“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)
Some years ago, I heard 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 10 Commandments were given on two tablets of stone: The first five address the relationship between God and man, and the second five commandments address the relationship between man and man. 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?
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 the 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, and every day of our earthly existence we shall bear visible and invisible characteristics of our parentage.
Tomorrow (Sunday), we observe Mothers’ Day in the U. S. A., the U. K., and in Australia. It hasn’t been around nearly as long as the Torah, but we all do well to set aside a day to honor our mother, if she is still living; or the memory of our mother, if she has died. Doing so not only honors her, but God as well. – Luther