Parents First

by Team FOL

In Judaism, everyday is Mothers’ Day and Fathers’ day

The commandment to “honour your father and your mother” is part of the first of the two tablets in the Ten Commandments originally given by God to Moses at Mount Sinai. The precepts on the first tablet deal with typically religious matters of the man and God relationship, while the commandments on the second tablet deal with the matters related to intra-human relationships.

The child-parent relationship is analogous to, and intricately bound up in, the man-God relationship. This is so because in bringing a child into this world the parents are in a partnership with God where the material substance is derived from the parents, while God grants spirit and soul, the vital form of man.

One curses one’s parents not only if one directs curses at them, but if one treats them lightly. [Jewish Wisdom]

This commandment appears in the middle of the Ten Commandments: it mediates between the first four and the latter five precepts because it is related to both groups. It is as much a religious principle as it is a social one.

According to Dennis Prager, “One of the Torah’s greatest teachings is that our feelings are far less important than our behaviour. More than loving parents, the Jews believe it is honour and reverence displayed towards them which is the epitome of Hebrew teaching about parents-children relationship. Love is the natural result when these two are in place. ‘Honour’ and ‘fear’ [Exodus 20:21, Leviticus 19:3] are the two commands that Jews seriously consider and strictly adhere to.

The Hebrew word for honour is kevod, meaning heavy. In other words, ‘honour’ means treating one’s parents with the gravity that their position demands. The opposite of ‘honour’ is ‘kalel’, which is always translated as ‘to curse’, but its literal meaning is to make light of [from the Hebrew ‘kal’, light].

Prager continues, “One curses one’s parents not only if one directs curses at them, but if one treats them lightly”.


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