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Mishpatim-Parents Time and Shabbat

Mishpatim-Parents Time and Shabbat

The Torah (Vayikra 19:3) states that “a person must fear his mother and father and observe the Shabbat.” Why does the Torah connect the honoring of parents to Shabbat observance? Although there may be several answers to this question (see Rashi and the Sifra), when it comes to Shmirat Shabbat (Shabbat observance), one cannot be too busy, to observe, and not, Chas V’shalom (Heaven forbid), violate Shabbat. Once Shabbat arrives, one cannot say one needs “another five minutes” or that one “will do it later” because one is too busy. So too, when it comes to parents (especially elderly parents), no matter how busy one is—even if one is the busiest person in the world—ONE CAN NEVER BE TOO BUSY to have time for one’s parents. Every person must apply this great insight to his/her circumstances. Your parents are like your Shabbat. This is what the Torah teaches us by juxtaposing “a person must fear his mother and father and observe the Shabbat.”

The mitzvah (commandment), to show honor to one’s parents is the Fifth of the Ten Commandments. “Honor your father and your mother, so that your days will be lengthened on the land that Hashem, your G-d gives you.” (Shemot 20:12)

Why is the reward of honoring your parents specifically stated to be the lengthening of one’s days? One of the barriers to the proper performance of Kibbud Av V’aim (honoring parents) is the feeling we have that parents take up and control our time! As children, resentment is expressed against parents who do not allow playtime, spending time out of the house and they decide what the children should do with their time. Once grown up and having developed their own lifestyle, there comes a time in life when children have to have patience for their parents who may become demanding; attending to their needs becomes time consuming and children ask themselves – “Is there not a limit to the time and patience?” How much time is required to expend on parents, especially considering today’s extended health and life expectancy?

It is to this issue that remains with children throughout their life, that the Torah concerns itself and says.: “Honor your father and your mother, so that your days will be lengthened” – the understanding is that “I will add on the time that you have expended on your parents and accordingly lengthen your days. You will have not spent your time but you will be rewarded for your time by the lengthening of your days”.

 

 

 

 

 

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