Monday, August 9, 2010

HONORING OUR PARENTS: Showing respect

Today is the 29th of Av, 5770


Last week we described the two Mitzvot which regulates parents/children relationship: ‘honoring parents’ and ‘respecting parents’.

Respecting parents is a way of establishing clear lines: "I am the parent and you are the child. We are not equals". This distance is absolutely necessary for the child, not for the parents’ ego. These principles set up the boundaries of authority, without which a child cannot be educated.

*A child should not sit in a place that is designated for his father or mother. For example, in his mother's seat at the dinner table or at his father's special easy chair, or at his father seat in the Synagogue or at work.

This rule applies even when the parents are not present there or are not going to sit in that place.

If there is no fixed place for the parent to sit, then the son/daughter can sit anywhere. In my house, for instance, we eat dinner in the kitchen during weekdays and I would not sit in the same place all the time.

*There is another very important Mitzva: to stand up in respect when your father or mother comes into the room. Or, if the parent is talking to his child, it’s considered disrespectful for the son to sit while his parent is standing.

As a general rule, a parent has the right to suspend his ‘honor’ and allow his child to sit or not to stand up, etc.