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Children's Behavior and Parents' Honor

Children's Behavior and Parents' Honor

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Everyone must keep in mind that his personal behavior reflects very much on his parents. Where one leads an exemplary life, this is a source of joy and honor to his parents and causes others to praise them and admire them. Conversely, a child's improper behavior is a source of disgrace and ignonimity to parents, in their own eyes and in the eyes of others [See Berachos 17a; Yoma 86a; Kesubos 45a.].

One's behavior, thus, is not a strictly private affair but is intricately related to the precept of "Honor your father and your mother." And thus it was taught:

"Scripture states: 'A son honoreth his father and a servant his master.' (Mal. 1:16) A son honoreth his father as it is written 'Honor your father and your mother' -- and we established that this was done with food, drink, and all things. But lest you think that after the parent's death one is exempt, it is not so; for though he has died one is obligated to honor him even more, as it is written 'Honor your father' etc.

"When the son walks in a crooked path he surely will bring dishonor and shame upon his parents. But if he walks in the straight path and his deeds are upright, he surely will confer honor on his parent, honoring him in this world among men and in the world to come with the Holy One, blessed is He...

"An example is Rabbi Elezar who honored his father in this world and in the world to come. Rabbi Shimon now is honored more in both worlds...more than during his lifetime, for having merited holy children and a holy stock.

"Happy are the righteous that merit to have holy children and a holy stock of which it is stated: 'All that see them shall acknowledge them that they are the seed which the L-rd hath blessed.' (Isaiah 61:9) Amen." [Zohar III:115b. Cf .Kalla Rabbathi ch. 2; Zohar Chadash 84c.]

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