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Respect For Parents - A Religious Principle

Respect For Parents - A Religious Principle


However, the fact that the Torah declares the proper child-to-parent relationship to be a Divine precept lends it a new character.

[Note the expression of Deut. 5:16: "Honor your father and your mother as the L-rd your G‑d has commanded you." Cf. Hamek Davar, ad loc., and Aruch Hashulchan, Yoreh Deah, 240:2f.]

The fact that "to honor" and "to revere" parents are Mitzvos of the Torah, impresses upon these precepts a stamp of absoluteness and makes of them independent principles.

It no longer matters whether some individual or collective reason agrees with this notion or whether a particular society may have a different standard of ethics and code of morality. In the context of the Torah-tradition it is inconceivable that there be a "calculated and well-reasoned attitude" as that of ancient Sparta to dispose of parents that have become "useless", or a liability, due to old age or infirmity.

The absolute character of the Mitzvos to honor and revere parents makes filial duties independent of exterior conditions. Filial duties and obligations remain intact even where there is no debt to be paid, e g. where parents have failed or refused to perform their responsibilities towards their children.

Indeed, the Torah's absolute precepts remain in force even in relation to parents who may have forsaken the Torah [Hilchos Mamrim 5:12ff., and 6:11; Shulchan Aruch, ibid., 240:18. Note commentaries ad loc.].

Thus it is seen that filial duties are not to be looked upon as mere logical consequence and proportionate outgrowth of the exercise of parental duties. There is a more profound significance attached to these precepts of the Torah.

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Meira Shana San Diego July 25, 2014

continuing the struggle My father was not a nice or good person to my brother and me. It's been a struggle for me to honor him.

However, I agonized over my commitment to G-d and truly believe that G-d has seen and knows my heart and soul.

After therapy called EMDR I no longer have my father right in my face - he's in a manila folder and when I need him I can take him out. This is the best I can describe it.

I don't understand why he treated my brother and me so badly - I do understand that my job is to not understand anyone but myself in relationship to G-d.

I believe that as an angel, I got to choose my parents - and in order to be the person I wanted to be I had to choose the combination of my mother and father, even knowing they would not stay together and he would be unloving/uncaring to both my brother and me.

My brother and I both turned out well - through struggles. We both remained Jews because of our mother z"l Reply

Joel Battle Mountain, NV December 6, 2012

Tough Love! Growing up with your parents you tend to learn their faults. Where they made mistakes, things they did that shouldn't have been done. personality defects, etc... the list could go on forever. Perhaps the easiest way of honoring them is to learn from their mistakes. Don't hold them against them as we have ALL made our own mistakes that our children get to witness first hand as well. Love them for who they are, and thank G-d that he gave us parents to care for us when we were young. Everything that happens is meant to be, just the fact that G-d allowed it to happen proves that is within the plan. There is a reason that we were born to who we were born to. We must look for the good in it and Love our parents not for who they are, but for what G-d made them....OUR PARENTS! Reply

Anonymous FSD, PAKISTAN December 18, 2011

parents respect we must respect our parents in their life and even after their death because they have sacrificed many more for the sake of our happiness and career. Reply

Anonymous Yorkshire, U.K November 1, 2011

Honouring parents I agree, my mum had alzheimer's and my dad was an alcoholic and a very difficult man. My childhood had been very turbulent. I helped with their care until they died within a year of each other and I found a deeper love, and respect for them when they became so vulnerable and many turned away from what looked like a very ugly hopeless situation. I learned so much from them by not turning away but embracing them in their time of need even though it was very painful. I hold no grudge towards my mother and father but love and honour them all them all the more. Reply

Anonymous manchester, uk December 1, 2010

Honouring parents even if a parent has died or has dementia you must continue to give them the honour they are due. As my own mother is in the early to middle stages of dementia and for half my life my father has not been around as he died more than 20 years ago, I still give both the honour they deserve. E.g. going to see my mother in Heathlands as much as I can and going to my father's grave regularly. Reply

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