Friday, July 08, 2005 I was asked the following question:
Why are we commanded to love our parents? What if they are mean or evil people?
was my response:
The translation of the Fifth Commandment; Kabet es Avicha
V'es Eemecha, is not to "love" your parents but, rather, to "honor"
them...there is a significant difference.
Love or "Ahavas" is commanded only in terms of "your" response to G-D
Himself. In the Shema, it is written "You shall love the Lord; your G-D,
with all your heart, all of your soul and all of your might"...Having achieved
love on those three levels, you come close to being "one with G-D" or, in
simpler explanation, you begin to live life in a G-dly fashion.
Honor or "Kabet" is something entirely different from love itself yet
still a factor in loving. How does one honor parents? We honor our parents and
our ancestors by living a life in which we do not bring shame to our family.
Even if our family tree leaves much to be desired, we are to do everything so
that the family name is enhanced in the community.
We honor by doing good deeds and acts of random kindness..."Gemilut Chesed".
We, also, honor by loving our neighbor as we do ourself..."Ahavas Olum..."
In my view, once a person adheres to the First Commandment..."I am the Lord;
your G-D..........." and the Fifth Commandment..."Honor...................so
that you may have a long life", the other eight are adhered to without even a
modicum of thought or effort. It just stands to reason, then, that we do not
murder, steal, covet, lie, etc., and, of course, look forward to the Sabbath for
weekly physical rest and spiritual renewal.
you have questions about a personal matter, or jewish practices
and customs, you can submit them to me by e-mail.
I answer all queries directly, or through this column, when the
question is informative to our community.
you for your kind attention and this opportunity to share with you,
Rabbi Dan S. Wiko
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