“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20: 12, NIV)
I recall a lecture by Rabbi Sheftel M. Neuberger, who is based in Baltimore, Maryland, but is known throughout the world as a Hebrew scholar and teacher. The topic was the Torah, which is commonly known as “The Law of Moses,” and is sometimes a specific reference to the Ten Commandments given Moses by God for the Children of Israel.
The Ten Commandments were given on two tablets of stone: The first five commandments address the relationship between God and man, and the remaining five commandments address the relationship between humans. Today’s scripture reference is the fifth commandment, and addresses the relationship between a child and his/her parents. So, why is it on the “God to man relationship” tablet and not the “human to human relationship” tablet?
The Hebrew sages, according to Rabbi Neuberger, said that it is in the “God to man” set because in the procreation of a child, there are three essential participants: The mother; the father; and God. As scripture declares from the Psalms (in a different context, but applicable nonetheless): “It is God that made us, and not we ourselves.” The same may be said of the necessity of one’s mother (and father): We did not create ourselves. We shall forever bear both the visible and invisible characteristics of our parentage.
Mothers’ Day in the U. S. A., the U. K., and Australia hasn’t been around nearly as long as the Torah, but we all do well to set aside a day to honor our respective mother (if she is still living); and the memory of our mother (if she has died). Doing so not only honors her, but our God, as well. – Luther