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Biography of Yehuda Katz | Archives | This Week's Parsha


" Every man: Your mother and father shall you revere..........................."(19:3)

To honor one's father and mother is the 5th commandment of the 10 commandments. The Medrash (Yalkut Shimoni , Shemos 299) teaches that each of the 1st five commandments corresponds to each of the second five. For example, the 1st corresponds to the 6th and the 2nd to the seventh, and so on.Therefore, the 5th commandment, to honor one's parents, parallels the 10th commandment, not to covet.This means that the 5th commandment is some how connected to the 10th in some manner. What could that connection be? I would like to propose the following original answer in a homiletic manner, Bezrat Hashem:When the Torah commands us to honor our parents, it means that we should give honor to the traditions of our forefathers Abraham, Isaac ,Jacob, the Prophets and the Sages. We must fully and completely appreciate the greatness of the traditions that we have inherited from them.

We have inherited a tradition of mercy, righteousness, and generosity just to name a few. At the same time, we must not covet the so called "freedom" of the nations. A Jew might erroneously think that somehow the Torah is holding him back from achieving the things that he desires. If, for instance, a person might feel that the commandment "do not steal" is perhaps preventing him from becoming wealthy. This is a terrible mistake.This is the very reason the commandment to honor one's parents parallels the commandment of "do not covet". We honor our forefathers by staying steadfast to their ways by not being jealous of the very things that are against the Torah way of life. We might at times feel that the nations are living a life of freedom, yet this is a falsehood.In Eruvin54a , it states the following: "The Tablets were made by G-d and written with G-d's script engraved (charus-in Hebrew) on the Tablets (Exodus32:16) -----do not read "charus" (engraved), but rather " cheirus" (freedom)". The Sages are using a play on words to illustrate that true freedom can only be achieved when one fulfills the Torah . Have a good Shabbos


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