friends parents did it, so how tuff could it be! I'm not saying it was not an hard life, that what my father did was worst then...... or justify there actions. Don't think of this secular definition of honor go deeper, and although it might not seem that way right now we have been given something unique that others will never know. G_d sacrificed another so that we can experience it and see it and live it first hand in a way that nobody else has that unique position, not so that we can suffer but so we can do something to change it, so that when we leave this life, we leave it, not as a taker, but as a giver. Making a differance, even a small one.
Remember, Change Your Mind, Change The World. Reply

Joshua Morgan Riverside, California December 12, 2014

Thou shalt It comes to me that when we do what we are told, order is established. The common order being the prevailing one approved of and taught in a given society. Having read first from the Holy Bible the commandments, and from auxiliary bibles and now the Torah, it is worth considering that so many people of different culture instruct the young to respect and honor the elder. Reply

Milton Jones Huntsville, alabama August 25, 2012

Love Parents Maimonides is mentioned. He gives extremes of honoring parents, but limits as well. If the father orders the son not to study Torah, the son is not to do as his father directs. Maimonides rationalizes death for a son striking the father as necessary because the son's action is not only against his father but against family as an essential social foundation upon which stands the whole of the society. Reply

Anonymous January 25, 2012

It is so difficult to reconcile honoring one's parents with being abused as a child.

A common refrain is "hey they did the best that they knew how" which to me hardly excuses the problem when one works hard to improve ones own character.

But Chabad has taught me that in order to see ourselves as good, we must somehow learn to see good in our parents. Reply

Anonymous guilderland , new york November 23, 2010

father and mother i was an orphan with a mother and father! not able to forgive them for the awful people they were. Reply

Anonymous Ninderry, Queensland November 23, 2010

To Honour our Parents I was quite bitter and unforgiving towards my parents. There were many reasons from a very early age.
My life was always tormented but Praise and Glory belong to G-d who brought me to a time and place of deep repentance and then forgiveness was enabled to be spoken to my Parents.
I thank G-d for my Parents and can now see all that what I experienced and was exposed to has built up my character. But, its G-d's love that has poured into my soul and renewed my heart that there is only love and appreciation, wisdom and understanding....
Thankyou G-d for my Parents and letting me have a glimpse of your hand upon my life. Reply

Anonymous San Diego, CA/USA October 2, 2009

To Honor or Not to Honor My mother, I honor and thank for all her honesty, hard work, love, honorable human being, kind, and willing to share with people who had less.

My father? Never paid one cent toward our support ... rarely visited us ... had money for everyone but us ... never told his friends he had children.

My last visit to him, he saw my 3 month old daughter -- the only grandchild he lived to see and he didn't bother to even touch her. He then made it very clear, with his finger in my face "I have one child and she's in the house!" - and his finger then went from my face to his house.

Hard to honor him ... he was not a parent. He was not a father to my brother and me. However, had his wife let me know that he was sick and dying, I would have gone to the hospital to help him to die in peace. To give him the chance to say "I'm sorry" -- but would not have expected that from him.

But, his wife and he didn't bother to tell their 'only child' that she has a 1/2 brother and 1/2 sister. Reply

Jane B. Tavlin Metairie, LA September 15, 2009

Honor Parents Basya, my daughter, honors her parents on a daily basis and we thank G-d for her. Reply

Laura Ellen Truelove Sewanee, TN July 13, 2009

Honoring My Father and My Mother I honor my father who died almost 40 years ago. With the passing of years, his memory grows sweeter and my love for him increases. My father was not a verbally expressive man, but he had such a loving heart and I knew he loved me. I realize now what a gift his love was; in fact, it made a crucial difference in my acceptance of myself as a person of value. Thank you. May your soul rest in peace and may you rise in glory.

Likewise, I honor my mother who died 2 years ago. I still miss her and think of her every day. As I grew up, she worked hard to give me the material things that money can buy. She was a deeply wounded woman who allowed few people close to her. I was her best friend who always listened to her and loved her. One week before she died, I was with her when she received inner healing from her deep woundedness as a young child. I was with her when she died, the only person in the room when the light came. May her soul rest in peace and may she rise in glory. Reply

Linda Leibovitz Edmonton, AB November 7, 2008

Thank you. Some of the cruelty at my father's hands was not his fault as he had learned from a dreadfully abusive father himself. I honour my father for all the toil and sweat from his brow with which put bread on our table. I kept his good qualities in my heart and now, though he no longer lives in this world, I love and understand him more than ever. Reply

Related Topics