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Rationale of these Commandments

Rationale of these Commandments


The preceding paragraphs define what it means to render honor and reverence to parents. The underlying thought of these precepts, the reason for the proper behavior towards parents as enjoined by the Torah, is generally regarded as rational and self-evident [See supra, note 4]. For it is but reasonable to expect a child to acknowledge those that brought him into the world, tended him in times of helplessness and dependency, cared for his needs and wants by providing food, clothing, shelter and education, and otherwise assisted him to become self-sufficient.

It is but reasonable to expect a child to acknowledge the frequent sacrifices of parents in the course of raising him, an upbringing which more often than not goes paired with intense physical hardships, mental anguish, and expenditure.

Sincere sentiments of filial love and gratitude, a sense of filial duty and piety and the accompanying expressions of love and respect, can and should be expected as natural and innate inclinations. The child is but paying a debt, as it were [Yerushalmi, ibid, Cf. Sefer Hachinuch, sect. 33.].

Thus, even if these norms of behavior were not prescribed by Divine pronouncements, it is to be assumed that human reason and natural ethics would invent a similar code for the relationship of a child toward his parents.

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