Honoring One's Parents - The Jewish Way
A young man was walking through a supermarket when he noticed an old lady named Ethel Supperstein following him around. Thinking nothing of it, he ignored her and continued on. Finally he went to the checkout line, but she got in front of him.
"Pardon me," said Ethel, "I'm sorry if my staring at you has made you feel uncomfortable. It's just that you look just like my son, who just died recently."
"I'm very sorry," replied the young man, "is there anything I can do for you?"
"Yes," she said, "As I'm leaving, can you say 'Goodbye, Mother!'? It would make me feel so much better."
"Sure," answered the young man.
As Mrs. Supperstein was leaving, he called out, "Goodbye, Mother!"
As he stepped up to the checkout counter, he saw that his total was $127.50.
"How can that be?" he asked, "I only purchased a few things!"
"Your mother said that you would pay for her," said the clerk.
The Israelites traveled on in the desert, journeying three days without encountering water. They then arrived in Marah, where there was water—but bitter water. The Jews complained and G-d responded with instructions to Moses on how to miraculously sweeten the water.
After this miraculous event, Hashem gave them some sections of the Torah so that they would busy themselves with them.
One of the Mitzvot that the Jews received prior to the giving of the Torah is to honor one’s parents.
What is so special about the way a Jew honors his parents that it needs a special commandment from the Torah?
The Rebbe explains that a regular relationship is where the parents raise the kids in order for the children to take care of and honor their parents later on. With the Torah it’s for a completely different reason. You respect your parents because they partnered with G-d to bring you to the world and nurture you.
Therefore the reason the Mitzvah was given before Matan Torah was to allow the Jews to be partners with Hashem while receiving the Torah.
Wishing you Shabbat Shalom!
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