The Mitzvah to honor one’s parents in one’s thought & feelings

Honoring one’s parents in one’s thought & feelings:[1]

Included in the mitzvah to honor one’s parents are matters relating to thought, speech, and action. The mitzvah of honor affects how one should think of one’s parents, how one should speak of one’s parents and to ones parents, and the matters that one must do on behalf of one’s parents.

Love-Loving one’s parents:[2] The Zohar[3] describes the relationship between a child and parent as follows: “A son who cares after his father and mother whom he loves more than his own body and soul and all of his possessions are like nonexistent in the face of using them to give his parent satisfaction.” From here we can learn that aside for the obligation to honor and fearless parents, there is an obligation for one to love his parents. The love is the result of the realization of how much his parents have done for him, and he hence reciprocates their love for him with his love for them. As a result of this love he respects them and honors them and fears them.

Thought-Honoring one’s parents in one’s mind & Thinking positive thoughts of one’s parents:[4] Included within the command to honor one’s parents, is to think of them in a respectful manner also in one’s mind. One should imagine them as respected and honorable people even if they are not so in the eyes of others. This in fact is the main aspect of the mitzvah to honor one’s parents.

Searching for their good traits:[5] According to the above, one is to contemplate his parents good traits and search them out, in order so he view them in a positive light and as unique individuals. This will raise their esteem in his eyes, and consequently affect the respect he has for them in his mind. Nonetheless, this is not an obligation, and he is not required to distort reality for this purpose.


[1] See Chayeh Adam 67:3; Pesakim Uteshuvos 240:13

[2] Sefer Chareidim Asei 9:37 “From this Zohar we learned that they had a tradition that included in honoring one’s parents is to love them…. That he love them with a tremendous powerful love just like they had love him, and then serving them will not be so difficult”; Chayeh Adam 67:1; Meiah Shearim 93; Rav Elyashiv in Koveitz Kol Torah 43:230; See Teshuvas Harambam 369

[3] Zohar 3 p. 281, brought in Tanya

[4] Sefer Chareidim Asei 1:35; Chayeh Adam 67:3; Pesakim Uteshuvos 240:16

[5] Rav Chaim Shmulevitz in Sichas Mussar 5732 Mamar 29; See Koveitz Yeshurun 15 p. 474 in name of Rav SZ”A that this is not an actual obligation but just a good deed and recommendation; Chut Shani p. 264;

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