Leviticus 19:2,3, Jeremiah 10:11
“You shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy. You shall fear every man his mother and father…”
“Tell them this: gods who did not make heaven and earth should go lost from this earth and from under these heavens,”
When God calls us to holiness, the first injunction is reverence of our parents. Why? How is the commandment to honor our parents essential to our calling before God?
The answer to this question can be understood with the Rabbinic statement: “their (parent’s) honor is compared to the honor of God” (b. Sanhedrin 50a).
There is a foundational difference between our relationship with our parents and our relationship with any other person. Our relationship with any human aside from our parents does not call our existence into question. I am I and the other fellow is whoever he or she is. Our very existence is essentially the same.
With our parents it is different. In order to properly appreciate what our parents have done for us, we must focus on the uncomfortable fact that our own existence is not a given. True appreciation towards my parents includes the understanding that I did not have to exist and that it is only through my parents that I was called into existence on this planet.
People who worship idols, do not have to call their own existence into question. On the contrary, idolatry prevents one from focusing on the truth that one’s existence is not a necessary fact. A devotee to an idol would not be inclined to call the existence of the idol into question, thus calling one’s own existence into question becomes that much harder. Calling one’s own existence into question necessitates calling the idol’s existence into question – something the idolater is not inclined to do.
The first step in a relationship with the Creator of all is the simple recognition that I only exist as an expression of His love, and that every other being that I could encompass with my five senses, also, only exists as an expression of His love.
All of our love and all of our devotion together with the love and devotion of every other being who dwells under God’s heaven belongs to the One who loved us all into being. Our hearts belong to our Father, the One who spread these heavens and established this earth – and to no one else.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal