Dear Friends,

Our sages tell us that of all the commandments in the Torah, the most important is “Honor your father and your mother.” The Torah goes on to state that one’s life will be long if he/she fulfills this commandment.

I believe that is was never intended that this promise of long life be taken literally. Rather, this commandment expresses the principle that neither our social order nor our own lives can endure unless we emphasize the centrality of the home in which parents are honored and respected.

The Hebrew word for parents is Horim which comes from the word for “teachers.” In our civilization, the Jewish way of life can exist only when parents assume their basic role as teachers of character, moral principles, and love for our Jewish heritage.

Yes, the home is the true center of Jewish life, for it is in the home that we learn of values and ideals that are important. And what greater “teacher” can our children have than a parent who lives the highest virtues and ideals of Judaism? Not from books do we learn as much as from our parents. Parenting: the hardest of all jobs. Parenting: the most fulfilling of all jobs. Parenting: the greatest influence upon our children and the kind of people they grow to become. Or as Carl Jung, the philosopher wrote: “Children are educated by what a parent is and not by his/her talk.”

Shabbat shalom,   

         Rabbi David Greenberg