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Home » Coming of Age

Life Cycle: Honoring Parents

Submitted by on November 4, 2005 – 2:38 amNo Comment | 1,951 views

When Parents Honor Parents

The positive
flow of love and warmth in every household is crucial to the proper
upbringing of children. Children that are confident in their parents’
love will love their parents in return and seek to please them at every

When a household
is well balanced with love and respect the children will blossom and
grow. Conversely, when parents are demanding and demeaning, the effect
on the children can be disastrous.

The Torah
commands us to honor our parents. This commandment is binding and valid
throughout all stages of life. When children see their parents
respecting their grandparents, they will automatically honor and
respect their own parents as well.

When they
discern the devotion and love their grandparents have for their parents
they wil come to expect and appreciate the love and devotion that their
parents have for them.

In this way, the
Torah has successfully created a family chain that cannot easily be
broken. This family will weather all sorts of storms, will overcome all
kinds of obstacles and will in turn extend into further generations.

When Parents Honor Each Other

In his book
Generation To Generation, Rabbi Abraham Twerski relates a memory that
stayed with him from childhood. As a young child he woke up in the
middle of the night and was horrified to see his mother sitting at the
table and crying. However, as soon as he noticed his father sitting
beside her with a deep expression of love and concern, he completely
relaxed and went back to sleep.

In his childish
mind he was able to feel secure and complete because he knew that his
parents loved and respected each other. This experience left an
indelible impression upon him and it remained with him for the rest of
his life.

Laws regarding Honoring Parents

One must talk respectfully and deferentially to parents regardless of how old one is or how much one disagrees with them.

It is incumbent upon the child to feed, clothe, house and care for his parents in their old age.

It is forbidden to curse or publicly rebuke one’s parents. Cursing our parents is tantamount to cursing G-d.

There is no
limit to the love, respect and devotion that one must have for his
parents. If parents demand of their children to violate a Torah law the
children are still required to respect them but should turn down this
particular request.

The Mitzvah of
honoring parents continues even after their passing. We must talk
respectfully about our parents even behind their back, even if they
will never find out and even after death.

Reciting the
Kaddish in their memory and observing the anniversary of their passing
are valid expressions of respect after death. Many people will learn a
portion of Torah in memory of their parents, after their passing.