Each summer we focus on values that we can DO! At the J camps, all the children and the families get involved. There is a little learning, a little thinking and then a lot of doing! Get involved with us this summer. The value for this week is: kibud av va’eym, honoring parents.
The mitzvah of honoring parents is No. 5 of the Ten Commandments, which are really more like ten “statements.” Kibud av va’eym is one of the few mitzvot in the Torah with a promise attached to it: “Honor your mother and father, so that your days may be long on the land that G-d gives you.” Now the challenge is to figure out what it means to honor — what exactly are we supposed to do? Talk about these texts together.
When persons honor father and mother, G-d says, “I credit such action as if they had honored Me.” — Babylonian Talmud, Kiddushin 30b
When Rabbi Dimi came, he said, “Dama son of Nethinah was once wearing a gold-embroidered silk cloak, sitting among Roman nobles. When his mother came, she tore it off of him, hit him on the head and spat in his face. Yet, he did not shame her. — Babylonian Talmud, Kiddushin 31a
If you see your parents transgressing a mitzvah, do not say to them, “Father, Mother, you have disregarded a precept from the Torah.” Rather, you should say, “Such-and-such is written in the Torah,” speaking to your mother and father as though you were consulting them instead of admonishing them. — Mishneh Torah
Honor your father and your mother just as you honor G-d, for all three have been partners in your creation. — Zohar III, 93a
One should not call one’s parents by their first name, either during or after their lifetime, except to identify them to others. — Based on Mishneh Torah
How can you show honor to your parents? What are the things you can do? Do people do different things depending on their age and on their parents’ ages?
What do you do on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day? Why do we need these days?
Make a list of things that you can do this year to honor your parents.
Do something ‘Jewish unplugged’
Family time is very important! In our busy world, we need to plan for it. This week, play a game together.
Take a favorite game and make it Jewish. Or just play Jewish trivia!
Laura Seymour is director of camping services and Jewish life and learning at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas.