The mitzvah to honor one’s parents is complex because of the changing nature of the relationship that it reflects. Over the course of a lifetime, God willing, our dynamic with our parents changes again and again as both parent and child move through life-stages. How can a single commandment respond to the demands of a changing relationship across decades?
Ma’ayan’s annual day of study, Not Just for Kids: Kibud Av vaEm–Family Relationships in Jewish Life
, will take place on Sunday May 15, and will look at how halakhah
(Jewish law) addresses this most significant and formative
relationship. Although we often cite the fifth commandment to children, it’s not a mitzvah for young children at all. In fact, it’s a very adult concern. Exploring what that means, what it demands of us, how it impacts our relationship with our parents and with our own children, and the limits of a child’s halakhic obligation to his or her mother and father will be the aim of this day of study.
Rabbi Shalom Rosner, renowned for his online Daf Yomi broadcasts and for his teaching at YU, Yeshivat Reishit Yerushalayim and Yeshivat Shaalavim, will deliver the keynote address “Recognition, Responsibility, and Relevance, or Why Kibud Av vaEm is in the Ten Commandments.”
The day will include breakout sessions with rabbis, educators, and caring professionals from across our community on a range of topics, from handling religious conflict to the reasons our sages broadened this commandment to include our respect for teachers, from non-biological parenthood to Kibud Av vaEm in the context of dementia. These issues can be difficult, but this is all the more reason why it is worth studying and discussing them at times when they may not be directly relevant to one’s own life. As a community, we will enjoy light refreshments and conversation during breaks between sessions and a dairy/pareve lunch, when we can share what we have learned. Our learning will conclude with a panel discussion entitled “Parents, Children, and the Jewish Lifecycle.” Complete details and registration can be found at http://jewishboston.com/events/7687-not-just-for-kids-honoring-our-parents-family-relationships-in-jewish-life