Nowadays, many people bear grudges against their parents –
➡️ If only my father had encouraged me instead of the endless criticism
➡️ If only my mother had given me the same love she gave my sister
I would be more whole.
I would be able to deal with life better.
I wouldn’t be having the issues I’m having now.
And then, our brain takes a leap and says
Well, if my parents didn’t raise me perfectly...
I don’t have to honor them perfectly, either
Let me give you a deeper way of looking at your parents.
Imagine some stranger decided that you are such an incredible person that he wants to take care of your every need.
For starters, he arranges that you have a livelihood. 💵💵
But not just a livelihood – an entire life of parnossah, from when you’re 25 years old until 90.
He arranges your shidduch, 💍
gets you a house, marries off your children. 🏠
This one person completely changes your life.
So, you’re probably saying, "What a ridiculous story! No one would ever do that for me!"
Are you sure about that?
Somebody did. Your parents.
You might say, "My parents didn’t arrange my parnossah, or marry off my children, I did."
Are you sure about that? ⁉
The only reason you were able to make a parnossah,
and buy a house,
is because you exist in the world.
And you exist in the world only because of your parents!
The Sefer Hachinuch explains that gratitude is the root of the mitzvah of Kibbud Av V’aim.
He writes, "One should recognize that his parents are the reason he exists in the world. For this alone he is indebted to them – a debt he can never repay!"
But we live in 2023 and Entitlement is the religion of America.
My parents need to do everything for me – then, maybe I will honor them.
Our obligation to honor our parents has NOTHING
to do with how they raised us.
We got the mitzvah of כבד את אביך ואת אמך at Mattan Torah - in the midbar,
where parents just brought their children into the world and didn’t have to do a thing for them afterward.
Hashem took care of their food, water, and clothing.
Moshe Rabbeinu and the Ananei Hakavod set up the entire structure of their life.
And yet, the mitzvah of kibud av v’eim was given to THEM – children of parents with no nurturing responsibilities.
because the sole reason to honor your parents
is that they are the reason you exist.
[If your parents are actively engaged in dangerous physical or emotional abuse, talk to a rav for guidance.]
But if you’re like most people,
even as you work through emotional pain that is so real,
And so hard!
You still have to do everything
in your power to honor them.
To give to them.
One of the most important relationships a person has is with his parents.
If you are b’shalom with your parents,
you can’t imagine the simcha and menuchas hanefesh it will bring you – not to mention the great benefits to you when your children see how you honor your parents.
But we can kill the relationship with the many demands we make on our parents.
If we just follow the Sefer Hachinuch’s advice
and drill into our neshamos that every single thing we have
is because our parents brought us into the world,
we will acquire the precious quality of hakoras hatov.
And with that, we will fill our lives with shalom.