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Analogy Between the Relationships to G-d and Parents

Analogy Between the Relationships to G-d and Parents


The analogous relationship between honoring G‑d and honoring parents is expressed more explicitly in the Rabbinic writings.

The sages note that these principles (of honoring and revering G‑d, and of honoring and revering parents) are hemeneutically equated and assimilated. The Torah uses identical language for both of them - "Thus it was taught" - See note 19; Kidushin 30b.

"The honoring of one's father and mother is very dear before Him by Whose word the world came into being. For He equated their honor to His honor, and reverence (fear) of them to reverence (fear) of Him, and cursing them to cursing him.

"It is written "honor your father and your mother," and correspondingly it is written "honor the L-rd with your substance." (Prov. 3:9) Scripture thus equates the honoring of parents with honoring of G‑d.

"It is written "ye shall fear every man his mother and his father," and correspondingly it is written "ye shall fear the L-rd your G‑d." (Deut. 6:13) Scripture thus equated fear of one's parents with fear of G‑d.

"It is written "and he that curseth his father or his mother" etc., (Ex 21:17) and correspondingly it is written "whosoever curseth his G‑d" etc. (Levit. 24:15) Scripture thus equates the cursing of one's parents with the cursing of G‑d."

In fact, the specific duties of filial piety are derived by analogy from one's duties toward G‑d.

Imbued with this thought, the Talmudic sage Rabbi Joseph, when hearing his mother's footsteps, would say: "I will arise before the approaching Schechinah (the Divine Presence)! [Kidushin 31a.].

Indeed, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai is of the opinion that G‑d attaches greater importance to the honoring of parents than to honoring Himself: G‑d is honored "with your substance," (Prov. 3:9) i.e., with that what He has graciously bestowed on man. If you have substance you are obligated to set apart tithes, to care for the poor and hungry, to purchase religious articles, etc.; and if you have not, you are not obligated to any of them. But when it comes to honoring parents, whether you have the means or not — "Honor your father and your mother," even if you have to beg your living from door to door! [Yerushalmi, ibid.].

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Jeanne O Battle Ground, WA, USA June 23, 2011

Teaching children to honor you This may seem egocentric, but my parents taught it was the most important thing they could do because it not only taught us to honor all authority, but most importantly, it taught us to honor G-d.
But my parents also felt it was important, not a Mitzvah, to give a measure of honor to their children, in that I can't remember when they punished or shamed us in public, especially before we learned obedience. My Mom would snap her fingers, but if we didn't heed that warning she would remove us to someplace quiet to 'correct' us - whatever that might be, :) They never punished, and they never corrected us out of emotion. My parents were so wise despite their youth. I was a much older parent and attempted to follow their pattern and found it was very, very difficult especially being a single parent. I tell mu children how wonderful and deserving of honor my parents are and expect them to honor them.
Thank you for showing the wonderful basis of our upbringing. Reply

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