Honor your Father and your Mother - כַּבֵּד אֶת אָבִיךָ וְאֶת אִמֶּךָ
For the past 5 weeks our Jewish Studies 9th grade was immersed in a deep meaningful unit study of “Kibud Horim/Honoring Parents”. It made me feel so proud to see my students taking the topic so seriously and relating to it with so much respect.
Learning the 5th commandment, “Honor your father and your mother so that your days be lengthened on the land that I give you”, was taken very earnestly. We read and discussed many commentaries our Sages offer in a vast variety of texts.
One of our most fervent discussions in class was when we learned that the Torah asks us to honor our parents, but does not ask us to love our parents. The students were surprised and their questions came immediately: “How come? If we learned the Torah commands us to love God, our neighbor, and the stranger, why doesn’t the Torah command us to love our parents and just honor them?” After everybody presented their point of view, argued, agreed and disagreed and finally understood the concept, they came to the conclusion: that as from the Torah’s perspective whether or not we love our parents is irrelevant; what matters is that we show them honor and reverence.
The students also learned the Talmud teaches us that there are three partners in a person’s creation, God, the father and the mother, and we must honor the three equally. Some students voiced their opinion, agreeing parents have to be respected and honored, some said they love their parents so much more than just respect them, but mostly they would only show reverence to God.
Students also agreed with rabbi Telushkin’s approach that in the case the parents display emotional or physical abuse towards their children they should not honor them. The students shared beautiful examples on how they love and honor their parents.
This last week of our school year, we are spending some time reflecting on our year together, we share our favorite memories with each other, and remember so many funny inside jokes and moments we celebrated.
I had the incredible privilege of helping them learn this year and watch them grow - and 9th graders change so much throughout a year!
I can’t wait to hear what amazing things my students from this year go on to do in the future. Spending time with them always fills me with such hope for the future.
Chag Shavuot Sameach, rejoice celebrating the giving of the Torah, and its 5th commandment, like your children will do.
Have a wonderful summer,