Father’s Day does not appear on the Jewish calendar but its roots are certainly Biblical and, according to one rabbi, may be the key to bringing one of the essential tikkunim (fixings) for Redemption.
Father’s Day in the USA, celebrated on June 17, was inaugurated in the early 20th century to complement Mother’s Day. However, the holiday has its roots in the Middle Ages in Europe and is celebrated on different days all around the world.
These universal beginnings hint at ancient roots. Rabbi Shimon Apisdorf, a prominent Jewish educator and bestselling author, believes this seemingly secular holiday is actually based on the Fifth Commandment.
Honor your father and your mother, that you may long endure on the land that Hashem your God is assigning to you. Exodus 20:12
“We can see that for some reason, the Torah has explicitly linked the mitzvah (commandment) of respecting your parents to the redemption, to the Jews being in the Land of Israel,” Rabbi Apisdorf said to Breaking Israel News. “It seems that it is a prerequisite for living here.”
He explained the connection between honoring parents and the land.
“The Ten Commandments are divided into two sets of five: the first set are between man and God, and the second set is between man and his fellow man,” Rabbi Apisdorf said. “The fifth commandment of respecting your parents connects heaven and earth. These flesh-and-blood people are the child’s connection to his Creator. The Land of Israel is just land, but it is a link that connects heaven and earth.”
Rabbi Apisdorf believes that even though the holiday is Biblically rooted, its modern incarnation is especially important.
“It is called Father’s Day but all the pressure is on the kids to remember,” he said. “These days, the pressure should be on the father. It is so important in the world today that fathering makes a comeback.”
The rabbi’s plea is indeed timely. A quick look at current statistics shows that the US is suffering a fatherhood crisis.
- Today 1 in 4 children under the age of 18 — a total of about 17.2 million — are being raised without a father.
- Single mothers are five times more likely to raise their children in poverty than two-parent families.
- 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes – 5 times the national average.
- 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes – 32 times the average.
- 85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average.
- 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average.
- 70% of youths in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average.
- 85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average.
Rabbi Avraham Arieh Trugman, director of the Ohr Chadash Torah Institute, notes that despite being a secular holiday, Father’s Day is actually deeply Jewish.
“There is no such thing as Father’s Day in Judaism,” Rabbi Trugman told Breaking Israel News. “Due to the fifth commandment, every day is Father’s Day (and Mother’s Day).”
The rabbi believes that relating to this national fatherhood crisis is one of the final tikkunim (fixings) required to bring the Messianic Redemption.
“One of the reasons it is so important to do this mitzvah is that relating properly to our parents is the manner by which we learn to relate to God, as this relationship for many is too abstract,” Rabbi Trugman said. “Additionally, respecting one’s parents is the most essential form of gratitude since we owe them our very being. This is also true of God, since He, along with our parents, are the three partners that give us life. In the Talmud (tractate Kiddushin) it is written that in a home where a child respects his parents, the Shechina (God’s Presence) can be found but if not God’s Presence can not dwell there.”
“Of course, a respectful and loving relationship between parents and children is prophesied to be part of the geula [redemption],” Rabbi Trugman said. “The Mishna (oral tradition) in Sotah gives signs that will characterize the end-of-days. These negative phenomena are part of a general decline of generations. One sign given is that young people will not respect their elders. We see that happening today in an extreme manner.”
The Rabbi emphasized that the end of the Book of Malachi describes the tikkun (fixing) that will replace this distressing phenomenon:
He [Elijah, the prophet] shall reconcile parents with children and children with their parents, so that, when I come, I do not strike the whole land with utter destruction. Lo, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before the coming of the awesome, fearful day of Hashem. Malachi 3:24
“Young people respecting elders is one of the tikkunim that will bring the Moshiach,” Rabbi Trugman stated unequivocally.