Respecting your elders

My experience has been that the older I get, the easier I find it to listen to my parents. It’s paradoxical in one sense. When you are younger and less mature, you might expect to be more in need of the sage counsel of parents. At the same time, while one develops their own firm views of life, there is a tendency to perhaps discount alternate suggestions. After marriage, one ought to learn the art of joint decision-making. Someone who ignores the views of their spouse, may also ignore the requests from their parents. There are pathological extremes, but they aren’t  in my purview. When one is more “independent”  that doesn’t mean they don’t show כבוד or יראה to their parents. There is perhaps something missing: the element of being able to be מבטל one’s approach and adopt the (sensible) wishes of one’s parents. Graphically, I’d present it like this. Your mileage may vary. The cosine coefficient varies for different people of course.

Interestingly, I’ve found that as I get older, and perhaps finds it easier to be מקיים this מצווה, at least as far as minimising  personal views on a given matter, the level of inherent joy in following a missive is enhanced. It’s a cause to celebrate even though it is ironically a voir dire. I find that the older I become, the more joy I derive from quashing my own predilections and views and submitting to those of a well-meaning (and sensible) parent. You might say this is all so obvious and no חידוש. Perhaps so, but my blog isn’t about חידושים per se; it’s about giving expression to those things that temporally invade my head space.

והמבין יבין

Author: pitputim

I've enjoyed being a computer science professor in Melbourne, Australia, as well as band leader/singer for the Schnapps Band. My high schooling was in Chabad and I continued at Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh in Israel and later in life at Machon L'Hora'ah, Yeshivas Halichos Olam.

4 thoughts on “Respecting your elders”

  1. The mitzvah to honour ones parents ideally refers to parents who honour the Torah.When a parent does not honour the Torah there are clear rules on how to tactfully deal with the problem so as to not cause embarrasment.When that fails you can take a lesson from Terach & pick up & leave.It must be easier to honour parents who are menchen & Torah observent as I am sure yours are.Would this have invaded your head space if they were not?Perhaps not.I suspect some converts & BT’s would look at the 5th commandment with a tinge of “difficulty”.


    1. I would hope that a convert honours their parents and behaves like a mentch. I said that I wasn’t addressing pathological outliers. They exist. If so, let’s make sure we are mentchen so that our children are not challenged!


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